Friday, December 29, 2006

Lane in the Broad Street

I lived along the dark water klong
when B-52's dropped their cargo
two small countries to the east,
and I longed for the silky legged girls
whose love songs floated
the fleshy hot night.

Three generations gather
street side on tubular chrome
cracked vinyl seats in
poverty's rec room
walled by the circle's banter,
laughter warm as before
on my evening of arrival
after thirty nine years
and still the game show glow
reflected blue in their faces.

I roomed here once
on the upper floor
dipping my morning bath
from the tall clay jar
shared with the families
beside and below
cool in the recess
behind the patina-ed red brown timber
wide teak eaves nearly touching
across the narrow lane.
Still it stands among others
shouldered aside somewhat
by newer frontage
of taupe coloured concrete
yet catching my wife's intuitive eye.
"Is that the one?"

A boy with a camera
was my neighbour
and still on my wall
his black and white gift
of the wicker hat women
scatter clustered in their
wedge prowed boats
ware laden with
bananas and shallots,
among the lidded kitchen pots,
the soup and curry
commerce of the day.
His name, black ink
proud in the corner.

Today I saw a tiny street stall cross
for sale among the neck chain Buddhas,
the lucky elephants, the long life turtles.
Another talisman against
the misadventures of the hour,
or perhaps the owner before me
paused to contemplate
the man who was dropped behind a stone
in another small country to the west.

5 comments:

Sethals said...

Beautiful imagery Dad. I can picture looking back over the 39 years as you look up at the old house that was your 'home' for a year and half, and making lines of poetry in your mind.

Miss you and mum, so wonderful to have you here. Love you both!

ish said...

Thank you Seth, Chiangmai emersion with you and Emily made an unforgetable Christmas.

Inconsequential said...

Cool piece Ish, shame it covers alot of reference points I am unfamiliar with, I suspect i'm missing alot from this. Still it's obviously personal, and as such not truly meant for others.
It reads well though. Some good solid images.

Hope you had a fine time.
Nice to read you again :)

ish said...

Thanks inc, I wanted to make this revisit to Thailand (and the recollections and connections to the past) accessible to a wider audience. So yes I did mean it for others. So your comment is helpful and I have already seen a couple of things to change that might help to achieve that.

Dr. Stephen Isham said...

You read poems, and they can even be really good ones, but then you read a particular poem, and for some reason, the something about it, be it the imagry or whatever, that poem jumps out you, leaving you hard put to explain to why you like it so much. But you don't care. You like it and that is all that matters. That's how I feel about this poem.

Have a great day.