poetry Myanmar Military in Pursuit of Poetry
Myanmar Military in Pursuit of Poetry
— Including two excerpts of incriminating lines
By Phyllis Klein
They shoot down hands filled with artilleries
of verse, beat up feet filing into lines
of protest. They shoot at heads
but they do not know that revolution
lives in the heart. In darkness, in daylight,
minds and hearts bulleted, to make them
stop. But no silence. Poetry sharpens its quills,
aims arrows into its targets. They began to burn
the poets when the smoke of burned books could
no longer choke the lungs heavy with dissent.
Now their smoke is everywhere as poets are doused
and matched. And still they write. Scratch words
into cell walls with rocks, or with metal on plastic—
bitter-cold vinyl ballads. Or memorized signposts
of the mind, indelible. Troubadours of protest
in waves of heat. In monsoons on horizons.
On every street in the world. Pursued by silver-ribboned
militias climbing up a tyrannical ladder. Nibs filled
with poison-to-the-wicked-ink. Fingerprints cupping my
face, your face, walls of alarms clanging
against silence, revolutions of clocks’ hands.
Phyllis Klein’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She is a finalist in the Sweet Poetry Contest, 2017, the Carolyn Forche Humanitarian Poetry Contest, 2019, and the Fischer Prize, 2019. She was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2018 and again in 2020. She has a new book, The Full Moon Herald, from Grayson Books that just won honorable mention for poetry from the Eric Hoffer Book Award, 2021.