Category Archives: Poem/Lyric

Ride, Ride, Ride Your Motorbike to Pai

[I was bored, so..]

Ride, ride, ride your motorbike to Pai, /
buckle on your pack and set off from Chiang Mai /
remember you must drive on the road’s left side, /
and though the traffic ain’t bad and the roads are quite wide, /
oncoming tour buses on the whole damn road will drive /
so hold onto your ass and hope you don’t die. /

Ride, ride, ride your motorbike to Pai, /
With the wind in your hair and whiskey by your side— /
should you bail on the highway leaving messy wounds to cauterize— /
set of from Chiang Mai in search of Highway 1095. /
And though you get lost because the street signs are in Thai /
the strawberry salesman and wok lady will set your path right. /

Ride, ride, ride your motorbike to Pai, /
through rolling hills of bamboo with the shaded mountains behind /
and coffee plantations and villages of hill tribes. /
Don’t blabber in the latter, or you’ll be offered a bride /
and if you refuse, well it’ll probably be fine /
just remember you’ve refused a bribe with a bride. /

Ride, ride, ride your motorbike to Pai, /
don’t go in the vans; it will upend your insides /
for the road will twist and back bend all the damn time. /
It’s better by motorbike, even if it’s the second time you’ve tried /
just keep your head on alert and your wits do not hide /
and never freak out on the bike. /

Ride, ride, ride your motorbike to Pai, /
stop at the waterfalls and geysers when you’re tired /
and float in the hot springs with pretty gals and guys. /
Get lunch at any old Thai restaurant you find /
and persuade smoothie girl to use the strawberries you had to buy /
give her a wink, and this time no bribe with a bride. /

Ride, ride, ride your motorbike to Pai, /
as the setting sun glows orange at last you’ll arrive /
follow the puke-scented shuttle vans as your guide. /
Pull in to a guest house and settle in for the night /
only to be pulled to the bars’ glowing lights /
cus after all, remember, you’re in Pai.

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A Poem, and an Afterward

A travel friend of mine sent me a wonderfully relevant piece:


When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon – do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.
Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber, and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.
Always keep Ithaca on your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what these Ithacas mean.
~Constantine Cavafy (1863 – 1933)

A heady thought about the importance of the journey, and resigning the destination to its proper place of enabling the journey.

There are some thoughts that I missed in Cavafy’s piece, and one in particular I believe to be of great value. Cavafy, where are the travel companions, the transient allies—equal parts strange and similar—that one meets along the way? So, I addend (without the slightest pretense that my version equals the former):

Wander Widely, Live Fully.

Unroot thyself
and reach for foreign soil with breathless soul,
confronting thyself in true form
against the clarifying backdrop of the unknown,
the unexpected.

Fear not loneliness,
for your naked soul will encounter wild and wondrous pilgrims
equanimically unclothed—
friendships forged in mere days
whose intensities shine ten times the span.

Bolden thyself,
brace not,
like a willful river flow
from the eternal wellspring of experience—
maintain constant departure while always

Paul Elliott (1988 – ?)

Wander on! ~PWALLE

Ithaca, as depicted in The Return of Odysseus by Claude Lorrain, 1644

Ithaca, as depicted in The Return of Odysseus by Claude Lorrain, 1644.