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water and powder

April 18, 2022

the quiet appeared with no fanfare
just suddenly there was no construction, no chickens
and only one dog
(occasional squeals of children playing)

first the mango lady was gone
then the laundry closed
(damn, why am I never prepared for that?)
finally the barber and the moto dops
deserted the corner

me and my cat lounge about,
the quietest Friday, it being
new year here and good elsewhere
digital feed slows to a delightfully patchy trickle

all around it’s happening somewhere else,
festivals and street parties and dancing
and water and powder

in the background sobering news from the roads;
that take care and be well are no charm against disaster

sometimes the days are punctuated
by one crowded hour of rainstorm
descending emphatically downwards

what is the word for
thinking it’s Sunday when it’s Saturday?
there’s a lot of it about
and is it a different word when one is
thinking it’s Tuesday when it’s already Wednesday?

the lands of the three new years have had no chance
to honour their own for two years
each time it fell within outbreaks of the plague
the other new years, international and lunar,
were comparatively unaffected
but of course that’s not the same
countdowns and burning hell money
are not nearly as much fun as water and powder

with so many guesthouse restaurants closed
old white barangs congeal on
outside tables, marinating in draught
nothing to do but pit their mansplaining against each other
expecting no rewards beyond
the murder of another morning and another afternoon

night after night exhuberant children out in numbers
on motos with squeals and cries
and water and powder

we’ve spent over two years
waiting to transition into a new normal
and how it might appear
now we are wondering anew what it is we are resuming
and whether the landscape has changed

come Sunday, holiday fatigue woven through the air,
we gather in small groups for song
and savouring the dwindled traffic

a late night coda, stopping for a late beer
and watching three ladies play a mysterious
high-paced low-stakes card game
plenty of analogue there

this morning the mango lady is back
and also the laundry
(just in time!)
I think I saw a motodop
I can wait another day or two for a haircut

and now we are a year older

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