David Prater's work has been published in various Australian journals. He edits Cordite.

mr tui

mr tui you'd have to win the 'safest driver
in thailand' award you were a man of few
words but smooth driving actions eg your
easy familiarity with the nine hundred &
forty two sharp corners between chiang mai
& pai mr tui you knew when to sound your
horn around a hairpin bend when to change
down to second when to accelerate & swerved
superbly to avoid collapsed road shoulders but
mr tui the one criticism i would have is that
you flicked the windscreen wipers on & off
unnecessarily - it really was raining quite
heavily mr tui & you could have saved yourself
the trouble by leaving them on for the entire
trip - record time nevertheless: 2hrs 56 mins
start to finish 'khob khun khrap'

takraw monkey

my name is mud as in good i help you with
thai translation i am monkey & i am crazy
good at takraw & at takraw kicks - do you
see me where i practice? yes? at the beach
with a ball of flotsam-styrofoam & a piece
of string tied to a tree so i can kick & jump
like a crazy monkey there is no end to my
energy for the game & no one can tell what
i am thinking at any given moment - monkey!
ha! your name? david? david beckham? ha!
football! - takraw! - monkey! - you think i'm
crazy? i am mud as in good - good at takraw
see you next year you want sprite? 1000 baht!
yes! you want room? 1 million baht! yes! time
to practice again! & off he goes into the innocent
night - relax bay thailand keeping the peace

the chao le

housed in two human zoos constructed
for their survival's sake on the east &
west coasts of koh lantah it's good to know
that the chao le are still allowed to play
football on the beach at low tide its wave
sounds mimic the crowd-roars of wembley
coming down the supermarine cable all
the young men and boys clip their finger &
toenails in preparation for the referee's
inspection tomorrow they will collect these
clippings & together with haircut-snippings
launch their offering upon the andaman sea
in a special wooden boat after which they
gaze longingly half-hoping the tide will bring
it back knowing also that some small part
of themselves has escaped both the zoos
& the fickle sea-spirits' protection


baht - thai unit of currency
chao le - sea gyspies
kip - lao unit of currency
khob khun khrap - 'thank you very much, sir'
takraw - thailand's national game, a cross between soccer & volleyball
thanon - street