bangkok air

It had to be the emanon bar,

I can’t tell you how unhinged he was to see me.

We’d had a few of their specials and we were getting loose.

I’d probably be teetotal if it wasn’t for this bar.

You get drunk of course, but, it goes without saying

(you’re obviously a cultured man) that context is everything,

always, and juice is only juice.

He ordered a trio of witch killers, bottled in Japan,

it’s thirty five percent; strontium and alcohol.

Bottle’s so cold you can’t put it down but

after a few pulls you aren’t afraid of frost bite

or polar bears or even the Koran.

A couple of rats were foraging

confidently under a food stall opposite,

the cat, as usual, was in hiding.

The mamasan, as only she can

displayed her astounding assets to man

leaned across the bar and lit a smoke.

There’s poison in the city air,

wherever you’re residing.

It’s the frisson before storytime.

He looked his age, whatever it was,

but obviously he could tell a joke.

A surprising number of city folk

are masked for pollution apocalypse .

I haven’t fully sussed it yet, but

it’s like a horror movie set, and

maybe we don’t know we’ve had our chips.

He allowed himself a long consoling toke.

Decomposition, baby, your place, or mine?

I hadn’t planned on retirement

in a zombie social paradigm.

He looked his age, whatever it was,

but obviously he could tell a joke.

Took up where he’d begun

when an arch and sexy female voice says

are you sitting comfortably children?

Here’s the latest shit from the oracle,

as she leaned across the bar and lit one;

do bars get better than this he asked

and I took that as frankly rhetorical.

She will eat you alive

but I will risk it he said,

then I’ll describe it later.

I’m old, he laughed, and bent

by all the vortices of vice,

but I retain a certain skill

in my role as the narrator.

It’s been poisonous for years out there

and will get worse tomorrow.

My advice to those outside this bar

is don’t inhale, or swallow.


Different Drummers, a book of non-fiction interviews, literary reviews and stories, which includes over 50 John Gartland poems is available at Amazon in paperback and all the major and minor online retailers as an eBook.

There are still a very limited number of copies available of the Advance Uncopyedited Edition of Different Drummers at Queen Bee Tavern located on Sukhumvit 26 – directly across from the Hilton DoubleTree Inn.

John Branton at Queen Bee Tavern with a cuppa tea and Different Drummers

Look for promotional details on my Facebook wall soon.

For more poems by John Gartland go to or his Facebook page at Lizardville Productions