Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Switch




 Mr. Simpson, my high school math teacher,
was a dark, hairy man who was, I think, slow
witted and often smiled like a Cheshire cat
when Judy, Brenda or Stephanie had a question.
I think he might have gotten 5 to 10 for that
lascivious smile alone.

My grandmother died at the County Farm
Nursing home; one of my sons had his own
rock band for a while.  He was in South Carolina
then while I was baking in Saudi Arabia. 

I used to dream Nana gave me something.
I’d visit her every day and she’d teach me
to play Mark Knofler’s riff in the Sultans of
Swing.  At a moment’s notice she’d say,
“OK, Forry, SWITCH!” and I’d go from playing
the guitar right handed to  left handed.

You couldn’t SWITCH an accordion, which
was big when Nana was a girl, but like
Mr. Simpson, she was trying to teach
me something . . . sort of , maybe, I don’t
know.

Unfortunately, ambidextrous guitar playing
dudes, with or without bandanas, never
really caught on.  If they ever do, though,
I’m ready thanks to Nana.

SWITCH!

FG    6/21/2016

I think Mr. Simpson lived in a house trailer near the Historical Society.  Lately, I’ve seen articles questioning why we place so much emphasis on learning Algebra.  Why do liberal arts students need this to get into colleges?  Criticism of Common Core muddies the waters even more.  ESL courses that I am familiar with stress reading for information rather than inspiration.  Literature, including poetry, used to be where we could celebrate relevance, but now poetry no longer has a seat at the family table and literature is something happening in another room.  And Nana?    she was trying to teach
me something . . . sort of , maybe, I don’t
know.

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