There was me,

the Vietnamese

and the rat.


The Vietnamese laughed

at the way I shaved,

at how I pulled my mouth

sideways and upwards

to tighten the skin.


He hung a single strand

14 inches long

from a mole on his check

that he stroked and admired

and held up to the lamp

so I could whistle at it.


But the warlord

of garbage and greed

mocked us both –

I shook when I saw him:

two feet high on hind legs,

strutting the spotlight

by the latrine.

He bullied the night

through a stiff moustache

and a braggart’s lip,

and a shriek that sobered me

where I stood.


Contents / Next Poem / Published Works