Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Tokyo

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I wrote a poem for each of the cities I visited over my amazing spring break trip to Japan and Thailand, hope you enjoy:

Bangkok

grand palace

Sewer scents mix with the street food

ten baht kabobs

twenty baht fruit

We walk over puddles and homeless

in between purse shops and

you want massage?

jumping away from mopeds and tuk tuks

around the taxis and buses and stuffed fish grilling

fanning our persistently sweaty faces

trying to be weavers not trampled

The palace is like a smile in Hell

a diamond in a port-a-potty

What a strange thing—such a

sparkle in the midst of all that stink and dirt

We are a little too wide-eyed

but we made it

She points to our chests

our sticky skin

and gestures

as if to say

cover up you American whores

We oblige, submersing into the gold and glitter

forgetting for awhile

about the mosquitoes and roaches and cons

who wait for us outside the shiny gate

Chiang Mai

Prachuab and I

I grasp at your tough neck,

holding on to your gray, hairy wrinkles for dear life

you just flap your ears against my knees

wiggling your nose and scoffing

calm down stupid

I’ve found a soulmate

as I gaze into your eyes

thinking about the thousands of baht I’d spend

for our engagement photos

You’ve found another tourist who wants to sit on you

and can’t even pronounce your name

Prachuab, won’t you marry me?

I’ll feed you bananas all day

me, the first female mahout

at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center

me, your trunkless fiancée

yes, I know you’re 32 and neither of us is a lesbian

(well I’m not sure about you actually)

we’ll make it work

me and you and your dry skin, big feet, giant poops

Prachuab, won’t you marry me?

Tokyo

meiji ema meiji ema

the little wooden squares

clunking and clinking in the wind

they sounded like the most beautiful chime

together, in song, underneath an ancient tree

what better backdrop could they ask for

but the mighty Meiji?

silent and strong and peaceful beyond words

resting in acres of whispering woods

I could hear the prayers

being asked

being answered

I read the few that were written in English

inspired, but somewhat guilty

(reading someone elses’ innermost desires is overly intimate

especially when you haven’t paid a few hundred yen to write them at all)

the wooden sound makes you believe

for a second at least

in God

or a god or a power

or maybe what I believed in was

writing down my fortune

my most important want, need

and letting life do what it will with it

setting it free to the breath of the world

listening to the sound it makes as it collides with everyone elses’

I will wait to see if I’m answered

and in the meantime,

I’ll keep asking

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