Martin Bradley

Metta Metta Metta

Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu

Phenomenal city, Angkor, Cambodia, clutches grateful stationary traveller to gracious bosom. Held tightly, succoured, kept safe from all harm, pandemonium, in nowness past/future constituting irrelevancies.

Majestic ancient city, Angkor, its Wats preside, city of peace, saffron monks, carved stone, apsara angels, sunrises, tangled roots man and nature.

Before day rush dawn whispers meditavely.

Bird murmuring orange blue morning, bamboo stem silhouettes sway momentarily. Cloud wisps don pink cloaks against eggshell blue. Wat Damnak dawn chants spreading Metta, Karma, Dharma recollections.

Gentle gamelan vibrates through freshly diurnal blue skies. Occasional white clouds wander tropics overseeing day’s arrangements. Sun incandescently smiles.

Now stationary traveller, behatted, promenades past sweet jasmine, frangipani, grilled bananas, street coffee perfuming air, smiles, slight bow greets alleyway family opposite Hospital for Children, offspring in hammock, mother prepares boiled rice, samlor soup, prahoc, moves aside, traveller passes. Solitary save for whispering birds, secret, coy, Khmer children smile. Stationary traveller ventures through once laughter-ridden alleyways spread between bustling Samdech Tep Vong Street, Wat Preah Prohm Rath, The Passage, Covid global sadness silent closed or closing, torn A4 rent, sale, contact……vacant for canine dreams. 

Alleys upon alleys once people bright, vendors, toe nibbling fish tanks, lanes become ghost alleys, remembrances of Bayon, Angkor Wat,Tonle Sap Lake visiting hipsters, students, new agers, families, lovers playing at raiding of tombs, shapely in shorts, leather walking boots apsara posing, painting red piano, yellow submarine, purple mango, blue pumpkin. Smile not reaching eyes. Selfie taking ego fanning charity acolytes pumped with goodness not Covid returning.

Out, Street 9, chilli salted cockle vendors, hot grilled chive cakes sellers, Psa Chas bound, tuk tuk, motor cyclist, cyclist avoiding, secretive market bursting forth fragrant essences, kaffir lime, lemon grass, fish wort, coriander. Bright fish eyes watch dimmed candle lit narrow aisles, porcine snouts, bovine tails, feet, livers, hearts of chickens, purple octopus. Khmer purveyors, straw heat wearing sun wrinkled faces project welcoming smiles, marble eyes bright. Kuy teav noodles, pork broth, beef slices, deep-fried garlic,herbs, breakfast soup lost in translation. 

Slim Khmer vegetable selling angel ever smiles with eyes, profers king oyster mushroom, enoki, galangal, turmeric, customer pulls garlic, ginger, carrots into metal pan, extracts fresh flat rice noodle into dish, pays, leaves for plastic bag of one kilo rice.

Steung Siem Reap, leaf strewn, azure sky reflecting bridges watching anglers. Scoopy processions carrying brief reflections of damsels, long black hair, faces soft blue paper masked, travelling over bridges, beyond to families, college, work, secrets and lovers.

Sun kissed bright mornings merge into golden orb drenched drying days, bringing breeze, bamboo taps on kitchen mosquito screen, inescapable warmth. In white painted rooms, browning ceiling fans slice air caressing hirsute arms, scent of Jasmine joss. Sun browned white fingers type on hard black plastic keyboards, pause, reach for frosty glass ginger water. Fingers drip welcome condensation cool. 

Khmer pasts, Khmer futures begat times of cleansing, thunderously saturating equatorial rain. Night streets glisten iridescently proudly revealing momentary clarity, splendour. Tu tuk drivers press through rain onslaught. Tourists too few to deny.

Cooler Krousar (family) Café evening encountering International School English teacher nest, stunning ebony type-dancer, brown eyes, hair recalling Henrix. Siem Reap haven for strong North American females, Irish Catholics, Metta bums replacing Majid for Wat. Night walk return, intermediate neon reveals pot holes, Street 27 sleeping dogs left to lay, grilled fish scents, barbecue spiced meat, red ants. This night Khmer star abundant skies grace stationary traveller with cosmic splendour.

Metta Metta Metta

Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu