Tiananmen Square Sequence


            Tiananmen Square


                                    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. 




Spider Writhing in Lamplight


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:

brothers, sisters,

I send this slender prayer for you.



The Apology


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.