Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ISN'T IT ROMANTIC, by KAREN SWENSON

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ISN'T IT ROMANTIC, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The guide book promised birds of paradise
Last Line: Whirl me from this place I most wanted to be.
Subject(s): Disappointment; Indonesia; Tourists; Dutch East Indies

The guidebook promised birds of paradise,
impenetrable jungle, semi-nude tribes,
palm-leaf huts wafting their fringed eaves.

I've got mosquito netting clotted with dust,
large bugs in a cold shower, plenitudes
of naked scrotums posing for my camera.

If I cancel my appointments with
the mummified chief smoked by village elders
and the brine pool across the woven-vine bridge,

I could spend the day on postcards and
pretend I'm talking to my friends surrounded
by village ilders in penis gourds and grass skirts

who pass round the postcards pointing out
the sites of their lives, while loneliness,
a drying rawhide noose, strangles my spirit.

Mother's hand is lost in Woolworth's for eternity.
I long for my personal helicopter to
whirl me from this place I most wanted to be.

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