Alien in Phuket

This week I have the very good fortune to attend my second annual Phuket Writers’ Paradise Retreat, led by my friend and author, Anne O’Connell. As soon as I heard the topic for today’s class I was excited – to go to a nearby junk store and be inspired, then to write.

And so, we went to a filthy, cramped and crammed ramshackle store and were inspired. Here’s what I wrote:

dusty china hangers plasticbowls noodlespoons


Dusty pastel, flecked with grime,
you yearn for order,
love, but mostly
Just for touch.
Inert, unable, impotent,
you lie or stack or perch askew,
homed with those with whom you share no common bond,
folk who may look and speak and move like you
but who are not like you at all.

You see, for you, like me, at first reside alone –
invisible alien
outside the third culture you have come to know.
A time when sad eclectic clumps of impotence
can grow and fester,
for you were led here by a man
who raised you from your previous box
and brought you to a place
where he was drawn and driven, led
quite simply by a vacant space.
For him, a different row, a higher shelf.
But shelves are what he does and knows.
And so your garb,
your once-bright hue,
is dulled by time.
Your colour, your beauty,
your potential skulks unseen
in a dark and lonely hinterland
where you can neither see nor breathe.
But yet, you shun invisibility
and the catatonic cast
that stalks and haunts you,
pokes you awake from each hardwon half-sleep,
for you’re a pot for chopsticks
that simply has no role in Aberdeen.
You fit the East.
But then, just as shoulders start to slump
and that optimistic cloak of plastic drops its sheen
you find her, the soulmate that you craved.
She’s not a wok stand, noodle scoop or spoon,
but a bright pink dogbowl forced to live
a high-rise life without a whiff of light or grass
and together you begin to laugh,
look out instead of in and then
at last to share your stories.



2 thoughts on “Alien in Phuket

  1. Thanks so much Jo 🙂 What a wonderful piece of poetry. It’s a pleasure to have you join me again this year and that you came along with us on this field trip. I’m looking forward to doing your Naked Writer Workshop on Thursday!


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