No steaks today.

The boys from Group Corporate Strategy

Have jaded tongues – their tender

Celebration calls for cheap cuts

And high-risk returns. Breathing

Warm shocks of pungent air,

They seat themselves,

Closing the door on accidental

Suburbia. Suits crease up

As they practise lines from unsheathed

Menus, wielding chopsticks

Like suggestive props.

They take the window table

At 13:25 hours, manhandling

Doll-sized furniture and rearranging

Chipped plates. Herbs

In soft abundance distract

From any unease

About the projected exchange rate.


They’re all in this together.


No one’s thinking

Of cluttered cubes

With city views, prisons

Of accountability where the stakes

Only go as high as the share price.

The moment’s the thing,

And soon the stage is set

With chubby teapots and sticky condiments

Condemning them with every move.


Silken noodles to wet lips,

Their heads buck and sway

Like beasts resisting their tether.

Someone’s throat jags on chili,

And alpha limbs

Conduct a frenzy of sympathy

Above the looking glass

Of humid broth. Reflecting

Walls gory with Sriracha

And the sudden shame

Of sodden napkins, the final act

Is subdued.

Leaving behind a mess

Of their own creation

Turned out more satisfying

Than the food.