Deviation From Assignment
From the border of eastern thailand and western cambodia heading west
to Angkor Wat, it's 8 hour ride in a pick up truck over hot dusty roads
bombed out since vietnam-nam war and more.
30 years of civil war in cambodia makes life here anything but cheap,
contrary, it's at great expense that one must survive. That expense life
it self. the sea of dust is 120 kilometers long but takes 8 hours; get
the picture. My village is on the outskirts of Angkor Wat located near
one of the oldest ruins dating 950 named Pre Rup (roop). It's the hot
season and by noon i'm trying to sleep in the hammock swung under the
wooden house 10 feet above the dry ground.I've been up since 5am. Chickens
and chicks are scratching the dirt, the kids in rags are throwing their
thongs on the dirt trying to hit rubber bands in a game the women are
wrapped in colorful sarongs gently walking from one slow chore to the
next. Grandmothers (yeye) are sharing beetlenut with their toothless blackened
gums smiling away and nodding, speaking to me as if i understand while
i nod and laugh along. what men are left are busy climbing the sugar palm
trees tapped for their sweet juices. they walk around carrying vertical
tubes suspended on each end of a strong stick slung across the shoulder,
machetes stuck in their rope belt.
I drive my moped the 23 klicks every morning and evening to spend the
entire day at the village. if i sleep their i endanger the village with
the roaming ex-soldier night bandits who would be happy to kidnap a rich
white barang (westerner). But day time is tourist time at these ancient
stone ruins still natural unlike the pyramids which are now disneyized.
huge trees surround Angkor and protect it from the hot season midday sun.
the moats are filled with lotus flowers and ducks. bicycles and mopeds
slowly move around sometimes loaded down with wood or pigs or sugarcane
branches or families. yesterday i saw dad driving with jr. sitting on
his lap two kids squished between dad and mom in the back with mom breast
feeding an infant...all on a moped cruising along as casually as walking
down mission street eating ice cream.
you, my friend, once told me that life here is cheap. perhaps
my descriptions were trying to remind you how lucky you are I love you
for your innocence and your naiveness I love you for the time we've spent
together. but for lack of better word (and this is a love/hate assignment)
i hate you for your judgements and for your ignorance unknowing just how
lucky you are to be eating, drinking, smoking and wallowing in a cheap
life of unnecessary addictions.
no insults intended!
pete calanni siem reap cambodia jan/feb 99
POOP POOP POOP POOP
i have to tell you this
since for this i am remiss
following this ellipsis...
it all began february 12
while taking a piss
dreaming of our assignment
mending a fence
on an old farm deep in God's country
i raised the hammer
but then i missed nailing my member hurts just to remember
stuck for three weeks i waved frantic to passing cars
to folks going back and forth to bars
i've got to get to my assignment you see!
please free me!
they'd yell "Sorry we don't have the time!"
i can't believe this guy just nailed his dick to a post
and does it in rhyme
I ate the candy I bought for you
I cleaned up the cat puke
Which you wouldn't do
You come home at night
But I'm fast asleep.
I tell you I'm cold
And you cover my feet.
We had Valentine's Day
And you went off to work.
I put the flowers in water
And it really didn't bother
Me that you weren't there.
My brains were ok
On Valentine's day.
A love poem this is not or maybe it is.
I thought life should be movies
And maybe it is.
It's the part after the lovers
Drive off in the car.
It's the part after the credits,
"Shh, please don't talk to me now".
Mary Feb. 20, 1999