Last Day in Paradise


‘The Town Without Limits’, The Observer, 8.4.12



LAST DAY, Adam Axford writes on his belly

with a fat black marker pen, here in Viang Veng. Silly boy…

at least he hasn’t jumped in and cracked his skull,

like that drunken idiot a month before—


How do we spoil things ?  Becoming full of ourselves

because we can’t (OMG) face being empty,

but the trick is: empty, is: open out,

is: massively receive


connection, ecstasy, bliss—

and not this

travesty of earthly happiness where monkeys

in Bermuda shorts swing into the river

and makeshift waterside cafes sell cheap shots of Lao-Lao

and almost any high you fancy.

Girls, boys

float downriver on inflateable inner tyre tubes

occasionally copulating in full view…


The locals call them zombies, and they’re right

lingering on in their residue

polluting Nam Song, silencing its music

(where they won’t go now, for fear of evil spirits)


—talking loudly in the middle of your concert, same thing.

Full of themselves to bursting.


We don’t know how to listen,

until teacher makes us listen—


and She will. Boy, she will…


you’re squirting lime juice into your own eyes,

snorting salt, and downing another shot

on your last day in Paradise.



Jay Ramsay
Illustration Nick Victor


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