Friday, March 10, 2006


Dirt blankets a pillow
and sheet on the bamboo floor.

Roosters crow in random sunshine
and bold black pigs
root through the trash,
laying claim to their kingdom.

The old man’s mouth
drips blood
of crimson betelnut,
staining black his teeth.

The young man’s teeth
gnash in anticipation
of the next
amphetamine injection.

Who gave the black goat salt?
Now he won’t keep
from the kitchen door.

Who gave money
to the hill tribe youth?
Now they know they are poor.

And on through the trash
the pigs still dig,
retrieving dinner
from the plastic chaff

while kids play and sing,

“This is the day
the Lord has made”

on the dusty road.


At March 10, 2006, Blogger me said...

Anatman - did you write these? I like them, thanks.

At March 10, 2006, Blogger Anatman said...

Yes, I wrote them based on experiences while visiting two different hill tribe villages in Northern Thailand. Glad you like them - thanks!

At March 10, 2006, Blogger Gareth said...

There's some very nice imagery there, and I like the way the images are set against each other.(I've no idea how detailed my comments should be)

It's good to hear the context as well thanks. When were you in Thailand?

Thank you for sharing.

At March 10, 2006, Blogger earDRUM said...

Wonderful writing, Anatman!
Very cinematic, yet economic... like extended haikus.

Thanks for posting these.
I love the way they point to the relativity of thoughts and beliefs.

At March 10, 2006, Blogger Anatman said...

I was there in 1998. Spent time in Thailand, Nepal, and Indonesia. The hill tribes were in Thailand, in the mountains near Chiang Rai.

The main difference between the two villages was that #1 was difficult to get to. There was no road access, and it took a couple days hiking over rough terrain to get there. Therefore, there was very little outside influence.

#2, on the other hand, was near a dirt road that could be accessed by motorbike, so there was city influence... money, drugs, etc. I'm curious to know what it is like now, as it seemed to be literally at a cultural crossroads at the time.


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