THOSE LONG DAYS
I was the only white man
Staying on that side of Lovina,
Maybe that side of Bali.
But there were hundreds of restaurants,
And hundreds of guesthouses,
And all of them were completely empty.
In the afternoons
I’d go to a place on the beach,
And order my cheese and tomato sandwich,
With fries which I’d smother in hot sauce.
The standard Balinese hot sauce was damn good.
So I’d sit there and look at the black sand beach
And the ocean splashing up onto it.
Usually a few kids would be running around naked,
Chopping at the waves with their wooden swords,
Rolling in the sand and rinsing off again.
The people seemed much more a people of the land,
Unbothered by all the insects and the lizards
And the snakes and sand and sweaty grime.
They’d come from the mud some two million years before,
And hadn’t gone too far from it.
The only shame was the greed they had,
For the white man’s money.
As though they truly believed they needed it,
Despite the fact that their ancestors
had been living there,
on that island,
for centuries and centuries
catching the fish in the sea,
growing the fruits on the vines and in the trees,
raising the animals and planting the rice.
Huts were made from the land,
Food was had from the land,
And life was lived from the land.
Why bother with the unholy dollar?