Bangkok of the Mind by Stephen Cloud

Bangkok of the Mind

Stephen Cloud

Having strayed from his purpose
Owle steeled himself and crossed the city,
a maze of stinks, non-negotiable and overwhelming.
But by now he had lost the capacity to feel
overwhelmed. He took everything in stride
though his stride was more like a bleary stagger
down blind streets and through wild warrens:
Patpong Road, the night market where the din
of bargain offerings came at him in yelps and coos,
persistent, seductive, mystifying.
It would take him days to reach the bitter end
of Bangkok—days and nights, incessant wandering,
mile after mile of ill-lit hovels, fires in oil drums,
stalled traffic, a melee of taxis and motorbikes,
tuk tuks and lorries loaded down with contraband.
But it had to be this way: Bangkok. Aimless wandering.
He was cutting to the chase now, penetrating,
discovering for himself the entry point
of the eight-fold path, the first principles,
the sine qua non, the mission that meant everything:
going deeper to the source, elusive and reeking,
of the rot that had been destroying him inside and out.

About the Author

After kicking around the West for a while (with stops in Spokane, Flagstaff, and Sedona), Stephen Cloud has settled in Albuquerque, where he’s fixing up an old adobe, working on poems, and pondering the official New Mexico state question: “Red or green?” Recent publications include work in Valparaiso Poetry Review, High Plains Journal, New Madrid, Lowestoft Chronicle, and Shenandoah (forthcoming).