Back in the US, Back in the US,….


Wat Pho, Bangkok

After six meals and three hours sleep,
I don’t know what to feel, what I know,
Or where I’m going.
The accounts of time are balanced in the end.
Traveling east or west, I am eventually found again.
Somewhere over the pacific the mind and the body disconnect
To linger in detached domains of curling smoke and after-images.
Not that all must or can be known at once…or soon. Or ever.
Yet until illusion and outcome again make space for each other,
every moment will be time to begin and time to let go.
Ready and getting ready.

I re-enter my country, following the painted lines on the floor.
I pass all the tests.
I’m not sure I’m here yet. I scan my passport at a kiosk.
I surrender the bananas I bought in Bangkok.
I empty everything from my pockets once again.
Another Starbucks appears at the top of every escalator.
Ethically sourced, they say.
Everyone around me is speaking English.
I cannot use the baht that remain in my wallet.
My ATT SIM card works in my phone.
I seem to be waiting for the grand gesture of relief
Where I fall down and kiss the ground.
But no, there will be none of that.

I will be happy to eat vegetables with abandon and
to brush my teeth in tap water.
I will marvel at the ease of transportation in my Big American Car;
at the change in climate, the instant overwhelm of supermarkets
I will wonder why people eat with forks and notice how many are overweight;
and overwrought. I will notice the high price of everything;
coffee makers, cold milk, laundry,
the ubiquity of soap and hot water.

I will wonder what to write and who will care to read it.
Someone will be adopting my old practices.
But who that is, I do not yet know.
I will unpack. I will not carry a camera everywhere I go.
I will live in new places and old.
Staying in one place longer and becoming restless sooner.
I will discover a new project every day.
I will make naan with my bare hands and salivate for the taste of chili.
When I look in the mirror I will see the full deck
of flashcard memories, all reminding me to be still.
I am already wealthy.
Time to release my inner tuk-tuk, three-wheeling everywhere,
Slower, flimsy and precarious.
Am I free to go now?

12 thoughts on “Back in the US, Back in the US,….

  1. a most thoughtful and insightful take ….I recognise much of it…..for now im lying on a bed in someone’s house in north bali having not seen another tourist for 4 days loving my chilli and the tactile feel of eating with my hands. : ) namaste

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome home. It must be like coming back to another planet after what you’ve been through. Back to the place where everything that sustains life is taken for granted. How strange it must seem, although safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Strange, indeed. One of the oddest things is that the only vehicles on the road are cars. And they are moving so damn fast! Taking it slowww-ly. And why aren’t there three massage places on every block!!?


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