Phet Buri--Kanchana Buri
Phet Buri Travel Blog› entry 31 of 47 › view all entries
Phet Buri--Kanchana Buri
We stop, walk wots--Buddhist temples. And again this "nothing" stares me in the face.
& I am staring back
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
I am wandering vaguely.
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
Wandering among the tombstones. Wondering... the graveyard housing thousands of the allied POWs who died building the Thai-Burma railway.
...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
After, cooling down, drying off, I am talking again.
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
Taking a long drag at his cigarette, he blows clove scented smoke thru the fog of my sarcasm.
glimpses, surfaces, shadows, games
...& 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.
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