Marie Kazalia


leper couple South India

the strangest sensation
when that slender middle-aged couple
approaching walking at a rapid pace
deep in conversation
man and woman gesturing hands
with no fingers no noses talking faces
smooth scars where once were appendages
they stare at the white foreign woman
standing amid street stench
urine   animals
crowded with people--
not yet 10 a.m.
already heat coming on hot--
sellers stalls
scrawny thin poor beggars
healthy white midriff showing
short blouse wrapped sari
how odd to see amid all these brown
and smoking a cigarette yet
lit from burning hemp
at a tea stall where she stops
the leper couple continues on energetic
bodies wrapped in clean white cotton
black water buffalo
plod in opposite direction


Kowloon City

Chopin and loud hammering
a tall American tourist man standing regal in front
of the Airport Hotel desk clerk’s directions in his
head which minibus going where shopping what the
hell only a day to spend here jet descent rumble
in at an angle the shadow of it passing gray across
my wall jet fuel exhaust fills the air in an invisible
cloud Chopin’s Nocturnes endure sounds of
Cantonese cottage industry sidewalks full of selling
repairing manufacturing buzz saw grinding jagged
rotary blade whirr high pitched steel all day long
dry fishtails in the streets of Hong Kong
discarded gnawed pork chop bones
beneath the tires of a Mercedes
after just a few moments of quality Chopin
the Canto-pop music of the Chinese homosexual
plays too loud next door sounds pretty bad
even Chopin mixes high slow fast low
another jet flight path descent roar
blast of an impatient horn
double and triple parked nitemare 5 stories below
empty Tiger Beer cans on the table next to
Thai orchids repeating up three stalks
red violet in the morning blue violet at nite


another lesson

the young Beijing woman
with her roommate
quickly prepared the meal
we ate with chopsticks
telling me how this food
had been Mao’s favorite dish
potatoes and vegetables
just little pieces of meat
she instructed
and apparently
not to waste too much time--
the quick way the meal put together
cleaned up
water boiled
jars filled with hot water
poured over a ginseng root
to soak overnite
drink every morning
another lesson
worried about me



at times--like that ridiculous situation
I put myself into, no excess cash
fear of taxi drivers  2 heavy bags packed with
everything I owned-- clothes, notebooks, shoes
lugging to the Taipei bus station--
to get a bus to the airport for my flight
back to Hong Kong--
staggering straining under the weight of my luggage
muscles-full-out bags shoulder-strap-slung
lifting myself and everything
up 2 flights of metal stairs
along a concrete & metal overhead crosswalk
above several lanes of traffic--letting bags drop
resting--Lifting them starting all over again snagging
my black tights on roughened corners
of my bag--down more stairs--dragging
hole in my tights working-way-up
repeating       all this  --every detail--
over & over into infinity--
That time I couldn’t help thinking--
How ridiculous of me
to live this again--


Venus de Milo Arms

I’d rather be slightly
on the outside
of all American culture
for as soon as I connect
I find myself gathering
too many
possessions and
getting caught up
in romantically complicated
addictive emotions
so I begin thinking of places
I’d rather be right now
like Prague, Cairo, or Venice