the war never ends

asian ©papa osmubal

asian ©papa osmubal

the war never ends

adam aitken

A woman sheltering under a rattan mat
in a storm of Hueys
by the banks of the Mekong,
her last recollection of home.
Your story won’t translate
if no-one can read the cards
or can recall
the exact sound of a five hundred pounder
hitting a storehouse of rice.

Who here would want to?
Books like those
now bestsellers in the states,
but here

Temple bells and roosters
will always wake you
from your dream,
sounding just when the poem
needs them.

Cut! the bells say, Silence!
in that jump-cut montage
of heroes fighting for the village

threatened now
by an influx of Gangsta Rap
and foreigners who fall in love
with the way you tease them
about their size, their impatience,
their fake ragged clothes,

the way they say they care for you
and you can’t resist
I want to help, they say
and don’t come back.


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