[This poem is read by the author ]
What has visited me?
The great gray spectre of Market Street?
Grandma Kwan Yin has taken my seat on the 30 Stockton bus
Weighed down with kosher chickens, cut scallions,
The nine ingredients of health and prosperity
She will dole out lucky red envelopes with gold embossed
Double happiness blessings
to all the fat buddha babies of Chinatown
But can she fill the shriveled stomach of homelessness?
Or stop the explosions of bombs?
And where will all the plastic bags of tomorrow go?
To the banks of the Tigris? To the caves of Bamiyan?
Will they hold enough food for the dying?
Will they hold enough compassion to cool
The angry heels of American youth?
Or to comfort the children of Iraq?
You must believe in karma
Because as luck would have it
All the chickens have come home to roost at our table
And nothing is being served, all the shelves are empty
And dust enshrouds the Cathedral Malls
Where paper gods preach from video altars and
Cash registers syncopate Dow-ist mantras
Two-and-a-half points up!
Standard Poor’s, three-and-a-quarter down!
What will the Angel of Mercy bring to the celebration?
One thousand year old eggs preserved in black mud?
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches air-dropped from bombers?
The food of the gods has long been regurgitated
There will be no more banquets this year
The haves will not have, the have nots have nothing
but the crumbs of promises and
together they will all be sitting at the table
to eat to eat to eat
This poem appears in Child of War: Poems by Genny Lim 2003.
Genny Lim also reads Marilyn Buck’s “Rescue the Word.”
poems © the authors
compilation © The Freedom Archives