The lightly bearded boy

ambles a dusty Jakarta street,

S-O-U-L-D-I-E-R splayed

from blade to blade back on his tee

as if to insure the shirt is arrayed

appropriately ‘cause

spelling doesn’t count.

Was it remaindered

to him with a V sign?

Or an upturned thumb?

Or a laugh?

Or does he care less

for the labels he wears

than for the price

of seconds?

He strolls shamelessly

without camouflage

save the u

inviting me

to follow.




James Penha: A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and in poetry. His essay “It’s Been a Long Time Coming” was featured in The New York Times “Modern Love” column in April 2016. Penha edits TheNewVerse.News, an online journal of current-events poetry. @JamesPenha.