Sunday, March 23, 2008


I was in my hotel room,
A nice, fancy ten dollar job,
AC and my own bathroom.
The toilet had no seat
And water only trickled out of the showerhead,
But it was only one night and the AC blasted.
I was doing time at the keys,
Just playing with the poems.
Nothing decent was coming of it,
And I’d finished my beer.
“I’ll just listen to a few songs,
Then go down and buy another beer,”
I thought, lying down in my bed,
Exhausted from the buses
And the shared taxis and the trains,
The torrential rains and overflowing sewers,
All of which I was facing on one meal a day.
I had just hit the bed
when there was a knock on my door.
“oh, what the hell?” I wondered,
Then remembered that I’d emailed a friend
I’d met in Yogyakarta, to come by
If he was still in town when he got the email.
“hello?” I asked.
But it was a girl’s voice who said,
“Jack? Can I come in?”
“uh, one minute. Who is it?”
“it’s Morena.”
I tried to place the name,
But thought that never in my life
had I met a single Morena.
“from downstairs. I stay here.”
“oh, right,” I remembered.
I’d met her quickly a few hours ago,
When I’d checked in.
She was this chubby, smiling Indonesian thing,
And I had a feeling she wasn’t
The kind of girl that was out vacationing.
More like she was out whoring.
“uh,” I said dumbly. “I’m really tired.”
“just for five minutes?”
“five minutes and five or ten bucks,”
I chuckled, admiring my wisdom of the southeast.
“naw. I’m really tired. Gonna sleep.”
There was a long pause.
I’d been blasting music
and the lights were on.
“yeah?” I said, trying to sound sleepy.
“I love you.”
Now what the fuck could I say to that?
I was alone as hell,
In Indonesia,
and some girl was knocking on my door
at half past twelve,
standing there and saying,
“I love you.”
Out of habit, from refusing the touts
And the vendors and the beggars,
I almost said, “no thanks.”
But love wasn’t something you could refuse.
So I said, still trying to sound very tired,
“that’s okay, but I’m going to sleep.”
It was maybe the strangest response I’d ever given.
Id’ responded before with awkward silence, or,
“I love you too,” or
“no you don’t,” or
“bullshit,” and the odd,
“please don’t.”
But never before had I told a girl,
“that’s okay, but I’m going to sleep.”
I smiled, waiting to see about her response,
But she said nothing.
I could see her through the gaping crack in the door,
Standing there, “loving” me.
So I stood up and turned off the light
And began to write this poem.
For many minutes she didn’t go away,
And when she did,
She just went down the hall
to hack up something into the toilet.
I was sleeping in a whorehouse and getting no action.
I lit a cigarette and gave that some thought.

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