Three Thailand Poems

Prairie Wolf Illustration

Much thanks to Prairie Wolf Press Review, an independent online literary journal, for publishing the following three poems in their Fall 2015 issue:

Return to Koh Tao

                                                      —after a decade away

Garden moths, their quick white wings

  the warning song of parakeets

    as flora feasts on memory


The native palms, the guava leaves

  bemoan the loss of morning light

    loss of sea breeze from the beach


Gone are the hibiscus blooms

  the one papaya hanging from a tree

    bungalows that once could breathe


All that’s left: a barking dog, a motorbike

  flip-flops on a gravel path

    mozzies singing gossip in my ear


How I wish the sky cracked clear

  spilling time across the roof

    my ten-year teakwood hut


Pineapple Curry

                                             —Koh Tao, 2013

 Something spicy, something sweet

  a battlefield across my tongue

    bee stings buzzing down my throat


Sting of thin-sliced chilis

  yellow greens with tiger stripes

    onion carrots, garden basil leaves


So simple plucking supper like a leaf

  six strings on a Burmese guitar

    rainy jungle rhythm under our control


Were I some jungle monkey

  I’d race right up that spike-bark tree

    have myself a taste of something sweet


Baggage Claim

                                             —August, 2012

Here at Bangkok’s bustling hub

  tourists lug their heavy gear

    all the world a witness


A family home from holiday

  wheeling cases, pushing carts

    loaded down with memories


Myself—I travel light as sand

  a daypack with a deck of cards

    a change of clothes, a pack of smokes


As for that other baggage

  that stuff we smuggle out of view

    that’s a crime we all commit


That fat white guy, his thin Thai wife

  their secrets packed behind their eyes

    their smiles silent, insincere


What horror does that black guy hide

  beneath his spiky, spray-paint do

    his passport stamped with contraband


My own smuggled souvenirs: a stolen kiss

  a dozen lies, a couple sticks of weed

    a lady with the muscles of a man


We board our flight, we take our seats

  our gracious grins reflected

    our fuselage a cylinder of sin



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