MAP 65

Featured Poetry

Theme: Poets Travel Advisory: When planning your China holiday...

Continued thanks to the poets who generously offer your poems to the MAP, and to all who serve up your words, on line and off, written, spoken or signed.

Upcoming themes:

#66 - February Is Black History Month

#67 - Valentine's Day: Hey Cupid, Has your aim improved yet?

#68 - Soul Food

On January 11, 1999, AP reported the disappearance of Zhou Yongjun, an exiled Chinese democracy campaigner who left New York to return to China. On Dec. 21, Zhou Yongjun phoned his wife and friend in New York to notify them he was about to be arrested. As a university student, he had helped lead the 1989 democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.

1. I've shamelessly selected an excerpt from one of my own poems :

Bind - Part III

Once upon a time in China,

from Han to Ming, each dynasty

collected songs and poetry

from courtesans and peasantry.

In China now, Tiananmen --

a synonym for massacre,

and poets go to labor camps

without a trial, without a word.

My cousin went to China once

with medical team of missionaries

to save some Asian souls and bodies.

Western Christian visionaries.

China has a history

of basic human rights resistance.

Cousin says in orphanages

aiding females was forbidden.

Men beyond the ken of conscience

foster pain and punish minds.

They liberate a woman’s feet

but keep her spirit in a bind.

© 1998 Anastasia McFadyen

2. I took this poem by Larry Jaffe from Poets4Peace website (see Cool Web Sites Section VII)

empty windows in Baghdad

i tried to get to the window

to yell leave us alone

unshouted screams tormented my throat

head pounded with frustration and worse

leave us alone i wanted to say

but could not

voice drowned inside me

its almost ramadan

not silent nights bequeathed

the first sounds i heard

an almost gentle wind

a whistle a whine

gasped before impact

explosion silent

i cannot hear

explosion invisible

i cannot see

my children have stopped crying

© 1998 lgjaffe

3. Patricia Fiske of Austin read this poem Friday night at the Hyde Park Theater open mic, hosted by Graffiti:

Silent Screams Through Veil

Smothered in cloth and dense mesh veil

Afghan women condemned to burqa jail

How is it possible?

Women doctors can not practice healing

Nor be treated by males, too revealing

How is it possible?

A country has enslaved half it's population

Yet no official outrage from our sick nation

How is it possible?

We rattle sabers at every drop of oil

Do we value women less than soil?

How is it possible?

The media's so besot with sex scandals

It's all but ignored those Taliban vandals.

How is it possible?

Will we look back, as the Germans must,

Wonder why we didn't do what was just?


4. Dillon, whose last name I don't have, read this at Quackenbush's on Saturday:

Bloody '94

Warm winds blow around my head

Making it hard to hear

The screams of the young and old

As they cry out in pain so loud.

Machetes fly, they cut and kill.

The slaughter house is taken outside.

People run from their homes.

If they're slow, they're caught, they die.

This all started from a plane crash in Africa.

It was shot down, two leaders die.

Hutu, Tutsi, angered each other.

Civil war begins.

Thousands die and more run away.

Those that are caught are slaughtered and dumped

Into a river of death.

But thousands make it to the east.

The tide turns in the war.

The first victims of the slaughter

Gain the upper hand.

Tutsis on the march.

Now the people flee to the west

fearing retaliation.

It's off to Goma for those who are scared.

The Tutsis win the war.

This all started from a plane crash in Africa.

It was shot down, two leaders die.

Hutu, Tutsi, angered each other.

The civil war comes to an end.

The African nation's torn apart.

Rwanda has pain within.

Rwanda has internal bleeding.

Help is on the way.

Let the healing start.

5. From Thom the World Poet, of Austin:

someone wants a LITTLE war

upon a LITTLE country like Iraq

just a LITTLE casualty list

just a LITTLE bomb attack

it will fill a LITTLE media

(much less than Clinton's penis)

there will be a LITTLE protest

(not enough to actually STOP it)

just LITTLE enough to assuage our conscience

while all those LITTLE women and children

are planted in LITTLE mass graves

because all their LITTLE remains

only take up LITTLE space

like this LITTLE warming poem

against the BIG war upon civilians

they will spend such BIG BOMBS on

for such a LITTLE result

such a LITTLE poem

such a BIG disgrace..

6. Mahdi Jaber read this poem at Ruta Maya in December. It was his first time to read. It is my honor to present the poem to you.

Does any one see my murdered country ?

This is a chant that has woven melancholy,

on the wings of butterflies

which beckoned palm trees to kneel,

so that tiered people could grasp

what birds left for them to eat,

I send you a message with this injured dove,

so that it may reach you

and perturb your heart,

Does any one see my murdered country?

Hear the call of the detained prisoner,

lady of the fertile crescent is held hostage,

inseminated by centuries of oppression

that off sprang tyrants,

Does any know of Iraq,

its cities,

its people,

other than what the grand puppeteer allows you to see,

Does anyone see my murdered country?

Or hear the literary vocabulary used

to bar the ships from the ports?

Words like sanctions are beautiful,

As abattoir, which means slaughter,

Pacify, which has an inclination of peace,

But what peace without honor,

when mothers sell their kidneys,

and Fathers mortgage their daughters

For morsels of bread,

Does any one see my murdered country?

or are your hearts blind?

Those Holy symbols so solemnly kissed

Branded in your hearts only held in vain?

And the grace that you tire my ears with,

does it not extend beyond church walls?

Or may be the holy ghost does not enter the no fly zone?

Does any one see my murdered country?

where the minarets and church bells echo in unison,

to hymn the parade of hungry children,

Woman with onyx tears sing for infants,

But every cradle is now a tomb,

Men with dissolved lips,

under porticoes made of coffins,

write their names on walls,

Does any one see my murdered country?

And for every innocent that has perished,

A tulip and a rose,

But I fear that this vast landscape will

be a garden for lovers,

After its people have disappeared,

For then you will again hear the chant from Europe.

" Land without people, For People without Land"

And upon the rewriting of history,

the molding of hearts,

and boundaries shift to points of no return,

would there then be peace?

Does any one see my murdered country?

What veil is on your eyes,

for she bleeds as a Christ on a cross,

What terrible deeds deserve such punishment?,

Does any one see my murdered country,

in its grave of shifting sand.