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Ira Sukrungruang

Because the World Is Cluttered

like the back of my car, a graveyard
of water bottles and wet socks, like my tornado-ed
thoughts, debris whirling and whirling, splinters
and nails and ruined homes—

we need that moment Buddha speaks of, the ability
to see the miracle of a single flower, its blossom
like hands praying beyond sky,
praying for stars to plummet into the bloom.

Let that light shine in shadowed places, let it stir
us from our silent slumber.
Remember the heart is biology—
muscle and veins and arteries.

It will bleed if we let it. 


Please, Stop, Please

Show them pictures of orphans.
Light fistful of incense.
Pray until hoarse.
Drop a thousand origami birds from a helicopter.
Watch them take flight over ocean waves,
            land in cupped hands.
Kneel on glass.

What about the power of silences?

Severed heads of two Buddhist villagers.
Charred bodies after a bomb detonates at the market.
A desecrated temple.
A cry gone dry.

When do we say please
at the beginning or end of the sentence?


In response to the violence in the Pattani Province of Southern Thailand


Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the memoir Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy and the coeditor of two anthologies on the topic of obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. His poetry collection, In Thailand It Is Night, was awarded the Anita Claire Schraf Award, and forthcoming from University of Tampa Press. He is the recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship, and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun, and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection (sweetlit.com), and teaches in the MFA program at University of South Florida. For more information about him, please visit: www.sukrungruang.com.