John Gartland


Heavier than any back-pack,
dude, the centrifugal darkness,
of three million murders.
That place has an awesome negative field,
and so does every trash-choked,
blood-soaked kilometre to the Thai border.
The highway bus stops have a bench
of the desperate and dangerous,
and more choking than the stench
of those unspeakable latrines is
the crocodile breath of Marxists,
and embedded Party reptiles,
gorged on graft and carrion,
still slithering among the corpses
stealing all the scenes.

In Phnom Penh you know
the jungle never really left.
A torture vortex, with tourists.
I swore I’d never go back.
And now this invitation
from Cadre Number One,
to edit his self-vindicating fiction.
The ultimate progressive scoop,
one last hubristic loop-the-loop.
charismatic journo skills
can sometimes prove the gift
that kills.

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