Far worse than being unemployed,

in some respects;

Employees with nothing to do.


The Dubai street sweeper polishes his sidewalk,

that is already polished.

His mate pretends to pick up garbage with a pole grabber,

the streets are absolutely empty.


Ana, my hotel tourism saleswoman

sits at her little table by the exit,

tries small talk with the Pakistani bell boy

to no avail.

She stares out the glass door at the rain.


Muhammed at Fish World has fish sandwiches to sell

but no one is biting.

With his blue collared shirt, yellow vest, and sailor’s hat

he scratches his arm,

reads the menu for the thousandth time,

stares out at the rich mall rats who are free.

Wishes he could be beautiful,

like the azure-suited Chinese in Chinese Palace

or at least popular,

like the baseball-capped Filipinas in Burger King.


At last, the fish-eaters have arrived,

he smiles.


Bio note:  Brian Briscombe burns wood in Falls Church, Virginia, USA. He’s never been published before unless you count his 60 Facebook Notes or the 600 US Government publications of his economic analysis. Recently Brian edited four painful papers that analyzed the costs and medical benefits of conducting male circumcisions in selected African countries. Although those papers might never be read, at least they paid better than Burning Wood. Brian likes it when strangers email him, so long as they are not Nigerian scam artists.

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