The Disappearing of Chinese
by Lu “Reed ABCs” Wei
Since February of this year, Chinese security
has disappeared two dozen writers; writing isn’t free.
The human rights defenders who have since then been erased;
no longer can be seen; they’ve been appropriately placed.
Where is the Shanghai blogger? Zhang Haiboa has been lost.
Where is the Guangshu worker? Tan Yanhua paid the cost.
Where is the student from Chongqing? Where is Lan Ruoyu?
What would you think if such a thing like this occurred to you?
How many thousands, maybe millions, are in bleak, black jails,
where no one but their torturers hear their heartrending wails?
The Burj Khalifa
by Arcideb Usewel
Its shadow ‘s like the shade of some sun-dial’s turning hand,
that passes over oil-rich Dubai’s bright gleaming land,
paid for by Abu Dhabi’s Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed,
who saved Dubai from a default, by covering its debt.
The Burj Khalifa’s sides, more than 800 meters, rise,
its peak electric use of 50 MVA ‘s sky high;
South Asian built; the architecture is American;
designers European; and the cash Arabian.
The tower led to labour protests in 2005,
Earth’s tallest building ever when it finally arrived.
Arcideb Usewel is a poet of architecture.
by Ib Claus Weeder
This week a pic of two atop of the Great Pyramid
went viral, with its video filmed by Andreas Hvid.
Two slowly climbed the pyramid at the Egyptian site,
and took their clothes off for a quick shot. There was little light.
The Pyramid of Khufu is four-sixty feet up high;
above the city, man and woman, hugged in dusky sky.
Of course, a lot of people are upset by such an act;
it’s brazen, craven, misbehavin’, far-out fun, in fact.
The woman’s face has been obscured; it’s covered by a blot.
Euphoria had hit them both when they got to the top.
It was the culmination of a lot of work, and guts:
white clouds above in purple sky—Ach, Höhenvergiftung.
Ib Claus Weeder is a poet of Denmark. Höhenvergiftung is a German term meaning “height intoxication”.
by Cur A. Wildebees
It stands above the clouds, in northern Tanzania near
the Kenyan border—Kilomanjaro—appears up here—
above savannah plains, the huge, inactive vol-ca-no,
aloof, the tallest peak in Africa, so grand, alone.
The lower reaches of the mount are filled with evergreens,
which rise to arid, rocky scapes, that scrape the sight when seen;
those followed by fine, glacial scree, silt, desert setting land,
that’s topped with snowy caps between the craters eyes have scanned.
Its central cone, called Kibo, rises 19,000 feet;
below, giraffes and others stroll past flat acacia trees.
Cur A. Wildebees is a poet of African animals. The Kibo summit was first reached by German geographer Hans Meyer and Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller.
The Nobel Prize for Peace: December 2018
by Lars U. Ice Bedew
This year the Nobel Prize for Peace went to two activists
who strive in their own ways against sexual violence.
In Congo, Doctor D. Mukwege found a hospital
that treats and helps the victims of his nation’s constant hell,
where conflicts over mineral resources never halt
and armed groups profit from hard-labour mining by default.
Nadia Murad, a proud Yazidi, from war-torn Iraq,
despite her being kidnapped and abused, wants to go back.
Her hope is that at least some people will be made to pay
for the injustices her people fight day after day.
Lars U. Ice Bedew is a poet of Sweden. The following bilding of four years ago is by Useb El Cardew, a poet of the Middle East, describing the plight of the Yazidis, persecuted by Islamic Statists.
The Exodus: August 2014
by Useb El Cardewi
“There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars”
—T. S. Eliot
The exodus continues off of Mount Sinjar.
Yazidis cross the gray-green Tigris in the heat
fanned by fanatic flames. They flee on foot, in car,
escaping only with their lives, their eyes, their feet.
Reports of children crucified, and women raped,
men beaten or beheaded: all of these compete
with other mutilations, threats and deaths, all draped
in misery. Their eyes, long after having cried,
are drained of hope; their aching feet, in sandals, scraped,
are making it to camps about the countryside;
the distance there, the distance back, so hard, so far,
on dusty roadways of Iraq in genocide.
A Frankish Christmas Card, December 2018
by Claude I. S. Weber
“Noctis depelle nebulas, dirasque mortis tenebras…”
—12th Century Latin Text, “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel”
A terrorist in Strassbourg, shouting Allahu Akbar,
attacked the Christmas market with his handgun’s deadly mark.
He quickly killed three people, caused a dozen injuries,
and then he ran away, got in a cab and fled the scene.
Hate still is strong and mocks the longing for sweet peace on earth.
At times, like these, it seems, of hate-filled men, there is no dearth.
They want the deaths of others; good-will does not fill their minds.
They thrill in cruelty; they kill the innocent and kind.
In that, things have not changed since Herod murdered innocents,
just after baby Jesus got gold, myrrh and frankincense.
Claude I. S. Weber is a poet of France. The Latin: “Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight…”
by Arcideb Usewel
Alesia Museum sits in France, in Le Pre Haut;
although the battle’s been obliterated—in toto.
Its ornate, wooden herringbone facade exterior
reminds one of the timber for-ti-fi-ca-tions of yore.
Bernard Tschumi’s design upon the hilltop where it’s cast—
a slatted structure looking on the landscape of the past—
is circular, and offers openings that bring forth light,
through filtered interstices of the stone-enveloped site.
No Caesar will arrive, known by the colour of his robe,
nor freedom-loving Vercingetorix, his heart’s hope broke.
The tourists who will come will come to see the famous spot,
where Gauls two-thousand years ago fought on till they could not.
Arcideb Usewel is a poet absorbed by the architectonics of a poem.
The Ancient Poet
by Aedile Cwerbus
There are those who judge me ferociously; one goes beyond
the limits of good taste conceded to the genre’s pond;
and others do maintain that all I write lacks nerve and strength,
and verses similar to mine can be produced at length—
ten thousand in a day. My God, perhaps I need to stop.
I should not write another line, and let my poor muse drop.
The problem is, if I do that, I will not sleep at night.
Perhaps I need to grease myself and swim the Tiber thrice,
or irrigate my restless body with the likes of wine
and summon up the courage to show rulers aren’t divine.
Alas, I lack the strength. Not everyone can speak of those
brave Frenchmen dying or Iranians killed by their foes.
If I could write of justice, as Lucilius once did,
or like Horatius could do, when the occasion bid;
then, if one heeds my words, which rarely happens in this place,
I’d likely rub him wrong, and he’d respond with little grace.
Buffoons and wastrels hover round with envy, hate and dread.
What can I do? Start dancing when the wine-fumes hit my head?
See double moons, like Mr. Flood? or box with Pollox’ myth?
I’ll take my pleasure fitting words, like L— and H—, thick pith.
Aedile Cwerbus is a poet of ancient Rome.
Solomon Lefschetz (1884-1972)
by Euclidrew Base
Though Russian-born of Turkish parents, his first tongue was French;
at twenty-one off to th’ US went Solomon Lefschetz.
Trained as an engineer, he soon found work at Westinghouse;
but both hands were burnt off when a lab accident went south.
Though deep depression followed, so did mathematic thought,
he then became a citizen, and wed, despite his lot.
His wife helped him endure his handicap; and he went off
to Kansas, where he taught and wrote and thought, a college prof.
It was his lot to plant the harpoon of topology
in, algebraic’lly, the whale of geometry.
Like Captain Ahab, he pursued the Moby Dick of math,
and added to its ever-growing oceanic path.
Near the Arlington National Cemetery
by Brice U. Lawseed
for Michael Curtis
It stands in bronze and granite in the traffic circle’s round,
a sculpture of the General—Dwight Eisenhower’s mound.
It stands upright, with hands akimbo, gazing outwardly,
day after day, in rain and shine, and does so hourly.
In uniform, the coat is draped upon the forearm’s slant.
Atop the head, it squarely sits—the circular, flat hat.
It stands in metal and in rock beside the changing trees,
that flutter with each season’s breeze, that grow and lose their leaves.
Near there where Holland Lane meets Eisenhower Avenue,
the statue stands, at Time’s command, in Alexandria.
Brice U. Lawseed is a poet of Washington DC. Michael Curtis is the sculptor of the statue.
At the Laundromat
by Des Wercebauli
His dryer and his washer were not working, so he had
to go off to the laundromat, so he could be clean clad.
In double rows round windowed holes, the washers shined and gleamed;
within, the sunshine glinted off the many white machines.
He took his clothes and put them in, and paid the service fee;
and then kicked back to wait until, they were done tum-bl-ing.
Once done and dried, he placed his clothes upon the table there.
He smiled while he pulled them up and shook them in the air.
O, he was very happy in the laundromat, it seems;
because while he was folding, he indulged in lovely dreams.
He took a selfie, as he shuffled through his whole routine,
and rested on a hand cart, one leg resting on its screen.
A silver chain around his neck, he felt a bit of glitz,
although his dryer and his washer still were on the fritz.
Des Wercebauli is a poet of work, whether at the factory, in the service economy, or doing ordinary chores inside the home.
To Get Through Life
by Erisbawdle Cue
To get through life one has to put up with a lot of crap;
one has to wait impatiently for stupid ad and app.
There is no time for loitering; you have to make the jump;
you cannot simply sit around upon your lazy rump.
And sadly, winning’s not enough; that is the easy part;
it matters more how well you do; and then do you have heart?
Not only must one still compete to reach the pure sublime;
but others try to wreck what you are doing all the time.
And ever must one keep improving; never is enough…
and, in addition, every part of this whole World’s rough.
Erisbawdle Cue is a poet of philosophy. One of his favourite games is Scrabble in all its various forms.