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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 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.

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