Fish Bowl-A Poem

~for the young ones in Thailand

(The glass room that the women sit behind in these brothels is sometimes called the ‘fish bowl’, where the men can sit and look at them and choose the one he wants to buy)

Through the thick clouds, tainted smoke
Pink vinyl on the seats
On the left sat Mama San
With ladies at her feet

Mr. X leaned in to hear her deal,
“4000 baht,” she crooned.
“Which girl you like?” she asked the man,
“You take in short-time room”.

And so the man withdrew his line,
he threw a heaving cast-
to grab a hold of some young thing,
to get him off real fast.

Her hair was thick, as black as night;
her frame a wee bit small.
Her face was turned towards the set;
her back against the wall.

He cast his net and reeled her in,
a toy with which he would play.
It mattered not her circumstance,
It mattered not her day.

He did not think on how she’d knelt
one hundred times already,
if she were tired, or she were sore,
as long as she was pretty.

Down the hall he followed her,
the girl with Mr. X.
He asked her for the soapie,
which meant he want the sex.

He’d paid her for the hour long,
and not a minute more.
Later on he’d a wife to meet,
and she was just a whore.

A good one though he would admit,
Mama San said she was her best-
better than the last one for sure
even if she’d had small breasts.

Nonetheless, this fisherman,
more skilled now at his game.
never gave another thought
to even ask her name.

Out the door and on his way,
his life feigned normalcy;
and from that day he never thought
of the girl who was Sumalee.

©07 KR



  1. This reminded me of a book I read by Paulo Coehlo “Eleven”; the tales of a Brazilian prostitute in Holland. I wonder what goes through their head, man after man.


  3. This child slavery is caused by the USA’s wage system which we’ve been violently forcing on the whole world. If we end the wage system here, it would soon force all nations to do the same because all nations are connected financially, which should be obvious to all by now. Also, USA should have eliminated all work by building Tower Cities connected to maglev Trains, not automobiles, small buildings, etc.

  4. Sandy, I’m not sure I fully understand what you’re saying. What wage system have we violently forced on the world? I understand that we’re all connected financially, that is certainly obvious. I want to understand the wage system you’re referring to.

  5. man that peom was depressing but i think wat u r doing to try to convince people it isnt history and that we should try to stop it is a great idea i fully support ur efforts!!!

  6. hi i would like to ask ur permission to use your peom for a charity know as the grey man. The grey man is a charity that helps prevent child slavery in thailand. WE coordinate bust with tai police and give resouces to the villages being targeted. we would like to use ur poem in some promotional material.

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