Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Via Negative

Via Negative. Pick up something.  Is this God? No, then throw it out. What you will end up with is God. This works for poetry too, maybe.

Stop and smell the roses. You might say this in defense of poetry, but any use of flowers brings with it a cloying sweetness that defies reason and reality and debases poetry to a level of sweetness for sweetness sake. Throw it out.

A life unexamined is not worth living. You might say this in defense of poetry, but that opens the door to all sorts of hand wringing which makes people head for the exits muttering get a grip. Throw it out.

Save the gastropods! You might say this in defense of any number of poets who attach themselves like barnacles to this or that cause, but putting the cause before the poem is not an excuse to read poetry. “You Go Girls!” Nope, throw it out.

Seize the day; get busy. Is it getting hot in here or is it just me? This reduces poetry to teenage, male, hot to trot, sexual angst. Nothing really wrong with this, but I’m unsure if in summing up the human condition the statement overreaches or is pure nit-picking. And it opens no new ground. Let me open a window. I don’t really want to throw this out, maybe I can find some soft bushes for it to land – but out it goes.

Death is the mother of all beauty. Ask the veteran suffering from PTSD if this makes sense. This saying was a gift from the Romantics and university poets who got - for a better word – bored. Don’t believe it. I’m sure there is something in this old box worth saving, but out it goes.

I was playing cards with some old guys up on French Hill in Nashua, NH a long time ago. The first old boy opens and says, “Fifty cents. Sos, I’m taking a piss and look out the bathroom window” he says “and I see my goddamn twelve year old kid trying to set my neighbor’s house on fire! Jesus Christ!” [Some laughter. When it dies down] The next guy says, “I got four daughters. I don’t say nothing.” He squeezes his cards together in a tight pack. [some laughter] He looks up stiffly through his trifocals which makes his eyes seem grandma-large and says, “What?”

“Does a straight beat four of a kind or does it have to be a royal straight flush?” I say. [Some conversation as we were all petty drunk] I was thinking of all the dumb things my kids have done, flushing a doll’s head down the toilet, calling 911 and then denying it when the operator called back, breaking a window with a rock and protesting that the wind did it, “All you can hope for,” I say “is that they’ll come back when they grow up and make sense. I’m out.” [Some head-shaking laughter]

This was a long time ago. Maybe I’m dreaming it. I just turned a million-sixty-eight and none of them have been back or ever tried to make sense. They flee from me. Even if they did come back, what would we talk about? Maybe poetry fills this void, sometimes, which is the best reason to read or try and write it. Is this poetry, at last? I dunno, but I can’t bring myself, for the life of me, to toss it.

FG on my 68th birthday. All rights reserved by the author Forrest Greenwood.

Dear Diary: (4/7/2013}

As a vehicle, poetry is about as competitive with other art forms as a broken down shopping cart entered in the Indianapolis 500.  To make matters worse, some genius has duct taped some Hollywood mirrors on and the poets persist in trying to back up against the traffic.

As a group poets take themselves way too seriously, still days or months later the shopping cart abandoned on the empty infield when no one else is around, can be a thing of beauty - created for one use but used for another..