Once

Written by: Jeff Troyer

Once, 
About ten minutes ago in the year 
2006 or 
2549, depending upon which avatar or
 Messiah is consulted, I  
 Tumbled out of my bed to the 
Untranslatable 
Predawn
 Cackle of 
Frantic voices
Descending.
 
So, with urgency
 Rarely experienced since the 
Evacuation of my spirit
From the Land of
Possession Addiction, I was called to summon previously 
Unknown prowess 
Chancing traffic choked streets
Of Nakhorn (used to mean “New City” 700 years ago but not sure now) 
Chiang Mai.

So there I was
Aboard my mostly pint-sized for a European descendent Kawasaki 112,
Red-blooded American head 
Protruding 
turret-like out of an
Undersized helmet that,
If nothing else,
 Officially pronounced me foreign
 Blazing a jutted path around 
Decrepit trishaws,
Ubiquitously red baht busses and,
Not the least, a motorcycle with a sidecar bandaged to its
 Aching side just in time to witness a
Spit-shined just out of the wrapper BMW 
Brusque aside a
 Sardine packed dump truck
 Loaded, 
Not with dirt, but five dollar a day 
Laborers.

All this and more
 Just moments before
 Mounting the silted Ping and
 Stampeding city gates, I glimpsed
Censored Snippets of TV reports blurting something unintelligible like
 “Bangkok coup”,
“Corruption”,
“A King”
And
Somewhere,
Quite uncensored, of a not so pleased
 Laozi,
Lotus splayed in
Meditation
Kneading the Eastern soil one 
Daoist grain at a time,
 Before ancient city walls
Rose up,
Monolithic in my path. 

And then the recall that
Centuries before,
Burmese raiders
Resplendent in warrior garb
Plundered the palace and soul
Of the kingdom Thai before stealthily
Creeping back to their lairs,
Buddha-fat with riches.

That leaves the Siamese of 1935
 And me, to wonder
Where is freedom
When we travel so far 
Pell mell and
 Peril, only to discover
 In a fleeting brief moment the road to 
Iniquity marked, rather
 Erroneously, with the signpost to
 Promises?