Creative Column: ‘Gap Yar’ by Sam Steele

223

Oriental travelling’s become a human right
to colonise and anglicise an undiscovered sight
to make your mark on territories like Robinson Crusoe
not shipwrecked on – but B&B – the islands where you go

Pack your Mac and Polaroid for Instagram success
cos no one quite appropriates like you in sari dress
your pic in Tiananmen Square will break a hundred likes
faux-activist disguise will see your social circle spike

Venture into temples where you’ll find your inner self
get tattooed by a Buddhist and pretend you’re someone else
and show your inked-up ankle to your new nomadic friends
appreciate life’s truth and love and gentrify your zen

Drop some tabs of acid like it’s nineteen-ninety-nine
millennial abandon on a white-sand beach sublime
and meet your private-school friends at a party on Phuket
repeat the age old line ‘this is a night I won’t forget’

Stumble through the jungle wearing tight ill-fitting clothes
where either sex will show their chest to meet some boys / girls
have selfies with poisonous snakes and pout with chimpanzees
upload those pics to Facebook – it’s a shame there’s no 3G

Hike to zoo-like nature parks hid off the beaten track
exploit a tired elephant by riding on its back
adopt a baby tiger cos you care for animals
then sink a fat beef burger when you’re back at the hotel

Living out of backpacks makes mere money obsolete
free-spirited until the Bank of Mum and Dad depletes
then back to Brexit Blighty and a life of sinking debt
of overworked and underfed first-world malnourishment

Savour souvenirs and your tribal art tattoos
and sweatshop Aviator fakes and nomad well-to-dos
recount those hazy tales when you’re feeling quite bereft
to fellow Gap Yar Graduates who wish they’d never left