Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Saturday, February 28, 2009

When our homes had value

The houses of my youth had musical names
Like bungalow and saltbox or
Garrison, cottage, and cape.
They weren’t mass-produced by
Crews of framers with pneumatic nailers,
But stick-built by men in bib overalls
Who smelled of sweat, smoked Lucky Strikes
And muttered cut once but measure twice
Whenever they knew I was around.
These houses were never flipped and
Only changed hands when the old man died.
When I hear now they’re losing value day-by-day,
I’m saddened but know there’s a point in my memory
Beyond which, and for my money, they cannot fall.

FG 2009


Novels grow at the rate of house plants and equire attention every day.


Writing poetry:

Is deep diving. You don’t belong, but it’s magical

Writing fiction

Is like breaking the surface. You’re going to live; you still have a job.

3-18 Poetry is:

a stone wall that runs in a more or less true line through the heart of a NH forest

When I pick up a New Yorker, I always look at the cartoons first and then the poems. I think most people do the same thing. Poems should be short and self-contained the same way cartoons are.

A poem should be like Java, Sun Microsystems’ little software engine. It’s self-contained and toy-like.

Life is nothing but a mixed metaphor: We have a little black dog that has, what looks to me, to be a pair of donkey ears. Could this be the evolution between species those who believe in the Great Designer’s hands are looking for?

The iridescent green pound (₤) sign I see painted on the road turns out to be a foot long snake flattened by a car.

A young yellow cat comes around the corner of the house carrying in its mouth a chick he has just killed from next door. I only see him for a second, but the chick is almost as big as the cat so the cat has to hold its head back as if it were swimming. The dead bird’s body is black, but its head is white, all beak and eyes and I think it is a miniature ostrich with cartoon like eyelashes. The cat has the bird by a wing and as he runs and the bird’s feathers hang down like an inverted hand of cards.

I can’t imagine what America will be without newspapers. Even the NY Times is skirting receivership. We certainly will become a more polarized society because when you hold a newspaper your hands you have a small universe of opinions, interests and ads in your hands. When you go online, you are choosing your friends from the first click.


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