Month: April 2015

Three Thailand Poems

Lime Hawk

Many thanks to Lime Hawk, an online quarterly literary journal, for publishing the following three poems in their Spring 2015 issue.

 The ABCs of Khao San Road

                                                                  —Bangkok, 2013

At night, under neon, parties appear

Backpacking tourists hip-hopping the globe

Cram the narrow road with manic music

Drumbeats, electric rock, beers in the air

Even young children run drunk on pleasure

(Families, too, are welcome here in Hell)

Guava, pineapple, papaya for sale

Have you ever tried a fried scorpion?

I settle for a Chang, a hand-rolled smoke

Just don’t sell me another souvenir

Knick-knacks, doodads, mass-produced in China

Leave me be in the midst of this madness

Me, mid-50s, too old to play the fool

No one needs a new tattoo on their face

Or three hooded wives like that bearded guy

People here either sell shit or buy shit

Quality, quantity, no real concern

Recently, a man was stabbed for laughing

Someone thought it rude; no one said a word

The killer kept drinking, dancing till dawn

Until the sun rose, demons undenied

Very few survive such wild indulgence

We wake after noon, vomit and forget

Exactly what we did the night before

Your eyes might roll, thinking I’m some priest

Zoos are fun, even home if you’re a beast


Last Night on Koh Tao

                                                             —Gulf of Thailand, 2013

Lost my beaded necklace east of Bangkok

wore it for a dozen years, then gone

an old friend disappeared


Several hundred miles south

fresh new beads around my neck

I lose my black bandana


Things come, things go

they enter through an unseen door

then exit through a window where a wall does not exist


Tomorrow, on the ferry home

aaI’ll say So long to this small stone

aaaafive times now in fifteen years


Each time, I’ve smuggled one small piece

for now, all I hold is this full moon

this breeze, these gentle lapping waves


Things come, things go

as I have done and must again

a firefly, a spark across the sky


 Chumphon Ferry

                                               —Gulf of Thailand, 2013

Koh Tao disappears—again

the island shrinks, small gray minnow

swallowed by a thirsty sea


Beside a woman on a back-deck bench

aableach-blonde hair buzzed like a boy

aaaaour tongues are incompatible


I shut my eyes, leave the past behind

the candlelight, the ceiling fan

dog asleep on my bungalow steps


I’m a stray, too, solo on the road

only my breath for company

so much more than I could ever need


In Praise of Cracked Minds


Many thanks to Hinchas de Poesia, an online journal of contemporary pan-american writing, for including the following poem in their April 2015 issue.

In Praise of Cracked Minds

                                                         —for Marlene Goldman

Praise the days when our minds crack open

 open like clam shells struck by fallen stones

  stones splitting open, sudden thunder storms

   storms of new ideas spread across the beach


Beach the giant whales, introduce them to the sun

 sunshine: that new elixir for their fears

  fears of drowning, suffocating sand

   sand, they’ll see, makes a bed of pure pleasure


Sure, we think of giant whales at sea

 see them spout as they migrate north

  north and out of range, beyond our senses

   senses long accustomed to what we all believe


Leave, for a moment, all those old ideas

 as if old clothes that no longer fit

  fit them into boxes, store them on a shelf

   shelve them there with what’s no longer true


True—new ideas may at first feel snug

 snuggle with them, treat them like new lovers

  lovers who allow you room to shed your old display

   play, instead, with novelty; bounce it like a ball


Ball it up and toss it in the air:  Have fun

 funny how the new reminds us each of death

  death, remember, lets us breathe eternal time

   time for thanks, time to sing our praise