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  • monday9:00am - 5:30pm
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  • wednesday9:00am - 5:30pm
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An Ancient MarketPlace

In Taizz the ancient souq is entered

by way of Bab Mousa

the gate of Moses

for there a camel can be left all day

without eliciting parking fees.


In Wagga Wagga you may leave your ride

in the darkest bowels beneath.

Again, no parking fees are paid

or even demanded… a civilised souq, this MarketPlace

and rare, in this manner.


In the grey of morning, the sun not yet risen, John,

or maybe Jason, presses magic buttons

and the souq, our MarketPlace,

stirs and breathes and floods light

on locked and barred emporia.


Footsteps echo in empty passages as Lesley pulls on rubber gloves

sweeps out detritus of previous day, polishes all that should gleam.

Or Irene, if it is her shift.

In Taizz only the wind takes the detritus to the desert

(which is blue with plastic).


At seven, the aroma of coffee percolates throughout the building

covers are removed from the ice-creamery…

the most important purveyors have arrived

providores of life-enhancing substances

without which the daily grind cannot proceed.


In the souq in Marrakech it might be shakshuka that is sought first

or perhaps fasulia breakfast in the early sun.

Though only in the outer souqs is it possible to find free parking

and maybe free grazing

for your camel.


Keepers of keys scurry to their allotted positions

Lights flood, terminals fire up, screens and gates disappear

doors swing wide… and then the wait

for early customers

(though there will be no shortage of these).



pantechnicons and B-doubles

rush supplies to fill the hidden maws

lest, hour by hour, shelves empty and shoppers be denied

their sanctified right… gratification.


One entrance at each compass point

two escalators, and the human tide flows in

and out, unceasing through the day

trolleys overflowing, children perched in seats behind the wares

mothers, harried, bribe their offspring, praying for peace.


Footsteps slow

lights, one by one, dimmed. Lesley, long day behind her

takes stock, takes note, and continues the cycle that renders, everyday

a sparkle to the scene.

Jason nods farewell to John, keys are turned.


Escalators groan to a standstill

the cavernous labyrinth beneath

emptied now of serried ranks of shining steeds

echoes with the final footsteps of the day…

but still no camels.


© Michel Dignand 2016