Saturday, September 16, 2006

Tidbits and Snippets

Four in Ten
Four countries in the past ten days.Maybe that's why I've become so grumpy. Adjusting to four different kinds of food, money, roads, languages, time zones and activity levels.

Pakistani Chicken 1
I wondered what those empty cages were for. they looked like bird cages.
and so they were. empty between deliveries. filled by trucks from rawlipindi. emptied one by one as customers chose a dinner bird.
plucked or feathered?
at least you know the meat is fresh.

Pakistani Chicken 2
some people take their half out of the middle,
and so it goes with Pakistani drivers.
narrow roads,
sometimes winding
and hanging above bottomless gorges.
nevertheless, the driver holds his ground in the center of the road,
often horn blowing a warning to potential oncomers behind blind corners,
but rarely moving aside for the eventuality of meeting.
when the opponent appears it's a game of nerves:
who moves left wheels off to the gravel side
and who keeps all four tires centered on the pavement?

Pakistani Chicken 3
it's a chitrali specialty, chicken karai.
chopped, marinated in masala, bone-in chunks of chicken
are added to a small, hot wok, rich
with sizzling garlic, fresh tomato and unnameable curry blends.
served with fresh, hot chapati.
when it's good,
there's nothing tastier.

Pakistani Chicken 4
call to prayer to the followers
followed by the call to layers by the cock.
the imam, the rooster
sing the pre-dawn serenade.
no oversleeping for this flock.

Pictures unwritten
If Kyrgyzstan is nomads, horses, sheep and green; Tajikstan rocky, barren, hospitality; then Pakistan is vertical canals, terraced landscape, 8000 meter peaks.

These are pictures I didn't take:
Having a Smoke with Friends
four men in bright clean shalwar kamiz,
sitting in the full, late afternoon sun,
as I flew past, downhill, to the highway center of AliAbad.

Petro Hydrology
water running running uphill
in canals
impossibly high
on the mountainside, collecting
glacial runoff, transporting it to life.
irrigation ways. stone works:
skinny steps up alongside the cascade down.

full ripe pumpkins suspended
by sturdy vines over
the edge of the terrace wall.

piled high, top-heavy,
trucks wobble under the arms and legs of a dozen men and boys,
clinging to the frame, perched on the sacks,
riding kamikaze on the front bumper.
daring transport on one-lanetracks,
coated with dust
glowing in the afternoon sun

a lone cow
tried to a shady tree
in the middle of an empty terrace.


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