Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Monday, October 26, 2015

What’s Love Got To Do With It?





In our age it is not sex that raises its ugly head,
but love. – John Fowles

As a boy I didn’t know there were things
that someday I wouldn’t know how to ask
for and even more than this that the inability
to find the right words to ask would last
a lifetime.

As a teenager I could see what I wanted
in magazines held against the wall by rubber
cords in Pierce’s drug store.  Behind the
magazines in front were little magazines
for “truckers”  with black and white pictures of
. . . well, smut.  Smut became what I wanted
to ask for although I would never have called
it that.

In my twenties, my questions became the need
for a story and my questions took a back seat –
sometimes literally. With stories we could
understand and the questions would, in time,
be answered. But that just never happened. 
And because the girls I knew, if they had
questions at all, seemed self-satisfied in dancing
their questions to music while standing in the
same place, we made little sense together.
I didn’t have a clue. 

Coming home one night in my forties after
working twelve hours my oldest son dressed
as a knight rushed me with a plastic sword.
My wife put him up to it, thought it was
hilarious, but I was dead on my feet from
working a job I had no love for.  The old
questions came back and slowly the importance
of the story went away.  I began writing poetry,
and only poetry.

Now at seventy my life is fraying at the edges
again, and the old questions are buzzing
in front of my eyes like flies.  I walk miles every
day.  I walk, not so much, as exercise I think but
as a subconscious urge to leave.  I like the country
and its people, but my family here ignores me
because I am old and not Thai. They revere
old age, but not in a foreigner with too many
questions.  Buddhism, like all religions reduces
life to as few questions as possible. I can forgive
them; still I walk every day.  I walk religiously.

I tell myself I do it to stay alive, walk or die.

I walk away in the morning and then come back.
I trace a circle always facing traffic going the other
way.  Boy and man, I can still not find the words
to ask. 

FG           10/27/2015

The title is from a song by Tina Turner.  John Fowles wrote the Magus and The French Lieutenant’s Woman.  I think both novels have two endings.  What’s up with that?  Well, there’s a question.

Rivers & Prayers fits in with this poem . . . somehow.

Because I mention Pierce's I was going to put this on the We Grew Up In Goffstown site, but I doubt any one would care to read it. 

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