1. YOU KNOW EVERY FACE
Unfinished incense and dazzling camphor
Drumming, chanting, carts and bells
As a child you ran on these back roads leading to the festival
Undangered, safe, wild with the smell of cousins and sweets
Where now as an adult you know every face
Even the faces and their children's faces that come from Canada
The Canadians dress in holy garb
Their children like young princesses and princes
Their cars are parked somewhere else
Visitors from the Western Province snake through in their white SUVs with licenses marked "WP"
The WP people are not those people they're these people.
I suspect they are
As far off as the Canadians
in a different way but still
2. I REQUEST RELEASE
Oh you tell me the funniest story by which I know it's time to request release, to go back to my humble guesthouse, quiet on the Kandy Road, lit by fluorescent bulbs.
The story makes me squirm. Again! I'm a human shield at a religious place in this crazy island with its crazy crazier craziest religions.
You point at a group of late middle aged men, older than you, younger than me. They stand in a gaggle conferring like people do but shouldn't do during religious ceremonies.
I wrote about those guys you tell me proudly.
They don't do their jobs and the weren't doing their jobs then you tell me righteously.
They went to my mother when they read my work you tell me boastfully.
They wanted to harm me when I published my accusations you report with aplomb.
So I never come here anymore unless I'm with someone you brag because you have a small old white man sitting here on this concrete berm at the bend in the road just across from the temple with you for protection.