Point taken Luang Phor Sod Dhammakayaram Temple, Ratchaburi So do I collapse in my finery at the first notes of Nessun Dorma. Or stir a memory, compulsively, to sip courage from a pot of years. Or have my crowd raise its arm for justice in a street. He tells me, pain is but a book to be read. The dagger in my back does not belong there; it’s a roaming radio wave. Adjust the dial. How do I know this? Each time it shifts place slightly, unaware what it’s looking for, like the random frisking at some frontier. And yes, let it rummage, I’ve packed my own bags, am bringing nothing in. Rather, I should ask questions of my own: What is the pain looking for? What will it say when it’s found nothing? How can it explain that to the long queue forming behind? Every question has it chasing ghosts, my mind the moving target. Pain is a thief, he says as I sit awhile cross-legged before him, and posture the law. Turn like the labourers, rice-pickers crammed into an open Toyota truck, staring backwards at the landscape behind, falling softly away.
Christopher M James, a dual British/French national and retired HR professional, lives near Paris. He has published in Aesthetica, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Journal …. and in numerous anthologies (Live Canon, WoLF, Canterbury Poet of the Year, Verve, Dempsey & Windle …). In the past three years, he has been a prizewinner in numerous competitions (Sentinel, Yeovil, Stroud, Poets meet Politics, Wirral, Hanna Greally, Maria Edgeworth, Earlyworks…). He is also a musician, a translator and, some would say, a failed journalist.