Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Friday, September 27, 2013

How We Live Now

From my blockhouse shower
room the opening rain taps
out a hopeful dance on my
tin roof as I raise my face to the
warm spritser of shower water.
Age has its rites, but this soapy,
sexy, sleekness has a long ago
put-to-bed raciness to it that is,
well, fun. Father Frost was wrong:
for this is how a real Old Man
Keeps a Winter Night, nowadays.

But the rain rises in volume from
polite applause to jump-out-of-your
seat thunder so loud  that I can’t
hear my “whoa!” as I bend over
slightly to look out the cinder
block slits.   But it’s like looking
out of a car grill at speed, and being
able only to see the blur of gray
road just in front.

In my small bedroom, my wife
and her three daughters Beam, Boom,
and Biew are watching a Chinese
historical drama before bed that I
call the fancy hat show.  The big
men wear bee-keeper-like black hats
and the women are doffed with arcane
musical symbols or possibly small
xylophones with tassels.

“Big Phon,”* my wife says happily
as I pick my way between the girl
bodies on the floor to our bed.

Listening to the dubbed Thai over the
hushed and distant Mandarin I begin
to fall asleep.  The punitive rain tapers
off. . . and I am disappointed.  My last
thought is wondering why Father
Frost never wrote any lines about
leaving or being left behind like this.

FG  Sept 27, 2013

This not the first time I’ve questioned Robert Frost’s images.  His beloved poetry will survive my small arguments.  Of this I have no doubt.  Still . . .

*Big phon -  Phon tok means rain in Thai, so big phon means heavy rain to Chunky and is her jesting metaphor for sex – rain outside rain inside – and this is what I’m parsing here.