Literary Impulse
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Literary Impulse


71 Soi Sai Nam

Guest editorial — don’t be afraid it’s not really five mins, it’s 2 1/2

Photo: James G. Brennan.

71. Soi Sai Nam.

Worakarn sat on a bench at the north end of the soi, (lane) where she once lived with her family. Like her two brothers, she left to start her own life leaving their parents still living at №71/5 Soi, Sai Nam (lane big tree). Of course, Worakarn still visited when she had time out from her busy life as a restaurant owner on the island of Ko Lanta six hours drive away.

Worakarn found she had all the time in the world to spend with her parents, her small restaurant now closed due to the COVID 19 pandemic forcing her to leave the island to try and find some kind of income elsewhere. Songkhla, the town she was from seemed the best bet and it was until the pandemic situation got steadily worse shutting down the restaurant she worked at as a cook.

Worakarn began to dwell on the situation, the hot sun beating down exasperating her emotions even as she sat in the shade, the humidity is oppressive in August. Her eyes filled with tears rolling down her cheek onto her carton of bar-b-que pork and sticky rice, cheap food for hard times. Worakarn was not crying for herself, it was for those who were no longer working and travelling on this once busy street, now reminiscent of a ghost town, like all the streets in the whole of this busy town now empty of people, motorbikes, tuk-tuk vans and the growing number of cars.

Worakarns mind travelled back in time to when she was a small girl, the road she was sitting by also called Sai Nam, had no concrete buildings, just a dirt road where vegetation to eat grew in abundance to add to eggs, rice, and shrimp paste. Pushbikes, rickshaws, and by foot were how people got around, not a motorbike to be seen back then.

Times were harder but more carefree and fun; on good days, small unsold fish and crab were bought very cheaply from the harbour. Sometimes, neighbours or family would share fresh seafood when money was not so tight, a welcome change to eggs, rice, and shrimp paste.

Any money earned by her father, who worked away from home, was used to educate Worakarn and her three brothers. Unfortunately, family members took advantage of borrowing the children’s education money, never paying it back. How do you say no to a struggling family member? Worakarns mother would argue with her father.

The soi was built on Wat Sai Nam temple grounds, so rent was cheap. Children of Soi Sai Nam used the temple grounds as their playground, climbing trees for mangoes, playing hide and seek, sneaking up the bell tower when feeling daring, running for dear life when caught by a monk!

On Saturday evenings, shadow puppets kept the children entertained while their parents browsed festival stalls treating the children to fish balls on a stick, dried squid, and sour mango with chilli salt sugar dip.

Worakarn began to smile, her childhood memories bringing a little lightness to her soul, all be it with a deep sigh. She dried her tears and finished her food. Suddenly, a big bright smile beamed across her face as the light of her life came into view, the reason Worakarn had been sitting at the side of the road came running arms outstretched with a smile to match Worakarns; her granddaughter, Tisia, had returned from school jumping up into Worakarns arms to which she received a hug tighter than other days.

“Grandma, are you ok?”

“I’m very ok, thank you, my sweet love, tell me about your day at school”.

Tisia told her grandmother all about her day as they walked a joyful short walk back home.

That evening Worakarn took Tisia to the temple to light incense and candles, saying prayers for those who are unfortunate, giving a donation to her granddaughter to put into the box for those who are struggling, and giving thanks to Buddha for all the blessings in their lives.

So many have been struggling during this pandemic, many still do and will continue to for some time. It is important we support each other, offering help to those who are in need. This is our time to come together, exploring our humanity, caring for our fellow human beings, not focussing on our self-indulgence as many media outlets and some leaders, political and corporate would have us do. This power rests in our hands, not theirs.

James G Brennan 2021

For Worakarn, my wife, and Tisia.

For the last week, we have had the following beautiful pieces for everyone to read, and enjoy-

The part inside () signifies the poetic form, wherever applicable.

Poetry( Descort)- A Morning’s Discord by Venkataraman Mahalingam
Poetry(Dizain)- Pipe Dreams by Viraji Ogodapola
Poetry(CETHRAMTU RANNAIGECHTA MOIRE)- Peace Maker by Carolyn Hastings
Poetry(Glosa)- Great Drops Of Dew by William J Spirdione
Poetry(Free-verse)- Smoldering in Sightless Rage by Margie Willis
Poetry(Dizain)- A Dizain for My Ankle Sprain by Samantha Lazar
Poetry(Free-verse)- Grandfather Me by Jaylee Reign
Poetry(Shadorma)- Purport by Dr. Fatima Imam
Poetry(Shadorma)- Flittering Fluttering Through the Flowers by William J Spirdione
Poetry(Free-Verse)- A Chariot In Starry Blazes by Obinna Uruakpa
Poetry(Haiku)- Throttle Through The Night by Venkataraman Mahalingam
Poetry(Imayo)- My Mother’s Chandelier by jenine bsharah baines
Poetry(Ottava Rima)- Blue Starlight by Elizabeth Barnesco
Poetry(Stornello)- Offer by Dr. Fatima Imam
Poetry(Somonka)- The Daughter of Time and the Fisherman by CARMEN F MICSA
Poetry(Rhupunt)- Red Silkie Hen by William J Spirdione
Essay- I’ll Take a Shelter Mutt, Any Day! by Margie Willis
Flash-fiction- The Girl Who Never Cried by Sethuraj Nair
Poetry(Matinada)- O The Bluebirds by Dr. Amy Pierovich

We are so thankful for such an amazing response to the uncommon poetic forms event. We are honoured that you sent in your amazing words and gave us the opportunity to read and publish them. Please do keep sending more of them.

Here’s the link to the poetic form challenge, please do feel free to read through the below and submit if you wish to:-

We really worked hard on Issue IX of the ShabdAaweg Review. Please navigate to the below links to read or support us by buying a copy, priced very nominally:


The pieces can be also read on the website following the below link-

ShabdAaweg review Issue IX

If you want to be added as a writer, please comment on this post, and we’ll add you as soon as possible.

Our website has gotten a fresh make-over, you may want to give it a go and let us know what you feel.

We are actively promoting the work of our writers across Twitter and Instagram. Please keep an eye on the proceedings there, too.

If you wish to read our earlier anthologies, do navigate to the below link and get a copy, priced very nominally.

To know “what is SALVE” and “how to submit to it”, please check the below link:

Thank you, Somsubhra Banerjee, Elisabeth Khan, Priyanka Srivastava, Nachi Keta for this invite and for giving my words a platform, I am very honoured!

Thank you all for reading and your precious time. Always. J. 🙏☘✨



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James G Brennan

James G Brennan


Writes eclectic free verse poetry and is free to read. "Everything in life is writable about" Sylvia Plath.