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Sok  subai Sous Day

Jetlagged in grey rainy GB

is me damp in the soul limp in the pocket mooching the morning in mourning

wishing I was still staring earlymorning down from my breezy top floor Air B ‘n’ B nest onto the street below: a birdseye of people starting the hottening day

noises and dusty early smells the shouts and barks the taps and bangs purring mopeds crammed with kids uniformed to school The builders’ yard metal gates scraping open spilling steel-cabled young men

who flop dandy, sometimes henna-red, hair into headscarves

and pack into a battered truck, to sputter off to work way harder than we can know or care to experience

They scurry barefoot on rickety bamboo scaffold, blue paper face mask for healthandsafety they leave to return to wash under a tap then emerge shiny and laughy to airdry not Superdry

They to sit on the flatbed truck on old plastic chairs, plate in one hand spoon in other, eyes fixed on the squeaky TV, Khmer flavours in mouth laughter on lips - the show is good

After a squatted phone call to mother or lover they will sleep hammockhigh around ten pm under the blue tin roof till the city cocks crow and the dustydogs bark-in the light again

A ragged can and plastic collector squeaks his shambling presence through an adapted fairy liquid bottle. . . it mimics the cheery, cheeky invitation of the gecko. . . (A gecko hangs from my ceiling most nights wide-eyed looking down on me, from time to time it tuttuts a few times… sometimes it finds a spindly meal. . . patience) His, the slow recycler without a cycle, slow progress is ignored people are too busy quietly making starting-the-day noises themselves - or have no trash to give because it is already in use - recycled, still alive and working not yet ready for the big recycle.

From my vertical view I can see the ghetto gecko has not much in his cart and wonder how much a cart of our discarded cartons and plastic water bottles or the several empty Angkor beer cans on my balcony will fetch for him and should I chuck them down? Would that be insulting? To chuck beer cans at someone who cleans up after the dustmen have been? I’m three floors up anyway I’m up here thinking ‘why don't I have to drink from a small plastic bag with a straw?’ It is a real question but hard to answer

Carbon arc sparks dislodge my thought while adding more heat to the day A welder squats skilled barefoot doing fine, fine metalwork to gates to keep people out but amaze the eye Foreign words float up on the warming wind while fond coconut fronds wave at up at me

The sun promises a hotter embrace

A ponytailed squadron of smoothglide perfectpostured hips-first young women up early, elegances it’s way down my street and something swirls in the aesthetics bank

Are they returning from ‘night work’ maintaining slow, meaningful and perfected dignity? They process Sometimes the street falls still and silent and full of whatever it is that makes us not want to forget something

But  memory blurs and fades to feelings and now I am in England where women stomp men barge cars rush and dogs snarl and cats have perfect tails and rain is not vertical and charm hides and respect is two faced and people don t say hello...

By Andy Johnson


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