Friday, May 17, 2013

"Leverage To Move the World" and "First Night in Phnom Penh"

Who Wants the World Moved? or Leverage To Move the World by Carl Nyberg

Archimedes said,
Give me a long enough lever
And a fulcrum on which to place it
And I will move the world
I respond
Give me a compelling enough metaphor
And a fulcrum on which to place it
And I too will move the world
The following poem makes reference the "Peaches" by Elizabeth Grear.


"First Night in Phnom Penh" by Carl Nyberg

Elizabeth Grear wrote
Of a stripper without rhythm
Failing to impress
A truck driver
The truck driver said,
She better not stay
On the ground
Too long
Lest someone cover her in dirt
Thinking she's dead”
Elizabeth Grear wrote,
Suddenly the entire place
Seemed sad”
And then I remembered
Sexual energy collapsing on itself
Into pathos
Phnom Penh, 1993
Was it the first night out?
The customers worked for the UN
Who else had money?
The club was dark, but full
The girl pretty, probably Khmer
She dripped wax on her naked body
But she had the passion, the eros
Of punching the clock
On assembly line
No tease, no flirt
No anger
Just depressed indifference
I'd been in Asia since '89
Sasebo, Yokosuka, Subic, Hong Kong
Yokohama, Pohang, Singapore
Guang Zhou, Tokyo
Penang, Abu Dabi, Jebel Ali
Pattaya, Phuket, Dhaka too
I had seen sex shows
Fucked hookers
But this...
I felt above them
It wasn't erotic
It was the form of a sex show
Without the eros
Made to appeal
To peacekeepers
Who had something sucked out of them
For having spent time in a country
Colonized, couped, revolutioned
Brought to Year Zero
Economics imposed
Genocide too
More war
Invaded
Occupied
Negotiated
And rebuilt by foreigners who had
Stopped giving a fuck
If they ever did
I felt above them
It wasn't erotic
It was pathetic
Sad for the girl
Sad for the showmanship
And sad for the audience
Of has-been idealists
Executing the ideals
Of building peace
In the post Cold War world
Stressed-out wrecks to keep the peace
I didn't apprehend the full reality
That night
But I was pretty sure
I could do better
Than watching a broken woman
Punch the clock with wax

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