NaPoWriMo 2018 – #7 Re: Joyce

joyce

Re: Joyce

In the shade

of the Akubra

there is no rejoicing

 

In the shade

of the Akubra

a dead beet

 

Memo

Re: Joyce re:Joyce

a child is born

 

The Deputy P.M

is keeping his miss-demeanours

under his hat

 

The Deputy P.M.’s hat

is hanging

by a thread

 

—-

About NaPoWriMo

(Some / most of these could be rightly described as “chopped up text”. But that’s how first drafts often look.)

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NaPoWriMo 2018 – #6 Three Degrees (part 3)

silkspa

Three Degrees (part 3)

A Vinacabs taxi speeds through

the intersection horn blaring,

the press of wind as it passes.

 

She continues to An Thuong 4

parks in the alley next to the Silk Spa

takes off her helmet, still shaking.

 

Inside, she changes into her uniform

brown blouse, loose fitting

knee length trousers

 

Checks the list of clients

booked in for her shift,

sees his name against her 2 p.m. slot

 

“Your boyfriend is coming again.

Aroma massage, 90 minutes”

says the receptionist.

 

(to be continued)

 

—-

About NaPoWriMo

(Some / most of these could be rightly described as “chopped up text”. But that’s how first drafts often look.)

NaPoWriMo 2018 – #5 Three Degrees (part 2)

buildforblog

Three Degrees (part 2)

 

She loses her train of thought,

closes her laptop, pays and walks out,

past a construction site where

 

labourers are drenched in sweat

demolishing a building

with sledgehammers

 

They look down from the second floor

at the white woman walking by,

wondering why she looks agitated.

 

They take their lunch break

sitting on small plastic stools

at the corner food stall.

 

A Vinacabs taxi speeds past

horn blaring

narrowly missing a woman motorcyclist.

 

(to be continued)

 

—-

About NaPoWriMo

(Some / most of these could be rightly described as “chopped up text”. But that’s how first drafts often look.)

NaPoWriMo 2018 – #4 Three Degrees (part 1)

gozar-coffee-636475548903140901

Three Degrees (part 1)

She’s sitting in the courtyard of Gozar Coffee

drafting a short story on her laptop

about an older guy and a spa girl.

 

A Vinacabs taxi driver manspreads in the corner

taking a break from driving

chain-smoking Marlboros.

 

He’s staring brazenly at her,

blowing smoke in her direction,

his thoughts mirrored in the set of his face.

 

She’s aware of it, it still gets to her,

after months of living in Vietnam,

the cat-calls, the comments, the staring.

 

She loses her train of thought,

closes her laptop, pays and walks out,

his eyes following her out the door.

 

(to be continued)

 

—-

About NaPoWriMo

(Some / most of these could be rightly described as “chopped up text”. But that’s how first drafts often look.)

In Vietnam : the Dumpling Man – “Bánh Bao Đây”

In Vietnamese cities, there is always something happening. The streets hum all day and into the night. People are on the street cooking and selling food, eating food, drinking coffee, drinking beer, playing cards and Xiangqi (a draughts-like board game), riding motorbikes and bicycles, selling lottery tickets; on the move or just hanging out. There’s nearly always a background buzz, a babble of voices, a drone of engines, a beeping of motorbike horns, a clatter of construction activity, cocks crowing, dogs barking, geese honking, people shouting, call and response.

One  of the first things I noticed was the regular amplified announcements from blokes on motorbikes. At first I thought these were party political slogans on behalf of the communist party, and I think some of them might be e.g. reminders that the capitalist imperialists were defeated, or that a party meeting is coming up.

But the more common announcements, night and day, are those from the motorbike mounted dumpling (bánh bao) and soup vendors. They drive around the city streets with great metal pots strapped to either side of the backs of their bikes. A wood fire underneath the pot keeps the dumplings and soup hot. I dread to think of the results of being involved in a collision with one, but that is only one of the hazards of driving a motorbike in this country.

Until about 10 years ago, they would cycle or motorcycle around the city streets, shouting out their pleas for people to buy their hot food: “Bánh Bao Đây” (Dumplings here). Being heard above the constant din of Vietnamese city streets would have put a great strain on the vocal chords. So someone had the idea of rigging up a loudspeaker and a looped, pre-recorded message powered by the motorbike battery. Now the amplified, nasal recorded call can be heard several streets away, until the early hours of the morning. They all sound like the same announcement to me, and I wonder if they all use the same recording, and if the originator gets royalties!

I used to curse these characters, especially if they woke me up just as I’d fallen asleep. But after a bit of investigation, I came across this wonderful mini-documentary by Angus Ashton. Angus is an Australian photographer who has obviously spent quite a bit of time in Vietnam. His short film tells the story of one such dumpling seller, in Hue, just north of Đà Nẵng. It reminded me of what a hard life many Vietnamese people have, and how privileged I am to live the easy life I do. Like many Vietnamese people, the dumpling sellers work bloody hard just to survive, and to give his children a better life.

I haven’t sampled the dumplings yet, my vegetarianism being the excuse for avoiding them. But when I go to Hue, I will search him out.

—–

Copyright Mike Hopkins 2017
except documentary: © Angus Ashton 2013 http://www.angusashtonfilm.com