Tiananmen Square Sequence
the Chinese student revolt
has sent all the western analysts
scurrying to their Sunday talk shows:
optimistic dreams about Miss Liberty
whose lamp shines over a polluted harbor
where little men & women race for
more & bigger better lives &
new! improved! ways of making cold
hard cash, avoiding above all any
talk of breath & death.
these students have open eyes.
may they sit, & hear the silence.
close the book; turn off the lamp.
you, too, may find light in the dark
& see the thread you hang on.
The Avenue of Eternal Peace
bullets spray; bodies’re carried off.
troops advance from east & west
toward the portrait of Mao
where the students man barricades
with rocks & broken bottles.
we wait, & listen for dispatches
bringing what news can get out:
once, we too dreamed
we’d sing our way to peace:
I send this slender prayer for you.
the lips & cheeks now quiver
in the white light,
in the white room.
the body is bent forward
on a chair, against a wall
facing its accusers:
soldiers with machine guns.
the eyes face the floor.
& now, from the lips & tongue,
abjectly, the apology.