Phonm Penh Blues by Jim Christy

I’m leaning on the balcony and she’s
Holding up a lamppost
Down on Sisowath Quay.
There’s a guy behind shades
In a Lexus. We’re all looking
For something to call our own, another
Kind of key, the one’ll unlock
The fabled Silver Palace. She’s sixteen
With dark legs in short skirt, a cute
Little ass and her blouse
Is a couple of years old. Fat
White guys over Angkors
Are drawing straws. They flew over
From Saigon. “You can get ‘em younger
Over here,” one says.
There’s a parade of miracles passing,
Jetsam of the Khymer Rouge. You could
Fill a pagoda with their missing limbs.
I try pretending that compared to theirs
My own woes are a robust lot. But
It doesn’t help. Kali’s over my
Shoulder. Buddha’s down the block
And doesn’t want any of it. There’s
No Veronica to cloak my eyes.
I can shed a Tonle Sap of tears
They’ll flood a delta, grow
A brand new nightmare crop.


Date: 2010

By: Jim Christy (1945- )

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