Baht

That exotic coin
which sits on the sill
has no value here –
a measure of nothing

It has no function
now it is removed
from foreign change
for goods
for food

My recall of the heat
and sweated steps
have an equal value
being worth nothing
unless exchanged

Returns

We refilled our disgorged bags
doing that roll up and re-stuff
necessary due to the rule of travel
which dictates a greater volume
is required on every return
another thirty
or more
hours of transfers and trolley bags
before we find our own pillows
the soft heart of our home.

Shade in Samui

Below the Big Buddha I took shade
like an aged cat
ready to refute contact
as you took the significant steps
to stand under the god

Here
stroked only by thick leaves
which weighed on the near rotten pagoda
I could hide from the sun
and the burn of phone lenses
on these tourist attractions

Speingle holy water with monk
your life for good luck
Take off your shoes

With my stick and stomach
topped by a beer brand hat
I look like the visitors
who buy genuine crap

You took in the views
which I imagined
as the sun was shadow cut for less than seconds
by the landing flightpath of another jet

In this holy place there are bins and litter
the common markers of men
alongside the spirits which were captured
in the name of this mess

The monk chants
the same intonation as football scores

there must be more than this.

Wired

There is barbed wire
on the moon-pulling palm tree

there to deter tourists

and their kids

from photo opportunities

Three dogs piss on two sandcastles
as dusk confuses the high tide shadows
and rich yellow puddles

We swig beers and cocktails
as the squid fisherman departs

A line of LED lights mark
the break neck edge
from this restaurant
to the sea’s revenge.

ความรัก (Love)

This Thai beachside paradise
of dribbled concrete streams
and well-kept swept lawns
is like the constructs of love

which also require maintenance
of surfaces and hid beams –
which need an ear to creaks
and underfoot complaints

Left unattended – even for a day
and the leaves will fill the pathways –
The beach will rustle with plastic
and the drains’ stink will stay


E100119

Heading North

This coach reverberates
and ever, ever, rolls north
with us four and a dozen
back-packed younger souls
in various curls of inertia

as a million, or more,
palm trees are passed
plus the same number
of shacks and scooters,

those and a thousand
roadside spirit houses
are disregarded
in favour of tourism’s
sleep of death.

The highway’s ghost island
has been raised up
for hundreds of metres
in concrete dormers
to reduce the risks

and we pass our final
7-Eleven before the ports.

Time Travellers

‘The heavy weight of a lonely death’
I read
stated in bold at headline height
eye lined up to the old woman
here
English and abroad
reading her UK paper
as the onshore wind curled the other pages
held in her three score
and more
years of holiday-making
and with the other shaded septuagenarians
her clock refuses to stop

The Engaged

For Beth & Samuel

Under wind-tipped red umbrellas they take midday shade
laid out behind sunglasses
flat down on sand-itch sunbeds
hiding from the equatorial burn
which catches us
the unblocked
out

They are separated
for now
by the short array of kindly shadows
between palms and the sky
set in another timezone
they submit to sleep’s distorted demands
to dream
to reset their love and lives

The Beach

Arrayed like solar panels

but bearing the weight
of sunburnt Russians

these beach beds align
nation unto nation
before the Indian Ocean

bringing equality back
as fat men match six packed
and sagged women
note cellulite on sex objects

To drown the screams of Chinese
I put my headphones on

Real Chang Mai Night Market

Genuine fakes
why leave
why leave?

Here the lights
sometimes not lie
about LV bags
sat above silver
winking watches

Here in the food market
The Nolan Sisters sing
streamed off Spotify

Here fat white men
plod with Thai wives

We could be in London
and the list rolls out
of brands and lies
here in Thailand