The content in this page ("Prison" by Rungsila) is not produced by Prachatai staff. Prachatai merely provides a platform, and the opinions stated here do not necessarily reflect those of Prachatai.

Prison

Note: “Rungsila” is the pen name of Siraphop, a construction contractor who is around fifty years old. Prior to the 22 May 2014 coup, he was well-known online as a writer of political poems and articles. Shortly after the coup, his name was among those summoned to report to the Army Club but he declined to report himself. On 25 June 2014, he was arrested by soldiers in Kalasin province and then detained for 7 days under the provisions of martial law then in force. Upon being released from military detention, he was transferred to the police and then immediately charged with three counts of violation of Article 112. Since then, he remains detained in the Bangkok Remand Prison while proceedings against him are ongoing. This is a translation of one of the poems he has written while in prison. Thai poetry, particularly when written in meter, as this one is, presents particular challenges for translation into English. Here, the incommensurability of the meter across languages is taken as an invitation to find other ways of rendering repetition and the resonance of sound – such as space on the page. Whether or not this works is for the readers to decide.—translator 
 
*
 
__________ Prison. An unpleasant dwelling
Overcrowding no hindrance to bid welcome
Bedrooms with disease for everyone
 
__________ Prison. A dense forest for the release of wild animals within
A field of power human dignity destroyed made equal to animals
It is …. A reformatory for those who attempt to claim their rights and request bail
The insolence denied because they fear flight
 
__________ Prison. A house sweltering in excess of warmth
I miss it each time shackled and cuffed
A day spent walking barefoot at the court sad and shamed
Weary and hungry
 
Each time, I leave at dawn to sit all day at court 
To appear before the bench for only a few minutes
Prison regulars All whisper the same plaint … 
“I want to go home [prison]” __________. Now!
 
 
Translated by Tyrell Haberkorn.