Drifting Awake at the Chao Phya


Delicious rumple of damp sheets

Pushed away in the hot, still, sunny air.

Out on the street a tootle of horns

And the quick hiss of a bus

Braking at the corner.

A sudden shout of friend to friend

Over the chatter of three girls giggling by.

An odor of rain blown in from far away

Comes, mixed with market smells:

A whiff of jasmine, whiff of cooking rice.

Soon it will be time to rise

And join the hectic day,

But just for now the sheets are soft; the air is sweet;

And just for now it is enough

To lie here and be simply, slowly,

And deliciously alive.


October 5, 1992


The Chao Phya hotel was the officers' billet in Bangkok during the early seventies. Unlike the Nana, and some of the other "R and R" ho¬≠tels, the Chao Phya didn't have a party atmosphere, so it was a place where you could relax, and actually rest and re¬≠cuperate. I tried to find an excuse every so often to go there and lounge for a day or two.