Poetry from Thailand

Original poetry written in and about rural Thailand.

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Location: Chong Khae, Nakhonsawan, Thailand

Friday, June 10, 2016

My second father-in-law

My second father-in-law was a nice guy
but rarely said anything unless the topic
of the grassy knoll or Oswald or anything
remotely connected to the JFK assassination
came up and then “BAM” he went into
a violent frenzy, a bright sky of conspiracy
theories that usually resulted in him walking
out of the room in a huff.  That’s just the way
it was, as Tracy Chapman might sing, what
could you do?

I play solitaire a lot, it’s a redactive game. 
Redact means to get a document ready
for publication, but I always think of pages
with words and sentences blacked out. 
I’ve seen some Freedom of Information
documents so redacted that there might
as well have been no document at all. 

Solitaire is like this.  You don’t edit the game,
you remove whole sentences from king to
ace until there is nothing left to redact, no
conspiracies, no Pulitzer Prizes, nothing.

If I lose the Solitaire gods are against me. 
But even If I do win, there’s not much joy,
just a twinge of accomplishment
which feels like “I was right, all  along,”
but nobody cares now nor did they care then.

FG     6/8/2016

Somehow, my second father-in-law got to work on top secret military projects without being a US citizen.  His whole family was Canadian and when the Avero Arrow, a military Canadian fighter, went bust, George got a job with Avco, an American contractor who made among other things the MX missile.

My wife, who had lived in America almost all her life, was also a Canadian.  After we were married for a couple of years, she decided to become an American.  Besides being drop-dead-beautiful, she also had a BA in English Literature.

I remember the day when she had to appear for her citizenship test.  The man examining her sat under an American Flag had her read a few lines from the Constitution – which my wife performed flawlessly.  Normally, guys would try to chat my wife up, just to keep her before them a little longer.  But this guy – who heard broken English everyday – just looked at her and said, “Could you please read a little more.”

Poetry is memory.