Month: July 2015

Two New Thailand Poems

Front Range Review

Many thanks to Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, Colorado, for publishing the following two poems in the Spring 2015 issue of Front Range Review:

Burmese Pantoum

                                         —Sunshine Bungalows, 2001

Each morning in my bungalow

  I rise—not to songs of garden birds

    but Burmese boys on the beach

      brooms in their hands, brushing the sand

.

Before I rise, I dream of Burmese birds

 sweeping last night’s fallen leaves

   brooms in their wings, brushing the sand

     evidence of last night’s hash?

.

After sweeping garden leaves

 after washing clothes, after gutting fish

   after a bowl of last night’s hash

     that Burmese plucks his old guitar

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I listen after washing, bowl full of fish

 white talc smoothed across his face

   that Burmese plucks at his guitar

     sings an ocean melody

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White talc paths swept smooth each dawn

 no birds outside my bungalow

   I hear the ocean’s melody

     a Burmese boy on the beach

 

Burmese Melody

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The End of Unknown Pleasures

                                                                          —Koh Tao, 2013

 Something old, something known

     familiar, guaranteed

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Mornings of sun on a half-moon beach

     blue sarong, old white skin gone brown

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Taking the terrier out for a stroll

     same old path to the PO Box

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Soaking in claw-foot candlelight

     joint in the old tin tray

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People say, Try something new

      Go someplace you’ve never been

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That might be fine were I still young

     time on my hands, no watch on my wrist

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Now, mid-afternoon of my tan

     too aware that the sun must sleep

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I swap my dreams for pebbles

     joys I might discover on the road

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Nuggets of gold, manna from heaven

     women sunning topless on the strand

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Now even these are old and known

     even these—and so I sit and breathe

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