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Cambodiana air-conditioned colonial coolness

Natives dressed in pretty silk pleasing to the eyes

In the center yet so far removed from the

hectic heat of this dreary dilapidated city

Uprooted pavements from outgrown trees

Expanse of dust

Where once were elegant boulevards

Strength of litter mixed with excrement

In overwhelming nauseating waves

Seemingly we noticed by vendors

And those who sit to taste their wares

On these street comers

Here UNTAC plants itself

Seed of hope, or foreign body

Serving only to disrupt, corrupt?

All pervasive presence of

white U.N. emblazoned

Jeeps and trucks and buses

Out of sync with the rhythm

Of cycle rickshaws,

scooter taxis, bicycles

Weaving a milling mass

of constant movement

Whose secret lies in

never quite coming to a halt

Pizza houses, party pubs and dollars

Whore houses

Reminiscent of the lorry-load of

European peacekeepers at the lake

Each with his woman from Vietnam

Paid for the day to play as lovers do

All this too

Along with new hotels and businesses

And badly needed coat of paint to brighten up the drabness

What can it mean to those who walk the street?

The woman who must beg to feed herself

Her child in arms, another in her belly

The older child of maybe seven years

Who follows mimicking to earn her keep herself

Men and boys with crutches to carry the stump

Of the missing leg, some pitiful

Yet others with still a sparkle in their eyes

The constant stream of slow moving beggars

with twisted limbs or frightened eyes

And yet what other hope?

No answer,

Only anger


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