Space dog of Moscow,
In my school books I learned
That you orbited the earth – yet I never
asked how you returned.
I learned only late,
in my twenty-seventh year
That you didn’t survive at all --My God, the fear
You must have felt then, in hundred-plus heat
The loneliness of that death, the impossible feat
Of unchosen courage, stranded above the earth
Not knowing how long
The pain would last, or whence its source
Sometimes I think
that your incomprehensible fate
Is as grave or graver an indictment
Of every worker’s state
And every five year plan and
five minutes’ hate
Than the very foulest splurge
Of Stalin’s great purge --
As well as of the misnamed human-
“kind” in general
That enclosed you in Sputnik II,
And of every sapient ameliorative scheme
That cannot redeem
This thing that was done to you.
Hundred Flowers Campaign
"The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend is designed to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science."
Of course you should speak openly
You were told
Has the party not always welcomed criticism?
What hope can there be
For us to do better
If we do not even know
What needs to improve?
So you raise your hand
Only to discover
That the promised openness was for someone else
Or for some other
Words than whatever it was
You just shared
(All this conveyed instantaneously
through blank yet menacing stares)
And you say you had not meant to
Condemn the leaders in the slightest
You had not realized, forgive you,
That your words were those
Of a rightist!
I once heard tell
From a professor of German
There is a habit in her country of taking
One’s employees out for drinks
In the course of which one tells them
“Henceforward, you may address me as Du!”
A tantalizing taste of familiarity, more frightening
And deadly at last than tyranny
Because everyone was drunk when the promise was made
And, next morning, no one knows
Whether to regard it as true.
"Trump takes two scoops of ice cream with his chocolate cream pie, TIME reported, while everyone else around the table gets just one."
When I see the pin of Kim Jong-Il or -Un’s face
Gracing the front of every North Korean shirt,
That this is exactly the sort
Of society based around himself that our current president
Would like to erect
Given half a chance.
And are they not similar?
The dictators of Pyongyang and Mar-
a-Lago, they were all
Poor princes, cursed
With wealth and power and illusions of
Immortality and importance
From day one
They never had a chance.
And it wouldn’t be so scary if there were a range of views
On whether or not
he’d try it
(Kim Jong-Unifying the land, that is)
But horror of horrors: his most ardent supporters,
Would not, I don’t think