Burgess Stanley Needle somehow managed to get an undergraduate degree in English between working as a machinist in an American can plant, manufacturing picture frames, standing as a rod man on a survey team, and producing plastic molds for Avon. He then decided life was too precious to waste in these trivial pursuits, so he joined the Peace Corps and lived in Thailand for two years, where he taught English and learned all the local remedies for dysentery. After returning to America he entered graduate library school. During the last two years his work has appeared in Black Mountain Review(UK), Blackbox Manifold (UK), Zafusy (UK), The Hiss Quarterly, Origamicondom, Kritya (India), Free Verse, Concho River Review, Gutter Eloquence, Autumn Sky, and Iodine. He will happily respond to any e-mails sent his way: email@example.com
Questions We Ask Ourselves
Climbing upon his mare
the wrinkled man spoke slowly
in his five-toned language.
He was regarded as a sage by the townsfolk.
“The Chinese people worry about food.”
He nodded to himself.
“They say, ”Have you eaten rice, yet?”
He looked down at me.
“My people, the Thai, fear invasion or war.”
He fitted his feet into the cracked stirrups.
“Where are you going? Where are you coming from?”
He shook his head.
“Those are the questions we ask of ourselves
He allowed the taut reins to sag.
“And you Americans -- ” he paused.
“Always thinking of your health.”
He gently kneed the horse’s side,
started to clip-clop into the
early morning haze, turned his head
to one side like a bird and called out,
“How are you? How are you? How are you?”