Opium in the East excerpt


Starting at Singapore it smelled of opium
The good Englishman knew what he was doing
At world conferences he thundered
Against the secret drug-lords
And in his colonies every port
sent up a cloud of authorized smoke
with an official number and a juicy franchise.
The official gentleman in London
dressed like a spotless nightingale
(with striped pants and a shirt starched into armor)
A nightingale trilling against the pusher
in the shadows.
But here in the Orient
the gentleman unmasked himself
and sold lethargy on every corner.

translator’s note: any resemblance to any present situation is purely intentional NEXT Poem

– Translated by Jodey Bateman

Used with permission from Motherbird.com

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