Deborah Guzzi writes full time. When not writing she’s reading. She travels for inspiration. Her new book The Hurricane is available now through Prolific Press. Her poetry appears in: Existere – Journal of Arts and Literature in Canada, Tincture in Australia, Cha: Asian Literary Review, Hong Kong, China, Eunoia in Singapore, Vine Leaves Literary Journal in Greece, and Ribbons: Tanka Society of America’s Journal, Sounding Review, Kyso Flash, The Aurorean, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Liquid Imagination, Concis, The Tishman Review, Page & Spine and others in the USA.

A Prose Poem

By Deborah Guzzi


The balmy Sunday evening is quelled by a burst of gunfire in the street. Behind the high walls of the old Buddhist monastery, the sounds of violence ping through open, screen-less windows. Red, yellow, and blue, prayer flags hang lifeless from the peach stucco eaves to the locked gate. Sleep becomes impossible as the mosquitos undaunted by the riots persisted reaching exposed flesh.

The monks, long gone, left remnants of themselves on the incense coated plaster. Peace sought here was not found. Poverty necessitated the building’s sale. Here on a side street in walking distance to the American embassy, a school for westerners, studying Thai Massage, roots. English binds us together, American, French, Spanish, South African students unable to attain admittance to the over booked schools in Chiang Mai, Thailand, pilgrim to the open arms of Kathmandu. The internet captures the capitalistic dollar; we healers come undaunted by civil war.

Our dinner of boiled to death root vegetables is swallowed in silence. Great care is taken that the bacteria and microbes apparent in the open drains do not sicken the weak stomach of we westerners. The western-like facilities emptied into the pristine walled garden. Village women washed the floors, the pots, the laundry from first light to deep dark; war did not stop the drudgery. Where they slept was unknown to us. Diminutive men taught.

Monday arrived and the riots end on cue. Tourists again are permitted into the crawling, dust clouded streets. Alleys full of begging children must be passed to enter the burgeoning shops. Butchers swatted flies from hanging haunches of meat. Rare bird vendors walked the street with caged chirping birds. Westerners strolled bare armed, sari-less exposed, unrepentant, rude, and striding, as if they owned the world.