Sunday, September 28, 2003

by Skald

A rivulet of rotting dog meat reaches my nose as I eat my noodles-- squatted on a plastic stool-- breathing in tuk tuk exhaust.

This has become my evening ritual: a 50cent meal on a roadside by the river-- a plate full of noodles with a side of Bangkok stench.... Chao Praya flowing through my veins-- spices & filth in my nose-- eyes awash in jumbled markets-- gut bathed in chilis.

I have arrived: living the life of a squalid expat- guts twinging with each breath of dogmeat... a stench that evokes memories of dysentaric anorexia, IVs, vomit, long nights spent clutching sides, the tinny taste of antibiotics on the tongue: the anti-hero of a Conrad/Kipling vision.. white man drowning in the tropics.

I push these thoughts from my mind and shift on the stool... hoping to escape the aromatic stream... hunker down over the plate, fork in left hand, chopsticks in right.
I lift my eyes and take in the spectacle in the park across the street:

Aerobics in the park. Movement.
Relentless metronome movement. Dancers, river, tug, and headlights pulsing to an unheard beat. Bending branches under the summer breeze- also in sync. Slow breath, heaving chest-- in sync.

Breasts gliding above hips, Floodlights in my eyes, slow saunter of sandaled feet,
spreading numbness in toes and ankles, sinus ache, the lillies' surge,
--in sync.

In sync and in tune. In sync, in tune, in harmony and intertwined.

The scratch of an ear, the taste of fear, and a Black beast bouncing through the dancing crowd,
Nothing missing, nor in excess.
--Moonless night.

This is a relaxed awakening... a cleansing of the eyes with each evening downpour..
- Purple clouds roll over skyscrapers,
-Ferns wave to the impending rain.
On the far side of the park, the river surges:

Slow tug
Pulls black barge
Through brown water
-Lillies dance

I am in love.... love the stench, love the movement, love the filth, love the perpetual reminders that I am alive... Love this international freak zone for the lost, the lonely, the lazy, the wild-- all those refugees, periodic and permanent, seeking escape from the drudgery of the Work Machine.

Thats why I'm here: To escape wage slavery I will endure heat, filth, stench, and disease. I will endure scorn, dismay, disrepute, and exile.

All pretense, all claim to respectability, has slipped away.

I am the eye around which this storm of Bangkok revolves.

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