EAST IS EAST
SINGAPORE SLINGS, SAHIBAt Raffles Long Bar smiling brown waitpersons
haul pink Singapore Slings to Detroit orthodontists
provide free peanuts for Aussie haymakers
cowtow to Nihonjin middle managers.
Everybodys fertile, imagining oriental worlds,
bygone days when rusty steamers ferried
pith helmeted colonials to South Sea pinpricks.
Who cares if Colonel Kurtz disappeared into
the heart of darkness or Lord Jim ended up
the main course at a cannibal barbecue.
Today everybodys stoked, shelling complimentary
goobers, firing digital flashers, turning sallow
software salesman into Chinese secret agent.
Somerset Maughams still here, looking bushed,
hanging from the wall of next doors steak house.
The tea and crustless sandwich sets here too,
safarisuit octogenarians inhabiting Hong Kongs
Peninsula lobby or clogging Bangkok Oriental
writers bar, Wests postcolonial idle affluent
tasting the Easts opium hazed Colonel Blimp past.
Long Bars thick with Trader Vic simulacra ambience:
bamboo huts Gauguin tawny maidens papaya
sacks mango bags boxed pineapple.
Nobody mentions Trumans Korean Police Action
or Eisenhowers Advisory Mission to Indo China.
Here ancient oriental exotica lives on in shiny
Computerized ceiling fans circle slowly
Bon Jovi softrocks through recessed speakers
patrons, pretend deep concern over next years
banana crop, await word of latest snake infested
And all the while mashed peanut shells pile deeper
and the stack of empty Singapore Slings grows higher.