Annotated Patpong Love Song
Her belly’s as big
though she’s only
half his size
Pint-sized really, she’d be his daughter if she weren’t his concubine, his squeeze,
his number really, that is, he picked the number pinned on her bikini while she tumbled
in the neon marsh waters of the Mermaidium.
Wide-eyed calf who strayed,
her stick legs split like fragrant timber.
The old man had his way.
They had sex that he paid for not always in cash, but with a Moschino knock-off handbag, or
Day-Glo Japanese sneakers or increasingly doctor-money to her family up north in Udon Thani,
so much money for gout and nose bleeds and non-specific idiopathic pain that he started to
question how one woman – her mother – could get sick sick/so quick quick.
And now he glows
with foolish pride
as two bellies grow
side by side.
She offered her virtue for a transaction so now she’ll trade her freedom for security,
and keep the baby and become his wife even though he was really fat and made no effort
to contain his chronic flatulence due to the Heineken drip-feed from breakfast onwards. One
other thing: she could not pronounce her new last name. Dutch…Polish…whatever.
The Wild Blue Horses
Long before techno hit Berlin, Franz Marc miffed
the fussbudget bean counters of the Kaiser Reich
by painting blue horses stampeding from the yard,
horses romping like wedding guests on wooded trails
swigging schnapps from the bottle under the yellowest of moons.
But when the war came, Franz bled out on a cratered, treeless plain.
And, his blue horses vanished in the boneyard air.
The Kaiser, it was later learned, had given all notable artists
permission to withdraw. But the order did not arrive in time.
This was not Saving Private Ryan.
It was a very German movie.
Stefan Sullivan is the author of a memoir set in Siberian oil country (Die Andere Bibliothek/Frankfurt) and a work in philosophy (Marx for a Post-Communist Era: On Poverty, Corruption and Banality (Routledge/London). He has also given over 300 performances as a lounge singer/pianist. He lives in Washington DC.
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