Monday, February 09, 2009

Hill Tribes in Chang Rai, Thailand


A centipede’s wooden legs
support the bamboo house.
Inside, Indian style
sit the opium smokers.

The medicine man gathered his herbs
while his son shot an emerald serpent
straight from the tree
with a muzzle loading rifle.

Now is the time to dream.

A rusty oil lamp weaves soft yellow light
in patterns of dark and light.
Crickets provide the rhythm for the passing of the pipe
and the river spirit softly
grumbles his approval.

Tomorrow morning

early they rise

to cut the rice

before it rains.


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 February 09, 2009, Blogger Jordan said...

Warmed to see you post something again.

At February 09, 2009, Blogger Barry said...

Wow, Ted!

Everything always changes...

At February 10, 2009, Blogger oxeye said...


At February 20, 2009, Blogger Anatman said...

Thanks e-Sangha ;-)

Been out of touch for a while. Partly because of increasing time constraints but also because I haven't felt like I have anything meaningful to contribute.

So when I had some time I figured I would just share something that was significant to me, although not necessarily "Zen" or "Buddhist."

But in the end, I guess all our experiences are Zen and Buddha, right?


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