Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BACKGROUND AND DESIGN, by KAREN SWENSON



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BACKGROUND AND DESIGN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: On tv in a bangkok shop window
Last Line: From fiend to lover and back.
Subject(s): Culture Conflict; Music & Musicians; Thailand


On TV in a Bangkok shop window,
Michael Jackson is a video
rose centering a ruffled nosegay
of Thai silk frocks. He shifts

like the illusion of black and white tiles
I changed as a child - black on white
to white on black - from ghoul to lover
and back while fantasy battalions

of fiends sprout from manholes and graves.
America's undead armies dance again
in Bangkok following the snake-hip slither
of the dark General and his incandescent eyes.

In their school uniforms a crowd
of brown young faces solemnly watch this one
brown face, a manufacture made
uniform by stardom.

I contemplate my white against
this background and his dark cross
in America as he shifts
from fiend to lover and back.





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