Here are a new painting and poem apropos the anniversary Saturday of China’s brutal suppression of peaceful democratic expression in Tiananmen Square on 4 June 1989—which is also my one-year anniversary of leaving the U.S.…
I left on the anniversary of Tiananmen Square.
Now you can’t read this in China.
That place and date crouch,
hidden in the shadows of memory
and its faceless censors,
unsalaried and ashamed.
My dictatorship is better than yours—
so those who stay
like to say.
It’s a pretention
that draws attention
to false choices
like Tony the Tiger or Toucan,
Neither wall nor waterboarding—or Yes, We Can.
The world is wider and narrower than that.
It is like a net thrown up against the night sky,
full of darkness and holding nothing but light.
Or a crane moving heavily across the blue,
not knowing where water begins and air ends,
but only sensing how the edge grows nearer,
although it was made for this flight.
How the change grows nearer,
although it chooses without choosing this fight.