A Night in Patpong
Eunice Barbara Novio
Neon lights blink.
Like sorcerers. Lured me into a den
Of eternal subdued lights.
I walk down the alley
where night is day and day is night
And offered a no-food menu:
A bottle of beer
and a chance to watch close-up
a scantily-clad woman
play ping-pong on a stage of blinking,
revolving colored lights.
Men drool. In awe. In lust.
A couple hundred baht conjures a bottle of Heineken,
And dancers, masked to conceal the tears from kohl-lined eyes
streaming down the heavily caked faces,
Like clowns. To scare. Or to entertain.
I nursed the bottle of Heineken. A blank mind.
A vacant stare at the dancers having sex against the pole.
I left a few coins. For a tip.
Instead of Heineken, I sipped San Miguel beer.
My archangel peered back at me.
Eunice Barbara C Novio is a Thailand-based freelance journalist. She is also a lecturer at Vongchavalitkul University in Nakhon Ratchasima and adjunct lecturer at Philippine Christian University-Saint Robert’s Global Education. Her articles have appeared on Kyoto Review, Asia Times, Asian Correspondent, America Media, Thai Enquirer, Bangkok Post, and The Nation. She is a correspondent of Inquirer.net US and Canada Bureau. She was a two-time Plaridel Awardee of the Philippine American Press Club. She also writes poetry published in several anthologies abroad. She has published a chapbook O Matter, a collection of poems translated into Thai.