Phnom Penh: City on the Mend

Mass Transit

City arisen from a beat-down by villains and despots
Wounds unhealed, but scabbing highrise tinted glass

City of two million in ’74 –two thousand in ’78
Lonely omegamen huddled in dark closets, Anne Franks all,
listening for the sound of boots, rifle bolts, and evil

S-21 ghosts hum and whisper down the barbed-wire mesh
Screams, now just visceral reverberation and goose-flesh

Dusty streets never wash clean in the afternoon downpours
that sluice and fall through the tarps and bags filling gaps
between crazy-quilt corrugated tin roofing the Russian market

The market is a labyrinth of narrow paths, smelling of metallic meat,
reeking durian, and the fish that finally gave up flapping gills
no longer laboring to live on that thin, ephemeral air

The people, the survivors, kept breathing that thin, ephemeral air.

About B Gourley

Bernie Gourley is a writer living in Bangalore, India. His poetry collection, Poems of the Introverted Yogi is now available on Amazon. He teaches yoga, with a specialization in pranayama, and holds a RYT500 certification. For most of his adult life, he practiced martial arts, including: Kobudo, Muay Thai, Kalaripayattu, and Taiji. He is a world traveler, having visited more than 40 countries around the globe.
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