We Lived Happily during the War

And when they bombed other people’s houses, we



but not enough, we opposed them but not


enough. I was

in my bed, around my bed America


was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house —


I took a chair outside and watched the sun.


In the sixth month

of a disastrous reign in the house of money


in the street of money in the city of money in the country of money,

our great country of money, we (forgive us)

The Colonel

WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD is true. I was in his house. His wife carried
a tray of coffee and sugar. His daughter filed her nails, his son went   
out for the night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol on the
cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on its black cord over
the house. On the television was a cop show. It was in English.
Broken bottles were embedded in the walls around the house to
scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his hands to lace. On
the windows there were gratings like those in liquor stores. We had

Tulips Bloom from Youths’ Blood



It’s the season of wine, meadows, and Rose

The court of spring is cleared of choughs and crows

Generous clouds now water Rey[1] more freely than Khotan[2]

The caged bird and I both long for our own land


How wayward are you, Heaven!

How vicious are you, Heaven!

You’re headed to vengeance, O Heaven!

You have no faith

You have no creed—no creed

O Heaven!





The Dictator's Message

The Dictator’s Message


O poets


we have swept

your homeland clean

of thorns and splinters


O writers


to make a record of your works

we have ordered paper from all over the world


O mothers


we have made all the prisons

into schools and universities


O young people


and for your country’s future

lay a new foundation


O painters


and on war’s blood-soaked walls

Verso 3.1

At first there's no lake in the city, at first there are only

elevators, at first there are only constricting office desks;

there are small apartments and hamburger joints and

unpaid telephone bills. Then a few nightclubs appear and

eventually the lake disinters. At times there's a highway

and a car and friends in a snowstorm heading nowhere but

back to the city and Sarah Vaughan is singing in the cabin

of the car. The three of us are frightened of everything.

Day 62

Unless you believe in the eye of the needle

this kind of poverty will never be about material


it won't be about ragged clothing

or mud huts with broken walls

or river blindness

or murram roads

or bad-humoured fields that hoard curses

& promises that there won't be a harvest

this year or next year or ever


this isn't the poverty of sleep

or for that matter dreams


this is my deep loss

my poverty


Kome's Story

for auntie nagasaki

it's the same story

told again & again


the modulations

& the machinations


the maudlin

& the dream


schemes & data

a million documents


& a single story



she said she

moved into her house


her dream house

on december 6th


fell into a deep sleep

stirred the dream


to wake

big ghosts

big ghosts contra

band my diction war

korea's north sees red as

america flags china's chopped limb


british crowns hong kong

cut for duplicity more capitalist than capitalist

trades commie goods

slant contagion


door slam hello hunger

remember japan's occupation

desperate flee inland seeking

kuomintang line as red gushes sweet at first

from north only to double back

in broken glass kneeling


we flay ourselves in dismay

New Year

         Out of their torments men carved a flower

         which they perched on the high plateaus of their faces

         hunger makes a canopy for them

         an image dissolves in their last tear

         they drank foam rhythmed monsters

         to the point of ferocious horror

In those days

there was an



         on their hooves the horses were rearing a bit of dream

         fat fiery clouds filled out like mushrooms

In Jerusalem

In Jerusalem, and I mean within the ancient walls,

I walk from one epoch to another without a memory

to guide me. The prophets over there are sharing

the history of the holy ... ascending to heaven

and returning less discouraged and melancholy, because love

and peace are holy and are coming to town.

I was walking down a slope and thinking to myself: How

do the narrators disagree over what light said about a stone?

Is it from a dimly lit stone that wars flare up?

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