bloody spring

in Beijing
with Mei Ling
she was 4 foot
six inches tall
yes she was very small

inside the square
when we were there
it was 1989
and the party line
we dared to cross that line

and in my hand
I held her tiny hand
she squeezed mine tight
all day and night
for we were very scared

on June 3rd
we overheard
the sound of shots
they rang out all around
those shooting sounds

students on the ground
as tanks rolled in
on the morning’s wing
I lost Mei Ling
in the uprising’s fall

yes she was very small
despite herĀ standing tall
she was bigger than most of us
and there could be no doubt
when her cries rang out

that our time had died
as the shadows sighed
our voices quelled
in Beijing
in that bloody spring

 

(with a nod to Lou Reed’s ‘Berlin’)

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The Day After

we crowded round the party table
with neon halos in our hair
our bare feet on the kitchen floor
bread and wine to share
you said that one of us was bad
and in the morning we would see
how careless words cause chaos
our futures not so free

nothing else matters

you are up there

balanced momentarily on the edge
fingertips touching the sun
the taste of your heartbeat on your tongue
startled air fizzing in your lungs

on the coping
on the crest of a wave
on the cusp of immortality

the descent is a controlled dive
a countdown to the next ecstasy
a wall of water or concrete curve
elemental in that instant
friend and foe

you went in search of perfection
and why not?
the world is your playground
there is no greater feeling than this

you call it freedom

and when you are up there on the edge
fingertips touching the sun
heart in mouth
lungs bursting

nothing else matters

Summit

I am tired of being angry with this world
of walking up mountains that landslide beneath my feet
dodging boulders that come tumbling across my path

I want to reach some sort of summit and stay there
hold my head up high to the sun and enjoy the view
happy in the knowledge I have found freedom

at last.