An Asian dissident, 1983

 

I met a man who drank 

vodka from a saucer.

He spent 3½ hours 

 

in my life. 

Addict-thin, his shirt 

clung flimsy to narrow shoulders, 

 

a drawstring supported 

his trousers. He wore thick leather 

sandals. They anchored him.

My friends said he 

 

was a poet. Was he?

I canÕt recall his name.

Nor can I remember all he 

 

said that afternoon.

He railed against the

government and 

 

injustice. He said he knew 

      ÒtheyÓ 

were after him.

He told me I was naive

to believe otherwise.

 

A dangerous curiosity?

A harmless alcoholic?

 

He died a week later in

police custody. Circumstances 

unknown.

 

 

 

 

And I'm hoping that this new poem will help all those suffering with cancer (as I was) to rally and fight back:

 

A declaration of war

 

I cannot see you.

They tell me you are there,

Going about your devious work.

Sly.  Opportunistic.

 

Whispers nurture your aggression.

                ÒDonÕt let him know the truth.

                Not yet.  Not yet.Ó

 

Well, enjoy your celebrity status while you can, my friend.

Your twilight fame is ephemeral.

 

We wonÕt negotiate, you and I;

What is there to trade?

Your intentions are perfectly clear.

Nothing less than invasion, outright occupation.

 

Be damned if you will!

We will stop you at the gates.

And if we donÕt?

The ultimate victory will still be mine:

Should I die, so shall you.

 

© James Aitchison