What are poems for?

                                      
A serious man
soft-spoken
red bandana

lost along a roadway
raised away from parents
exile
lost yourself in demonstrations
far from home
walked over the mountains
exile
5 days into China
tortured and beaten three months
to lead resistance
questions
amidst fists:
Why have you come
Who do you know
Who sent you
shadowy
railroaded
all the way to Lhasa in a cell
red flag
betraying
I studied English at Mumbai
poetry
Keats   Shelley
in another tongue
interrogators do not believe
Mumbai
words have power
poetry
clear as the sweeping headwaters of the Brahmaputra
roiling Tibet
turn swiftly down
at the Great Bend
rush down down down
to water Asia
poetry
fine mountain snow
circling
down down down
on the yak herder
20,000 feet of night
cordoned in cities
with a protective scroll
tiny houses
of beautiful images
no grass
and words
  
investigators took pity
not your need
sent you out of China
where Indian authorities
held you for a month
perhaps brainwashed
a spy for Beijing
anyone but 
a maker of the words
that saved you
imagining the lost fathers
who fought
betrayed perhaps
by nonviolence
or a homeland you have barely seen
perhaps the prison cells
or a warrior Tibet
cutting throats
but now
fighter of anger and greed
conjuring
a free Kom Amdo
the fiery invisible

U-tsang

and you and others
sword of nonviolence
blindly exiled
day by day
within it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *