“Scary Air” © Bonnie Matthews Brock


Hypothetical France

I want to just fly to Cannes, and fuck a stranger.
Book a ticket for tonight, get straight onto the airport bus,
half packed bag and passport in hand.
Not even drop my bags off at the hostel yet,
touch down, meet someone, and go fucking at it.

I want to be shown the best little place
for breakfast the next morning.
Sit down, have half a conversation,
in the snippets of language we each know.
I want to order French toast,
joke that I thought they would just call it toast,
then never see them again.

I want to walk by the sea, knowing that I’m supposed
to comment on the salty, bitter sea air.
I want to not really know what it means for the air to
be bitter, and convince myself that I feel it at the back
of my throat, but love the smell anyway.

I want to buy some pointless little trinket,
be judged by the locals for doing so,
and know that this plastic nothingness is
killing the planet, killing the very beauty I came
here to see.
I want to sit, wearing shades and reading on the beach,
some book that I’m not really interested in,
but feels appropriate to my surroundings,
maybe something that will impress the locals
to make up for the trinket.
Maybe Baudelaire, or something by
De Sade .

I want to have a pale Y, surrounded by burns on
my feet. I want to meet someone else,
take them back to my hostel,
and feel too awkward surrounded by eight
drunk Russians.
I want to sneak onto buses, and trains without
tickets, and convince myself to try the cuisine,
walk into a hundred little cafes, and walk out
when there’s nothing I want.
I want to club, have nights where I feel like I
should be anywhere other than my room,
brag my way onto shows telling them
I’m a bigshot back home.
I want messages asking where I am,
and things that I think would get me a
hundred likes on Insta, but I can’t be bothered
to turn my phone back on,
and I want to get used to new streets,
and recognise that corner, and that square,
smiling at the baker two streets over every morning.

I want to feel my heart being ripped out,
as I look out against a twilight city I will
probably never return to, still in the 4am moonlight,
And just as we reach the boundary see the girl,
from the first night,
wondering what could have been as I enter the non E.U line.

I want anything but these four walls.


Scott Redmond is Scotland’s leading Romani poet and comedian. he has competed in the Scottish national poetry slam, performed on three continents, and been published in a number of physical and online collections. He likes deep conversations, long walks on the beach, and esoteric knock knock jokes.

Bonnie Matthews Brock is a Florida-based photographer, as well as a school psychologist. Her images have been published in Ibbetson Street Press, The Somerville Times, and Oddball Magazine.