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THE BAD WOMEN OF BANGKOK (poem) - Adam Aitken - Australia - Poetry International

 
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THE BAD WOMEN OF BANGKOK
In communist Laos, where they come from
camouflage is a practical art and the moonlight
a nuisance, but the guards sleep through the blackout
and their dreams swim out across the river

towards Sodom – but who here
minds what they do or where they go –
whose drunken searchlight operators
fall to their knees
and the girls disguised as monks
smuggle into clubland,
where you can
lambada with a snake or smile in a cage
of disillusioned crocodiles,
or edit their lives
and take them back to the hills of their youth
riding whatever tiger you choose,
and call it a safari, under umbrellas
in unbecoming heat; sunburn
and innocence smiles for five minutes,
in a cinema verite where we
can’t look away, neither shocked nor relieved
at two-way commerce: your cash relayed to their mothers
via camouflage fish net
they fold your crumpled dollars into.
Makeup and their stripped down
love machine
to play with at breakfast.
What issues from their lips
comes back to them in a cinema, hungover and
condemned to your gaze and a hundred faces
around a curtained screen,
the only face no can see
your own.