there isn’t enough Beerlao in all the universe to get us drunk tonight

full day of rain, now
the blacksilk night is clearing,
and I’m one beer deep
alone, before I can unlock the gate
the neighbors call me over
gin bia falang!
and I must oblige,
must drink beer
for all foreigners
who can’t speak
and for this neighborhood
which communally rises
with the sharp throat
of Noy’s rooster before dawn
to drink Oung’s coffee
and twiggy tea.
The moustachioed security guard,
pensive and too-handsome
hooks a Nokia to his motorbike’s
stereo and blasts Thai covers
of American classic rock,
offers us all Vietnamese cigarettes –
so we smoke and toast
ice-drowned Beerlao’s
as fresh-puddled mosquitoes
get blood drunk
from the thin skin of our ankles.
For every case downed,
another is brought
from the dusty storage
of a nearby shop.
There’s no end to the beer
swelling our faces,
and The Question circulates—
mao laeo boh?
are you drunk already?
are you drunk? No, we all say,
maybe a little drunk,
but not too drunk we can’t have
one more glass.


Brendan Walsh has lived and taught in South Korea, Laos, and South Florida. His work appears in Glass PoetryWisconsin ReviewMudfishLines + Stars, and other journals. He is the author of Make Anything Whole (Five Oaks) andGo (Aldrich). His chapbook, Buddha vs. Bonobo, is forthcoming from Sutra Press. He’s online at


Previous Page

Next Page