So long, Halong

As we ride out of Cat Ba
through a valley circled
by limestone crags,
a compilation of pop ballads

from the seventies and eighties
oozes from the speakers
and the affable English backpackers
at the back of the bus

groan in faux horror
as Aerosmith follows Bryan Adams
follows George Michaels
follows Michael Jackson

but when the Bee Gees launch
“How Deep Is Your Love”
the backpackers quieten down
and the driver stops honking his horn

at the dogs, children, women
in cone hats and cyclists
with finely balanced cargos
who drift carelessly

in front of the bus
as if it was an invisible
visitor from the future,
and we all strain against

the tug of the song’s chorus
far too cool to sing along
except for one backpacker
let’s call him Nigel

or Christian, or Jason, or Justin
who, in a high piping voice
declares his oneness
with the song’s embattled lovers.


Photography © Glenn Bowie

Photography © Glenn Bowie


Jim Feeney was born in Dublin and currently lives in Vancouver. He has published previously in Cyphers (Ireland), The sHop (Ireland), In-Flight Literary Magazine and others.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters. Glenn is also the official photographer for the Newton Writing and Publishing Center.