A Gushing Prose-Poem For Vientiane, Capital Of Laos



The narrow criss-crossing streets lined with restaurants, travel agencies and idle tuk-tuks occupied by solicitous drivers popping their eyebrows at you as you accomplish the opposite curb shaded by leafy giants that rise around the theological oasis of the avenue’s wat where the sun falls on dirty red and copper at noon, Lithuanian lovelies by the currency exchange and British backpackers that yap and tumble in from Cambodia and some Vietnam misadventure, the buses that pass by pump unbelievable exhaust as loquacious French drink wine in their wake and soon the strolling monks’ light of day gives way to the prowling ladyboy’s midnight when the local sidewalk soup-spot’s tables are full, the pageant of human energy takes place in the operahouse of the moment’s mood and the main feature is this mercurial intelligence cast in the clay of skin color, a glassy continuum that plants the seed of deja-vu in every face’s expression so that you walk about in a fool’s festival of remembrance and amnesia which thwarts the act of walking straight because the heart goes out to what the memory can’t reach–a human is a sculpture of sand slipping into another and you can’t help but fall in love with the peering half-moons that shine green on her face passing through you–cheese naan, Belgian beer, green chicken curry at the Indian diner square in the glare of riverside where beggars reach out bony fingers from their knees like it’s time for you to finally settle an old debt as cigarettes cloud the air and violet woven fabrics are flashed in your path by old wrinkled women who sometimes appear out of nowhere–the conversation is incessant and is conjured amid a fragrance of enthusiasm or amazement, we all have a taste for strange amusements and the prospect of the next waterfall–through the magic of accents English is twisted and teased like playdough into all manners of naked animated forms like Picasso’s prostitutes and lined up next to one another in a dancing linguistic menagerie, oral prisms conducting a great crossfire in the streets and bringing to light our race’s dreams and histories with a glow that even licks at the peripheral shadows of the subconscious–at the suggestion of sleep our instruments are put on the shelf for the night and if kept awake they’re played differently than at daytime, in the morning hipsters, coffee and wi-fi serenade the dream afterglow and you commiserate with pretty girls at the embassy who seem to glance at you endlessly while waiting in line for diplomatic approval, you try to keep it old school by balancing the smug of wit against a compassionate nonchalance being the wily and fatuous American romantic that you are and naturally wanting to see and know the quality of ripples that you made in her soul, some say the eyes are an indication but what they reflect can’t be authenticated only bitterly admitted as a sexy satire of an inner aurora, onward, onward this emotional caravanserai over the dunes of speech and company or repose and long calm walks in the half-lit park at dusk where you watch a sneering ring of nagas in a fountain change imperceptibly from blue to green to yellow to red and perhaps purple every couple of seconds flaring the water in an enigmatic waltz of melodrama as behind you the capitol stands dizzied by her own costume and confused by the scale of fortune tilting either this way or that for this persona or that persona, feeling the wounds from where the axe of war fell emitting weird smells and yet still mediating foreign emails, Vientiane remains intimate with her inhabitants and visitors, receiving intravenous nutrition from tourism and letting her questionable breath waft into your mouth as the sunny motorcycles swoon–this is Vientiane where the heat reddens your cheeks and the vibe curves your lips into a smile you won’t forget–veracious Vientiane, after this you’ll never feel quite like you again–

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