Hotel Room, Bangkok

by David Tait

I

the smog is the colour of cheap lipstick.

cars scuttle along the tollway, headlights bobbing
torches that sentry the edge of a prisoner’s pit fight.

before this the skytrain interchange is a concrete
mortis lock. it holds while wraith carriages
float through sulphur mist:
they slither into siam, a firm business handshake.

people drift around below:
mosquitoes searching for silhouettes.

they dash between one train and the next,
a way home to saphan taksin or a connecting
bus at victory monument.

skyscrapers stand like racks of burnt toast,
a few have flickering lights that announce a late
shift or an abandoned budget.
the tallest of these, bai-yok tower, beams

– Long Live The King –

into the pressure cooker sky.

II

then as if composed this way a thunderstorm begins.
arcs of rouge fork-tongued blades slice open the night
and the city horizon fills with pomegranate rain.

I slide open the window to let in the sound.
thunder anchors the beat like a bass drum while sirens
and the swish of closing doors are a counterpoint
to the grunting taxi and self-sounding tuk-tuk engines.

the voices are a lunatic ensemble of laugh and shriek
as vendors hurriedly pack away t-shirts, wooden frogs,
plastic bags saturated with ripe orange/pink papaya.

beggars paper cups rattle in the rain, turning
charity into private handheld wishing wells.

David Tait lives in Leeds and is working on his first collection of poetry.

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