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Three poems


He says that foremost

Mao Zedong was a poet,

and knew that all poetry

must at some level

be political, must

incite the reader to rebel

against complacency.

I say that Zhao Zhenkai

wrote as Bei Dao

as the ultimate act

of rebellion, sacrificing

his very identity.

He says that I

am anchored by

the weight of realism,

and I say that he

needs reeducation.

She says that neither

of us will ever write

the just open bloom

of spring’s first rose.


I do some

of my best thinking

he whispered,

when I think

of nothing at all.

Did you know

that if not

for the Babylonians

entire worlds

would be cubes.

In fact they were

for centuries.

It’s like sex

he continued,

it’s best when

you are celibate.

But then again

Bally shoes

are no longer

hand sewn,

and taro is best


room temperature.


After the stroke

he couldn’t remember

much, was the woman

in white who bathed him

his wife or someone

he slept with once

before he had gotten

married. Monogamy

was a word that he

remembered, though not

its meaning, or why he

had sworn to abide it.

When the aide brought

in the flowers, they smelled

familiar, like the odor

of capon slowly boiling

on the Sabbath stove.

He heard the concerto

small radio tinny, but it

sounded strange, gut

of cat sawed across strings

crying out against

the injustice of it all

and the chair against

the window, was it one

he sat on at the edge

of the stage, bowing

to the audience as

Mozart’s crescendo

still echoed in his ears.


Louis Faber is a poet and retired attorney and college literature teacher, residing in Rochester, New York and Coconut Creek, Florida. His work has previously appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle, Cold Mountain Review, Eureka Literary Magazine, Borderlands: the Texas Poetry Review, Midnight Mind, Pearl, Midstream, European Judaism, Greens Magazine, The Amethyst Review, Afterthoughts, The South Carolina Review and Worcester Review, among many others, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A book of poetry,The Right to Depart, was published by Plain View Press. Visit him at

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