Bells, Wine, River, In the Days of Our Lives
The opulence of bells, this is what grabs you upon
crossing the threshold into Maxine’s Pub,
round a road bend on the other side of the river
that offers a weightless point-of-view,
clouded blithely by the spirits on the house.
A gathered stillness of blue air keeps the bells
in their hold, not a whine or clink to sound off
their misgivings, their quiet rumination
unless touched by losers or seekers.
Whoever steps into this temple bar,
the patron sheds a certain vulnerability.
It’s in their eyes, the intensity of their gaze
at life flowing by, at the scattering of lights at dusk
across the bank; the attitude of a slouch,
the quality of sadness or buoyancy in their voice.
They come and go in fashion with their stars.
Like a chance crossing of path with Karen
whom I need to introduce myself again;
back from Papua New Guinea on a sea-change
turn of thoughts and feelings, she’s now
getting back her old Cambodian grooves
in her third-country-child syndrome,
vibrantly settled in tenuous moorings.
There’s the Irish bloke, Mick,
who fiddles with his cameras, feeds more
of his life to chance and accidents
like love that defies race and distance
in a cinematic unfolding of anguish and desires,
integrity and faith, hope and redemption.
A gaggle of Brits, with a dog on a leash, keen and
brimming with Phnom Penh tales over gin and tonic.
Thanks to the cool music and the beer and yes the bells
we take nothing for what it’s worth
as things can be illusory the shamans confound,
we come adrift, jazzed up by Snowy’s take
on arts and reflections as his ruckus in the City of Ghosts,
the guts and cuts of an expatriate,
the blurry way of getting hung up in situ.
04 February 2009
Phnom Penh, Cambodia