Lamenting our Complicity in the Installation of Suicide Nets

I met a “bum” outside an Apple store
holding a sign which read: “I’m taking bets.”
“On what?” I said. “On something that’d abhor
maybe the most insensate, calloused vets.”
I curiously said to tell me more.
He had no problem, being garrulous:
“In China, in the dorms, the employees
will jump the window to forget the fuss
of toiling with iPhones— O the bane
of treating people like robotic bees!
I bet that, from now on, you won’t forget
the pain resultant from another’s gain.
You will envision a suicide net
and you’ll shop different cause we’re all to blame.”


Featured Image: Nets hung to prevent suicides outside an Apple factory in China.



An underground Catholic mass in China.


Notes from the Underground

1. The priest is wearing a white vestment, offering
Mass, juxtaposed with the Cross. Moles aren’t adept
as us, when it comes to living this way, hiding…
We are the Underground, subterranean, swept
by cruel, Communist China, into the gutters,
Church. There’re old newspapers on the wall. I have kept
this hole, my basement, for this purpose, since Mao. Sirs,
please don’t forget about us. Since Stephen was stoned
we’ve been persecuted around the world. The curs,
if they knew about this, would castrate me. We’re owned
like cattle. But in the corner, our Holy King,
Ghost— “Behold the Lamb—” arrives like a blade that’s honed!

2. Lord, I’m not worthy to have you under ceiling!
Our world is black and white. There is bad and there’s good.
In 1949 our ecclesiastic ring,
our infrastructure, the Catholic Church which had stood,
was infiltrated by the Communists. Expelled
by the hundreds, were missionaries, priests. The flood—
red—in 1957, swelled fatly. Felled
like trees, put in prison-labor camps, were faithful,
peaceable—but, alas, theistic—Catholics, held
and brainwashed, tortured, aborted, sterilized. “Cull
the religious!” was— O Lord — IS! — their motto. The thing
with China, though, is worldly. You make my soul full.

3. I am very old. Life is very long— Yea right.
There is darkness and there’s light. He holds the Wafer
high. It’s like a moon. My girl wears a shawl. To right
my grandchildren, her sons, reverently serve Father.
They stand. My daughter and niece kneel on an old bed.
The striped sheets crinkle. My wife’s shawl is darkness. Her
sister kneels next to her. (I love my family.) Head
is sober with repentance. Who said Religion
is the opium of the people? Who had said
that? I read it somewhere. In China it’s a sin
to read anything they don’t tell you to. The fight
goes on, Caesar v. Christ, who do you think will win?

4. In ’57 the Chinese Patriotic
Catholic Association was formed. It rejects
the Holy See. It was largely therapeutic
keeping, even, this new church around. The effect,
they hoped, would be like a city park: You couldn’t
take Nature away completely. You had to respect
human inklings. One needs green. One shouldn’t
take God away entirely. One should be god!
There was corruption; but the stouthearted wouldn’t
be duped. So we burrowed…. In the end, the rod
of the Reds, persecution, martyrdom, the stick
is nil. Our lighted hole’s palatial with God!


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