Wednesday, 24 March 2010


The mechanisms are in place.
We order coffee to go and return to command centers by-the-minute
bank on the price range with smiles from another era.
The corruption is structural and the flower girl selling flowers is passed over.
Boys take out the garbage unable to see the ascendancy laying claim to them.
Tips for good service keep the arms market out of anyone’s hands
the game safely in automatic profits grandfathered in for home theatres
mobilized abroad where no one listens.
It's hard work inventing alien slime worthy of walling out,
uncircumcised enemies in hooded full-length suits.
The happiness seems almost ghoulish now,
one nation under Windows, emptied emptiness
unto others, backed up by loud, firm affirmations in low tones.

Monday, 8 March 2010

In Vietnam, Thinking of Iraq

Is it enough to list specifics and lose ourselves
in the godlike complexity of broken microchips
as we screen our broadcasts walking along nature washing up?
It's one thing to throw up a slogan
and drag a population across a border, an ocean,
it's another to oust the invader—always in bad taste,
the proverbial imperialist oinker.

The details sprayed on the bricks are not sweet recollections
but convictions, a moral economy not bombable,
and to be paid off
or be reborn a fly or damaged squirrel or at best a deer to be hit by a Winnebago.

The functioning of parts is still bound to the beholder
in remote control. The spirits of the dead still fly just as far
and will seek out the controllers of drones and smart bombs.
The chain of command will not sleep well.
If wrong, we are doomed.

(Ho Chi Minh City, February 2010)

From One End

I tell my friends, what you expect to find
at the end of a dead end road turning to dirt
along a crumbling beachhead?
Crushed glass of tossed beer-brown bottles.
Scraps of plastic and Styrofoam from fast-food beverages.
Thin plastic vendor bags of bones licked clean, tied in a knot—
heaped on upside-down steel barrels.
Dogs sniffing around can’t find them.
When a concrete hotel shell built itself off the beach
the interior vanished in insurance flames.
The retaining wall hollows out, the road is next,
lined with bald, bandanaed Norwegians loitering on Hoggs
with beer cans in hand and open carburetors
carrying them away. Most of the retirement colony is sedate,
lots of strolling husbands and wives and trailing maids or lovers.
Sometimes the lover rides with the husband on one scooter
and the wife takes chase on another, putting along to avoid collision.
I saw a pretty young American with a chubby gigolo in tow.
The rule of thumb: the escorts walk behind
(like servants, or wives in some cultures),
while those in love go hand in hand into old age.

(February 2010, Cha Am, Thailand)