I Don’t Keep Normal Hours and Two Other Poems

by Eoin Brophy

I Don’t Keep Normal Hours

by 3.47 the mismatch of umbrellas
which cling uncertainly to the market walls,
like the eggs of defiant insects,
hum with the noise
of new beginnings.
sellers prepare to sell,
their wares begin to sprawl
and engulf the semi-pavements –
offerings at the great alter
of motorbike exhaust fumes.

sound rises with the heat, as
night begins to drain away;
looks back once before it leaves, the
most perfect it’s ever been
like parting lovers always are.
i fall upon it’s heels
from my Ton Dan apartment window
like a virgin on balcony.

as the river slowly is
and the wire-mesh cockerels call;
with the sanctity of the chess board,
the solace of cheap rum,
the word.
I don’t keep normal hours.


The Stranger

to love another’s beauty
as you watch the strange parade.
an archaic voice of reason
inorganic aspirations –
fat white hands
on the horizon.

the absent urination
of motorbike-taxi drivers,
dead telephone cables
woven with the living,
like thick unhealthy veins,
all rejoice in their resistance.

a clumsy western footfall
all fear, mistrust and bum-bags
and “should we really pay that?”
and “don’t get out your camera”
leave other silent others
to cringe and count their knuckles.

go seek the cooler absence,
if that’s what gets you going,
with pristine glass for windows
for you to do your seeing;
rich pilgrims can find comfort
in Saigon’s new shopping malls.

the dust still drives the engine
that keeps the children playing,
of earth and wood and rubber,
they dance within its open
bosom born from metal
and flowers by the water.

to love another’s beauty
as you watch the strange parade.
mouths of constant rivers,
placid in their kindness,
scallop shells and peanuts
between the rusting beer cans.

It’s all painted in beauty,
in absolute unclearness,
far beyond the coffee stand.


EFL Teachers in Vietnam

bunch of weary fuck ups off to educate the world!
drinking hard on week-day nights
and trading cash for words.
looking down on culture
like a concorde
from above
and always reading poverty
as purity, or love.

trading cash for ecstasy
and trading cash for girls,
grinning like a pharaoh
in an ever-changing world.
but there’s a creeping nausea
as morning’s heat draws in.
that’s always slightly wary of
those things that break the skin.

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