Monday, June 1, 2015

The Merchant

In Asia, the barbed wire strands that Americans are used to at the tops of walls are replaced by shards of glass. This over the top example is apparently from Vietnam, a photo taken in 2010. Many compound walls will have at least a line of shards down the center of the wall caps.

My Dad, Mom and I lived in two houses in Dacca, then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. This was August, 1967 - June, 1969. Both house compound walls had a centerline of glass shards. The compound iron gates locked. There was a gate guard on staff. Everyone had a staff. Ours (a Western family of three) was a butler, a cook and a gate guard. The school my Dad superintended had a driver. He was ours too. You had to hire a service staff or else risk consequences. That was what we were told. Anyone, local or foreign above a certain economic level had servants.

My poem was written in response to the poem moss & camellias by Irene Toh

The Merchant

I worked hard at it,
at erasing the scuff marks
in the ivy trails
on the outer wall.
A lookout told me you stood
on the glass shard top
face, the concreted
cap of that high wall and hailed
me but I was not
at home, not at all.
I guess that’s just the right thing.
I hope you got down
okay. As for me,
the trip went as it should have
and I made a pile.

May 8, 2014 11:15 PM

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