Bui Vien

Sunlight cascades down from pleasant skies
Settling on the heads and shoulders of those walking round;
A street lined with bars, restaurants and shops,
Street vendors busy selling their wares at every door.

Air alive with enthusiasm, filled with sounds of motion,
Of taxis and motorbikes that dodge tourists’ feet;
Of hesitant foreigners looking for a gap in the traffic
Unaware the rule is to walk and never look back.

Banners fly high advertising food and drink,
Places to stay and day trips out, in eye-popping fashion;
By day hostels sell alcohol, their customers spilling out
Onto the streets, seated on uncomfortable plastic chairs.

By night hotels bathe the sky in bright, glitzy lights;
The sight a wonder to behold, the smells even more
Inviting: here western grub, there eastern food,
Scents mingling together in a delightful mixture.

Aromas waft under your nose, and your stomach rumbles
At the thought of sampling something never before
To grace your tongue. An invitation to explore, discover
In easy comfort: Bui Vien will cater to every tourist’s need.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

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District 1

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Pack, unpack, repack, unpack:
I moved around from house to house
From place to place, until at last
I settled on a narrow street
With neighbours three small steps
From the door, and thin windows
That allowed every single noise
From outside, no matter what,
To sneak into my room at night.

Others moved around still more
Not only between houses and streets,
But job to job, finding some solace
Unbeknownst to me, in being
The new guy all the time. It was
Sad to see some of these drift away.
They faded, emerging in an unknown
Location; their footprints left
Only memories in their wake.

Those of us who stayed were tied
To the one place that reflected
Us in mirrors designed to look
Like some basic form of home.
Where cinemas and bowling alleys
Welcomed expats and their cash;
Every leisure activity catered for.
In that place you could buy anything
From base desires to luxuries.

Where dirty, seedy acts were mentioned
Without a hint of embarrassment or shame
At being desperate enough to pay;
The district sprawled out like
A spread of delicacies upon a platter:
Ever tempting, what to sample first
A decision never easy to make.
We dipped into one and then the next
Moving house, but not moving home.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

A Tribute to Strangers

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I have seen people living
In situations so bad
It taught me how lucky I am
To have been born here

There are some I remember
More than others,
Though they will never learn
Of their impact on me

I recall their smiles and joy;
A beautiful memory
At one time nothing special,
Something very sacred now.

The ones who slept on the street
And made so little
Are behind my attempts
To become a better me

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Teacher! Teacher!

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Teacher! Teacher!
Tiny hands reach up
In the hopes of a high-five
From this mysterious teacher
Born in a country
Far away,
Only seen in movies
And on maps of the world

Teacher! Teacher!
Excited students
Gather around to question
This stranger on who they are, where
They came from, and if
They’ve got
A boyfriend or girlfriend –
They always ask that one!

Teacher! Teacher!
Eager faces stare
As Teacher enters the room.
School is strict, with silent lessons,
But this one will be
Great fun! With
Funny games to drill home
The language that the students know

Teacher! Teacher!
Your confidence shines
Through you into your lessons now:
Able to act on any need,
To turn the boring
Into play.
When subjects entertain,
The students ace your class!

Teacher! Teacher!
Will you stay with us?
These lively, energetic
Lessons have become our favourites!
Now Teacher, you are
Satisfied
By every class you teach –
So maybe you deserve a break!

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Tattooed Hearts

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Restraint
Did not register
In his mind.
He had no
Mental chains
To tie him down,
To pull him away
From the absurd,
The unexpected
Or the embarrassing.

Limitations
Did not matter
To him.
He wore his
Personality
Upon his skin.
It was inspiring
To see him surrender
To whatever
He wanted to do.

Control
Did not apply:
He was unbound.
He did not
Think twice
(Or even once,
Sometimes);
Only acted
Without explanation,
Ignoring judgement.

Determination
In his soul
To be happy
And nothing more
Than that.
He was freer
In spirit
Than anyone
Who places rules
Before their needs.

Amusement
On his face
Night and day,
But never more so
Than when
He told the stories
Written on
His skin,
Tattooed across
His heart.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

One Bucket Woman

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What’s a vodka and lemon bucket?
What?
Okay, I’ll have one. Is it good?
It’s good?
Then I’ll have one.

Oh
My
Gosh.
It’s like a miniature fish bowl.
I didn’t expect it to be that big.
I need two hands to hold this bucket.
Oh – oh my!
Did they put any lemon in this?
Are they always this strong?

I think I’ll drink this slowly.
Don’t want to get hammered
On my first night out.
I don’t even know how to get home.

Actually, it doesn’t taste that strong now.
I might have another
After I’ve finished this one.
You were right.
It is good.
And no –
I don’t feel drunk!

What?
Nobody appreciates my dance moves?
Whoops –

Wow, the floor got really close
Really fast.

Do you know –
No, no, listen to me –
Did you know –
Oh, man –
I just love you guys –
Did you guys know that?

What?
You’re leaving?
Oh, come on! The night’s still young!
No, no –
It’s fine,
I can find my way home.
I can –
Don’t you know that?

Oh, man.
Where am I?
Oh, man.
My head’s really throbbing.
Oh, man!
I’m not touching
One of those buckets again.

What?
You’re drinking
Vodka and lemon buckets again?
Oh, go on then,
I’ll just have one …

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

The Bus Driver

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A smile is a universal message.
He knew almost no English –
“Beer” the exception to the rule –
But his expressions told his story

In the morning, seated outside work
With a can in one hand, smoking as though
Intent to defeat some world record,
He greeted us all in the same way

“Beer!” his cry, pitched with a grin
As merry as could be; who knew
Despite the language barriers,
He could be such great company?

Never did I see him without that wily
Look. He wore his grin dusk ’til dawn –
Though those of us who preferred
Sober bus drivers remained cautious.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

… And a Dance

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Two dragons,
Each composed of two grown men;
Another man dressed as
A large, golden Buddha.
They progress around the room, pausing
At each table
To spread smiles
And bring cheer
To their audience.

On the stage, they dance
And twist, flashing colours
Before our eyes,
Filling our vision with rainbows
Of red and gold.
However long they spark amusement,
Time flies by at double speed.

We see ourselves as strangers in our homes,
Outsiders looking upon
Our own cultures, wondering
Just as we are marvelling,
Viewing Christmas lights
And Easter eggs
And media obsession with royals
With alien meaning and intention,
All understanding lost. For this
Is who we are,
Watching the dragons dance,
Observing without knowing
Blind although we see.

It makes the moment
No less beautiful,
The evening no less enthralling;
We have no bias, existing
Purely to enjoy
And nothing more.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

A Moment of Clarity

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Ah – what was it that worried me again?

My nagging questions have subsided
Over an afternoon teaching eager students, who
Met every single target with delightful glee;
Encouraged to go on, I am fulfilled,
New eyes looking at each classroom, thinking
That teaching has rich rewards for those who try.

Oh, it’s all a learning process, of course,
For every lesson has its challenges to overcome.

Clear as day, I see this job not as my enemy:
Let problems come and I will strike them down
Aware that passion comes from great achievement, I
Reach odds once thought hopeless to beat;
It’s time to embrace this chance to teach
The energetic children who have chosen me.
Yes, this does seem like the life for me.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

A Moment of Doubt

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Am I missing something here?

My training was quite brief, it’s true
Over in two weeks; it’s little surprise that
My progress is a cause for concern.
Everything should have fallen into place by
Now – am I simply not cut out for this?
Teaching demands a more powerful ambition.

Oh, it’s all a learning process, of course
For how much longer, though? How much more can I take?

Do the others have these insecure moments
Of worry, thinking their skills are somehow lacking?
Underneath their confident exteriors, do they
Believe there are still countless improvements to be made?
The truth is, this might not be the place for me.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html