4 Poems from an emerging poet.

LONG-HAUL

No water-bottles now – 
to reduce single-use plastic,
offset aviation fuel. 


My gut’s like a wind-sock. 
I panic for my passport,
ask for a cuppatea,


glug it like a parched plant – 
it scalds my throat – 
and pack my cabin-bag.


Outside, the screen says,  
it is minus five. The floor 
shudders. Earth swings near


with insect towns, field-patterns, 
roads of string, all seen through
the wrong end of a telescope.



TAXI-TALK 

arose because of the rain. 
The passenger said 
that although it was wet
it was warm and so nice 
to be here among smiles. 


In England, he said, we don’t.
And the driver replied, 
what you see isn’t the truth 
of what people feel,
it’s all a façade. 


We have a king, but are ruled 
by generals; inside
we do not smile these days. 
How can we enjoy? 
He fell silent


and the tourist decided 
the driver spoke because
a foreigner couldn’t 
be a Thai official. 
This was just taxi-talk.



NINETEEN MEN STAND 
(from a photo in the Bangkok Post)

On a palace staircase. 
Nineteen men in white suits, 
epaulets, medals, black armbands 
in mourning for their king.


Behind, on each side, 
two darkly carved figures 
raise candelabras against
finely inlaid balustrades.


The carpet’s so fine its plush 
is shadowed, disturbed 
by black military shoes. 
The only women here


are naked; marble nymphs
on plinths. One laughs,
unsteady as though falling.
The other turns, about to flee.


VIEW FROM A BANGKOK HOTEL

The Chao Phraya river is khaki silk.
Small boats, yellow with blue shades
work their way upstream.


Below are the hotel’s
hydroponic greenhouses.
They grow salad for their guests


to ignore beside their burgers.
The sky is sallow. Across the city, 
trees add garnish to concrete blocks.

Pen Kease earned her MA at the University of Warick.

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