Sunday, August 31, 2008

Slow fuse

on through the night following she thought about the night before
there had been a small ember left at the heart of the burnt-out
section and when the extreme dark swallowed her and the morning
was at its zenith of cold the secret barely-there coal throbbed faintly on

a day later she was scrubbing at the stains in the jail issue clothing
when a shower of sparks fell in the southern section
a crack of coal split open the corner of her eye blazed tangerine

a string of poets gathered by a brazier singing
in the distance in the rain a meteorite entered the sea
the swamp grew the ruins charred artists took charcoal
the stains disappeared from the jail issue clothing

the frogs came, and they sang too
one day we will be free
we will be free on day

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


our crockery is decrepit
I buy new crockery
I stand on my toes in K-Mart
and reach for a cheap
plain white set
on the top shelf.
marked down.
“made in China”.

it has flaws in it
but it is beautiful
flaws are at the heart of beauty.

I like to eat and watch tv
: exactly what was banned
in childhood.
ah, the simple, deep pleasure
of disobeying

on TV tonight there
is a secret documentary
filmed undercover in Tibet
I hear the plate I’m eating off
may have been made
by forced labour in Tibet
and labeled
“made in China”

I have also bought
towels today.
two creamy, one slate –
cotton, “made in China”.

one hand towel
the first I have ever owned.
I suspect this is decadent
even if it came from Safeway

a woman is talking with
the bottom of her face hidden
she has been sterilized
without anesthetic.
she shows the scars.

if I could give her
my hand towel, I would.
it is slate, quite lovely.
the hand towel was
“made in India”.

the Tibetan government in exile
is in Dharamsala, in India.
thank you India.

a man talks about handcuffs.
apparently there are several kinds.
ones for the thumbs.
some for the wrists that cut the wrists

for a picture of the Dalai Lama
they could hang you from the ceiling
your hands would be cut off
and so you can stand on your toes

at just the right height
you can stand all night

when they release you
you aren’t much chop at working
(that’s what one old man says)

the interviewer went undercover
for three months
in Tibet
his face is very sweaty

how can I watch this bravery
in the magnificent brilliance of Tibet
as brilliant as a mountain blood pheasant
red and green?

I wish all of the governments
of the world had missed
the opening ceremony
of the Olympic Games
I wish no-one and gone at all

how can I afford
my disobedient pleasure?
I switch off the brilliant
colours of my TV.
of course
it is “made in China”.