Posts tagged ‘2000’

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Burying Them by Ha Jin (Jin Xuefei)

At last our Emperor gave orders—we began
confiscating books and rounding up scholars
who had slandered the royal family
using ancient stories to mock the present.

All books in our Empire had to be surrendered
to officials within a month, except those
on agriculture, divination, and medicine.
Disobeyers would have their clans erased.

About five hundred scholars were taken
to Bliss Hall to be tried by the ministers
who matched them in learning and eloquence.
Our swords were gleaming in the sunlight

that poured in through the open windows.
How pasty their faces suddenly turned.
They pointed a finger at one another
trying every trick to save their own skins;

some peed and crapped in their robes,
one stopped breathing before his trial.
Thank heaven for the divine retribution—
over four hundred of them were hauled out

and dumped into their joint grave.
We had fun, slapping and spanking them
with our swords before we knocked them down.
Of what use were their clever tongues?

Where were their headfuls of knowledge?
Under our shovels, in the smoke of books,
they screamed Mother and called us Brothers,
but no words could deter cascades of dirt.


Date: 2000

By: Ha Jin (Jin Xuefei) (1956- )

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Isaac by Amber Genevieve Flynn

it was gravity that broke our hearts
our rustic love felled soundlessly
by some brown man’s axe

We’d gone up to the woods in dark
my dress your boots
our cool ears and fingers
tasted there the moss and fog

But as the sun rose
our bodies broke and splintered
toppled to the leafy floor
perished with the crisper light of sunrise.

From: Flynn, Amber Genevieve, “Isaac” in Westerly, Volume 45, November 2000, p. 45.

Date: 2000

By: Amber Genevieve  Flynn (fl. 2000)

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

World War II; or, The English Lesson by Georgia Scott

It’s just too much to say.
The “w’s” make a comedy of her mouth.

The lips, so lush in Polish,
wobble back and forth,

do a Marilyn Monroe walk
in skirts so tight

every step is a pain.


Date: 2000

By: Georgia Scott (19??- )

Monday, 23 November 2020

Domestic Song by Katarzyna Borun-Jagodzinska

You’ll have as much happiness
as you have string in your hand,
you’ll have as much warmth
as coal in your cellar,
you’ll have as much light
as windows in your wall,
you’ll have as many enemies
as you’re able to obtain.

You’ll have as much heart
as the kind you were born with,
you’ll have as much taste
as gall on your lips,
the same amount of freedom
you can walk from wall to wall,
the same hope
as you can hold there in your hands.

Your house is as high
as you can reach your fingers,
the fields as wide
as your eyes can glean.
And you yourself are your own judge and jury,
you yourself your own prize and pain.


Date: 1989 (original in Polish); 2000 (translation in English)

By: Katarzyna Borun-Jagodzinska (1956- )

Translated by: Georgia Scott (19??- ) and David Malcolm (1952- )

Monday, 17 August 2020

Scold’s Bridle by Jean Frances

I held back secrets
long fermenting in my belly
desperate for your approval
I must not tear out
the roots of our promises

Stop up your ears
so I am not forced
to choke back venom
Let me lift this child-mask
from my face
spit out the mustard
painted on my tongue
excrete the toxin
trapped beneath my skin

And let me speak as a woman
before the fastening
is hammered home again


Date: 2000

By: Jean Frances (19??- )

Monday, 22 June 2020

The Displaced of Capital by Anne Winters

“A shift in the structure of experience…”
As I pass down Broadway this misty late-winter morning, the city is ever alluring, but thousands of miles to the south
the subsistence farms of chickens, yams and guava
are bought by transnationals, burst into miles
of export tobacco and coffee; and now it seems the farmer
has left behind his plowed-under village for an illegal
partitioned attic in the outer boroughs. Perhaps
he’s the hand that emerged with your change
from behind the glossies at the corner kiosk;
the displaced of capital have come to the capital.

The displaced of capital have come to the capital,
but sunlight steams the lingerie-shop windows, ?the coffee bar
has its door wedged open, and all I ask of the world this morning is to pass down my avenue, find
a fresh-printed Times and an outside table;
and because I’m here in New York the paper tells me of here:
of the Nicaraguans, the shortage of journeyman-jobs, ?the ethnic
streetcorner job-markets where men wait all day but more ?likely the women
find work, in the new hotels or in the needle trades,
a shift in the structure of experience.

A shift in the structure of experience
told the farmer on his Andean plateau
“Your way of life is obsolescent.”–But hasn’t it always ?been so?
I inquire as my column spills from page one
to MONEY&BUSINESS. But no, it says here the displaced
stream now to tarpaper favelas, planetary barracks
with steep rents for paperless migrants, so that they
remit less to those obsolescent, starving
relatives on the altiplano, pushed up to ever thinner air and soil;
unnoticed, the narrative has altered.

Unnoticed, the narrative has altered,
but though the city’s thus indecipherably orchestrated
by the evil empire, down to the very molecules in my brain
as I think I’m thinking, can I escape morning happiness,
or not savor our fabled “texture” of foreign
and native poverties? (A boy tied into greengrocer’s apron,
unplaceable accent, brings out my coffee.) But, no, it says here
the old country’s “de-developing” due to its mountainous
debt to the First World–that’s Broadway, my cafe
and my table, so how can I today
warm myself at the sad heartening narrative of immigration?
Unnoticed, the narrative has altered,
the displaced of capital have come to the capital.


Date: 2000

By: Anne Winters (1939- )

Friday, 12 June 2020

The British by Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah

Serves 60 million

Take some Picts, Celts and Silures
And let them settle,
Then overrun them with Roman conquerors.

Remove the Romans after approximately 400 years
Add lots of Norman French to some
Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Vikings, then stir vigorously.

Mix some hot Chileans, cool Jamaicans, Dominicans,
Trinidadians and Bajans with some Ethiopians, Chinese,
Vietnamese and Sudanese.

Then take a blend of Somalians, Sri Lankans, Nigerians
And Pakistanis,
Combine with some Guyanese
And turn up the heat.

Sprinkle some fresh Indians, Malaysians, Bosnians,
Iraqis and Bangladeshis together with some
Afghans, Spanish, Turkish, Kurdish, Japanese
And Palestinians
Then add to the melting pot.

Leave the ingredients to simmer.

As they mix and blend allow their languages to flourish
Binding them together with English.

Allow time to be cool.
Add some unity, understanding, and respect for the future,
Serve with justice
And enjoy.

Note: All the ingredients are equally important. Treating one ingredient better
than another will leave a bitter unpleasant taste.

Warning: An unequal spread of justice will damage the people and cause
pain. Give justice and equality to all.

From: Zephaniah, Benjamin, Wicked World!, 2000, Puffin Books: London, pp. [unnumbered].

Date: 2000

By: Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah (1958- )

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Civilized by Doris Seale

Not so loud.
Not so sad.
Not so happy.
Not so mad.
Not so flamboyant
Not so goddammed Indian.

From: Seale, Doris, Ghost Dance: New and Selected Poems, 2000, Oyate: Sonoma, California.

Date: 2000

By: Doris Seale (1936-2017)

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Giving Poetry Readings by Donna Brook

I don’t want to say, “This is called . . .”
when I’m the one who called it this.

I don’t want to explain a poem to people.
I want them to explain it to me.

I don’t want to pull rabbits out of top hats.
But I’d love to hold a rabbit by its silky ears
and pull a hat out of its bottom,
popping the hat open as if I were Fred Astaire
without getting rabbit shit on anyone.

And this little number
which I extracted from the asshole
of a timid but multiplying woodland creature
is from the heart, dedicated to you
and yours,
and theirs.

I don’t want to commit egotism under the guise of art.
How about art under duress
and over the top;
how about that
and then this
and then what you’ve always wanted
in the way of magical and communal and possessed?

From: Brook, Donna, “Giving Poetry Readings.” Ploughshares, vol. 26, no. 4, 2000, p. 42.

Date: 2000

By: Donna Brook (1944- )

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Sentimental Moment Or Why Did the Baguette Cross the Road? by Robert Hershon

Don’t fill up on bread
I say absent-mindedly
The servings here are huge

My son, whose hair may be
receding a bit, says
Did you really just
say that to me?

What he doesn’t know
is that when we’re walking
together, when we get
to the curb
I sometimes start to reach
for his hand.


Date: 2000

By: Robert Hershon (1936- )