I love to bound around
the countries of Southeast Asia,
which are so perfectly,
weirdly, historically designed
for chase and concealment.
Maugham gets it exactly right
by following one of his colonial types
from harbour to harbour along the coast
in the knowledge there is no escape,
not then, not now, not ever
as when you sit in a Chinese restaurant,
on the ground floor, open to the weather;
the cook shambles in over the poured concrete
in his stained white T-shirt and baggy shorts,bringing your beer in a glass with ice.