Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Oh-ho





The heat and little rain has brought
down palm fronds in the gusty winds
that precede afternoon thunder storms
which lately have been all but rain free.
These fronds remind me of the oversized
utensils troops used to bring back from Nam
to hang in their living rooms/dining areas.
They look like the goose quills our founding
fathers wrote with only much larger. From
a sixty foot coconut palm they could skewer
some walker-by and find irony in the idea
that the pen is mightier that the sword.

My wife’s mother has collected two piles
of these fronds and set them alight with her
disposal lighter.  These casual fires are
disconcerting to someone who grew up
in Goffstown.  You see them on the side
of roads, close to houses, but the Thais
don’t care.  They set them and walk off.
Conflagration is not a Thai word.

The Thais have a funny sound for “Wow”.
They say Oh (high sound) ho (low sound).
Kids say it, Prime Ministers say it, pretty girls
sitting across from you in sports bars say
it: oh ho.  Just sounds funny to me.

The old woman sits on her little five-inch
high bench and watches the fires.  Just what
she would ever do if the fires took off I don’t
know.

When the fires die down she gets up and
is in the process of raking the black char
and white ash, which is the real color of
her hair, to insure everything that can
burn does - when there is a loud pop.

Maybe it is a discarded spray can exploding, 
maybe . . . who knows.  I’m drinking vodka 
and orange juice in my little orchid bower
when I hear her surprised yip of “ooh!”
and start laughing.  It’s the sound a school
girl trapped  inside an old Thai woman
who only has three teeth in her head
(for the moment I’ve got her beat),
but it . . . just sound s funny . . .
and for some reason wonderful to me.


FG  5/31/2015

I've put "grew up in Gofstown" in italics" to justify posting with this group.  It's an experiment of sorts, too.  When I post on my timeline I get only a couple of hits.  When I post with the Grew up in Goffstown group I tend to get a hundred or more hits - which I think is a fluke.  so I'll find out.

In Thailand, the king, who was born in Massachusetts eighty-seven years ago, has returned to the hospital in Bangkok.  When he passes (and the official word is that he's fine) the political circus which has been  a mainstay of Thai life for the past ten years or more, may get interesting.  I'll keep you posted.

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