The Kazakh In University City
His doctorate is on deserts:
by Richard George
a poorly regarded subject.
He waits, ignored, in an alcove
of the cosmopolitan Common Room
'In deserts travellers smile
when they meet, just pleased to see
another human being.
But here, now, for the first time
I understand loneliness'.
So he rolls his maps, his photographs,
retreats to his bed-sit bolt-hole.
Six-foot women dizzy him on the street:
he notes, he charts stray faces, words.
Passers-by he will never know.
Summer dusk: he gazes up
at honey-coloured spires,
and feels shut out - of Xanadu.
He peers inside an Oddbins...
So two, three bottles a night
he drains to Western rock:
hangovers he welcomes
like a far horizon.
But he fears going back.