Sunday, April 20, 2008

Re-post : i sat on the bunk bed and...

Ran out of ideas, ran out of steam. I am feeling drained, so I will just post another re-post. Something I went through some time back, in the late 70s'.

I quite like this piece, though.

Grasses at dusk
photo by Mark Miller
image from

i sat on the bunk bed and started thinking about home

After dinner I sat on the bunk bed and started thinking about home.
Not yet a week in a foreign land
and I missed my mother's soups,
the sooty air of our street,
the angry vehicles outside our flat fighting for space,
and the sparrows building nests on the eaves of our house.

This was a sorry excuse of an army camp,
wretched wooden huts
laid out in neat rows like gravestones
ringed by concertina, as pretty as Auschwitz,
Perhaps they had used these to store rice or horses.
We had mattresses so thin
they offered no comfort to aching bodies,
blankets so filthy I wondered at times
these were used to wrap corpses with.

The air in the bunk hung thick with indifference,
laced with stale cigarette smoke, sweaty fatigues,
cheap cologne, antiseptic soap.
The boys were treating this place like a motel,
just passing through, five weeks,
they had no time for niceties,
clean floors, flowers on tables,
just a place to sleep, drink, chat and gamble.

The boys were at it again, a hot game of blackjack,
maybe a dozen of them.
They were throwing money around like so much wastepaper;
greenbacks, Sing dollars, NT notes,
that mound of dreams multiplying, subtracting
at every turn of a card,
you think they were haggling over the price of fish
or meat or whores,
the conversation heavy with money and expletives.

I was thinking of my girl friend back home, her smile,
her curvy body, long legs, short skirts
when my buddy came over from the game and bummed me a cigarette.
His luck was going downhill
and like a good soldier he knows when to retreat.
Looking out of the window at the empty Taiwanese sky, he asked if
I was thinking of home, and I wondered how the hell he knew.

20. Nov 2005

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 )

One of the few times I use capitals in a poem. :)

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Blogger magiceye said...

twas like watching a movie...
wonderful and poignant

22 April, 2008 17:09  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thanks, magiceye!

pass me the popcorn and cola. :)

22 April, 2008 19:54  
Blogger polona said...

ah... i like this very much.. it may be bleak but it effectually conveys the atmosphere.

yeah... how the hell did he know... :)

23 April, 2008 01:42  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

polona, thank you!

it was probably the lost look on my face, but then again, he was probably thinking about home too. :)

24 April, 2008 00:05  
Blogger Deborah Vatcher said...

I love how you contrast the vitality and energy of life at home with the intense images of death, indifference and waste at camp. I like this very much.

29 April, 2008 01:51  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, deborah.

i guess the contrast came out quite well. :)

29 April, 2008 23:03  
Blogger J. Andrew Lockhart said...

there's so much loneliness in this. very well said!

30 April, 2008 21:11  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

loneliness, and homesickness too. :)

thank you, andrew.

30 April, 2008 22:52  
Anonymous Ario said...

I think it works very well, the attention to detail is marvellous and the voice of the poem authentic. Great stuff. I more than enjoyed reading it.

I have read poems on a similar theme by you. Are these based on real experiences if I may ask?

10 May, 2008 20:26  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you.

no problem with me, for asking. :)
yes, this particular piece is based from my experiences during my military service days, way back in the late 70's. (now you know how old i am.). in fact, most of what i write, and written, are based on real experiences. :)

10 May, 2008 22:57  

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