Carluccio’s, Ealing, Before Christmas, by John Lanyon


big smiling man with the puffball hair
it’s almost like we’re on first name terms
you rich old mushroom hunter
how I might adoro your pomodoro
you master of corporate rusticity.

Your customers worked all week for this
if they want to sit down
they’re going to have to stand up
eat in
eat out
it’s all been worked out
black shirts
white shirts
it’s so cold tonight
your red and gold wrappings and trappings
your vibrantly green beans
your snowy mozzarella
your tanned, smiling staff melt my cynicism
100g at a time.

You dug up a good one.

Sooner or later
we’ll bore of your flavours
all the window dressing
your one-stop Italy-to-go
but somewhere
as long as there are forests
there will be mushrooms.

John Lanyon lives in the Cotswolds. He works as an organic gardener, linguist, musician, and writer. Having failed his English Literature O Level, he came to love literature through reading it in French and German. He writes about art, the body, childhood, society, nature, the spirit of places, the secret lives of words.


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