“…..And remember, just don’t smile
Change your shirt, ’cause tonight we got style…”
What pathos, the epitome of delusion. ‘Meeting Across The River,’ by Bruce Springsteen is the Great American novel, and a must as accompaniment to Kerouac’s haiku below. When you listen , click here to read the lyrics, simply…wonderful.
So the task today set by Chevrefeuille at Carpe Diem is to use the haiku below by Kerouac to spur one to write one in similar tone, mood and spirit.
Neons, Chinese restaurants
coming on -
Girls come by shades
This is a haiku from a man who has been there. I can imagine the slow strobe effect of the neon lights painting the different women with different colours as they drift into the bar from the street. It brings to mind one of my favourite places when I lived in Bahrain, the Seashell Hotel, owned by the Bahraini prime minister, and in fact a brothel. The women who worked there were from Thailand, the bar staff from the Philippines and the waitresses from Ethiopia. I worked in Saudi Arabia at the time but came across the causeway most nights, driving on a road I have learnt is statistically the most dangerous in the world. We saw it all, I mean all on that road. I used to dress as an Uzbek in those days, with a ornate skull cap, as the terrorists were out and about in Saudi Arabia, dressing up as police and setting up roadblocks to find westerners. But I trusted the Saudis, implicitly, and knew if they ever heard of any danger they would discreetly tell me.
My Texan colleague next to me when I drove used to dress as a Saudi, until our Saudi friends told us there was no way he could be mistaken for a Saudi, even from a distance sitting in a car. For a Texan he was quite deadpan, and after a dangerous morning drive in the mist, which needless to say caused its fair share of accidents, we were driving back at high speed as one did. The highway arched around a long corner.
“Watch the dead guy,” he said evenly, as we came around the bend in the four lane highway.
“Yeah,” I said.
An accident had just happened, and someone had been ejected from one of the cars. We raced by, on to the border, not blinking an eyelid, the Texan drifting back to sleep. Those were the days.
At the Seashell I would smile with the charming hard-working, underpaid Ethiopian waitresses and wait for the woman I shared a flat with, Pray Wa, to finish working, then would cook her breakfast before falling asleep.
“How many more breakfasts ’till I get a free night?” I would laugh from the kitchen.
“Many, many more,” she would shout back in an ongoing joke that would shock friends and relatives.
neon lights change colour
her face goes red, blue, then yellow
-inside she stays the same