Phet Buri--Kanchana Buri

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Thai Temples

August 3

Phet Buri--Kanchana Buri

 

We stop, walk wots--Buddhist temples. And again this "nothing" stares me in the face. 

            & I am staring back

             blankly

Gold leaf, creased and flicking, on this physical representation of the Buddha before me... the physical representation of an ancient teacher who wanted nothing so much as to achieve the ultimate in non-physical being...

         & here he is

         everywhere

 

I am wandering vaguely.

Thai Monkey
  Lost in this Thai city of temples.  I have nowhere specific to go, and i give up trying to follow anything.  Not logic. Not maps. Not meaning. ...until a puppet shop window display arrests my musing.  A shadow puppet takes centre stage; doomed, paradoxically, to a life behind curtains.  Beside it, on the other hand, a full faced puppet seems frightened by the seeing. Strings tangled and gone limp from lack of use. All day it peers out at the passing world with eyes that never close.  Seeing everything.  Regal, with its traditional porcelain features.  Clad in gold embroidered silk. Its black hair starkly pulled into a top knot.

 

***

 

this afternoon:

Bridge over the river Kwai. 

A western movie signs its autograph across an eastern landscape.

I am at the museum.  A replica of the POW shelter.

Inside: one man writes of being a doctor.  Watching so many patients die  --malnutrition, untreated tropical ulcers, cholera.  After an hour of following pictures, paintings, stories, articles, I still don't understand the sense they make out of these good guy/bad guy wars.  & this man.  This doctor who was there, watching people die:  upon liberation he hated the Japanese, the enemy who had been so cruel…. until he watched one of them die too.  (a one-legged Japanese soldier, who had worked at the camp all during the building)

         "and the hatred drained out of me" he wrote

***

 

Later:

Wandering among the tombstones.  Wondering...  the graveyard housing thousands of the allied POWs who died building the Thai-Burma railway.

 

                       "here lies"

                       ...his name, age, status as a soldier, job, regiment...

                       "dearly missed..."    "bravely lived..."

                       "for king and country..."  "having done his duty..."

 

                       until one catches my eye:

                       "The night grows dark and I am far from home"

 

                       ...the graves begin to spin

 

...

&  the days spin into evenings. 

It's my turn to cook, and I'm cooking in a bog.  Tropical rainstorm wreaking havoc on my efforts.  The clams refuse to open, flat smug black shells.  Nobody seems hungry anyway.  It is our last night on the road.  Tomorrow we reach Bangkok, and then I'm heading home. & everybody's off at the bar, reminiscing.  Having a good time, while I'm cooking in a bog.  Fucking clams.  Open!

 

After, cooling down, drying off, I am talking again.

            talking

              talking

with Johnny... a guy who continues to oblige my curiosity by providing the most opaque and frustrating conversation.

 

"From beer to Mekong Johnny?"  I'm being flip

                       blank look

Taking a long drag at his cigarette, he blows clove scented smoke thru the fog of my sarcasm.

 

                       glimpses, surfaces, shadows, games

                       getting nowhere

 

...& getting nowhere, we end up naked on the reed floor of my little cabin.  Struggling.  Caressing.  Loving.  Hating.  One day left, and I still don't know how we find ourselves in this arena yet again.  Struggling with each other's demons.

 

 

August 4

 

             nothing gentle, no words now.

                   your body does the talking

            tho the story it relates may be painful to you,

           & perhaps you'd rather not be there to listen;

              you'd rather be anywhere other than here

                           your skin bruising

                   each breath like searing lava

                        your pulse a jungle

 

 

 

& i think (i can't remember for sure)

i think you left me naked on the floor

and now you are

            running

                         running

 

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photo by: constantquantum