Chinese Cameo 5

A glinty dental check-up’s made my day –
some skiffs of plaque, no ominous decay …

A shiny, multi-jointed arm in white
displayed a tray of steely tools laid tight.

These instruments were danced before my eyes
by latex’d fingers coloured like blue skies.

I’d lain back on that fine upholstered chair,
enjoyed that healthy, antiseptic care …

While strolling back from this precisioned skill
up the steep, awkward, homeward hill,

my mind gripped tight: raw gums of Wang Jingyi
untoothed by pliers for his constancy –

behind his lips, how food and breath caused pain …
how even toothbrush uses can cause pain …



Chinese Cameo 8

On one curtain in our ‘new’ front room,
this awkward daub of paint looks like a womb,
a uterus with its fallopian
tubes, becalmed in muted retro tan
same as the flanking walls we have replenished,
which look much better now the detail’s finished.

This current curtain mistake must be washed,
cleaned, got rid of, eradicated, quashed,
like a blood smudge on a prison wall
or ‘birthing room’ where dun fluids fall
with a slop on a glist’ning bucket fetus
more than a million billion steps from us
where single children make a family
and gain good growth in Sino currency.

The Chinese regime has relaxed its one child per couple policy to allow couples to have two children if one of the couple was a single child. However, forced abortions are still happening.


Chinese Cameo 9

As Party movers drop their stomping boots
to relocate in Western Power Suits,
their soldiers keep their straight chins keeled in tracts
which navigate the molten Party’s pacts.

These armies, long the breeds of scarcities,
like graduates from universities,
had hungry parents file their minds each day
with gongs and coins and ribbons on a tray.

Lined up in lines while flapping by the flag,
so job development stayed “in the bag”,
the ranks internalised the Pioneers
til Party leaders’ praise packed up their ears.

Now look how sharp they look and how they march
through foreign campus yards and Peace Gate arch.

In China, the Pioneers or Young Pioneers is a Communist Party organisation for children between 7 and 14. They swear an oath under the flag to follow the lead and teachings of the Party, to study, work, and labour well, and to prepare and sacrifice all energy for Communism.
It is the first of three Party organisations, the second being the Youth League, and the third the Party. Each has significant social boost.
Peace Gate arch – Tiananmen 天安门 has the characters symbolising Heaven, Peace, and Gate. The main Tiananmen Square building has five gateways like tunnels or arches.


Chinese Cameo 10

In educated spheres of influence
a lot is practical and common sense.
You cannot talk of love or truth or God
because, if not political, they’re odd.

And ‘social good’ means ‘mattered property’
not long-groomed graces like Propriety.
You cannot ask in rounded conversation
about a higher being or cultivation.

“Drums, flags and loyalty parades” –
with “struggles and self-sacrifice” – aids
the honoured threat of Chinese socialism

whose power base of periodic schism
has kept taut subjects sternly on the ground
and stifled talk of heaven being found.

“Drums, flags and loyalty parades” and “struggles and self-sacrifice”
are phrases from George Orwell’s “Review of Mein Kampf” 1940
[ Penguin 2013 ]
Mein Kampf [‘My Struggle’, ‘My Fight’] by Adolf Hitler, the founder of National Socialist in Germany, is not easy to obtain in China. His anti-human nature has often been compared to Mao Zedong; and the World War II Holocaust or Shoah compared to the attempted eradication of Falun Gong in China.
There are other comparisons between Hitler’s era and the rule of the Chinese Communist Party.


Chinese Cameo 11

The Party’s perilous with foreign cash.
It squats it, feigning dignity and dash:
a lumpen movement burdening a thrown,
bearing down with unbalked buttock bone:
the heavy-weight of global money rule
the talking world would dash and ridicule
if its sharp accounting weren’t so cruel
down to pricing up each torture tool.

Each deal’s not coin caught in a begger’s cup,
emptied, spent, downed, not added up.
Each cruel silent handshake, comes at cost:
indebted, double-ledgered, marked, not lost.

The air we breathe retains all common trade.
Transactions with the Party will be paid.

See Amnesty International’s September 2014 report
“China Trade in Tools of Torture and Repression”


Chinese Cameo 12

Life flows freely, Life runs smooth, Life
is eager to approve. Life’s heart is Life:
the living, growing, over-flowing that keeps
going through cloying, doughing, slowing, creeps.

It’s also filthy. All so mean. Life
turns ugly; gross; demeans. Life is rife
with double deals, unbalance, two-face strife –
warm butter dripping from a bloodied knife.

Life is queasy, greasy, slipshod, slop,
a good example is that China shop
where corners clip and safeguards crack and fall
and face-lost souvenirs line aisle and wall.

Like cowboy buffalos ripped off for pelt
can China’s assets stand what they’ve been dealt?

With deliberate corruption, and workers brought in from rural areas, and with the huge increase in manufacture, quality and safety controls have been hard to devise and implement in China. This has caused workers problems as well as goods carrying sickness to buyers. It also depletes the country’s natural resources.


Damian Robin is a poet living in England.

Painting: “Behind the beauty—products made by forced labor in prison” by Huimin Wang. Painting description from Behind the beauty of this lady is her experience of brutal persecution. How many bloody tears lie behind the beautiful flowers? The artist was illegally arrested and detained in a labor camp in Guangdong province. The products she made in the labor camp included silk flowers and stuffed toys exported to Europe. She worked 15 to 16 hours a day, often through the night. She was deprived of sleep until she met her production quota. She once protested the treatment she received and refused to work. She was handcuffed and hung up for three days. She also witnessed the brutality fellow Falun Gong practitioners endured. Many were beaten, handcuffed and hung with only one toe touching the ground for 40 consecutive days. Prisoners depicted in the paintings are Falun Gong practitioners in prisons and labor camps

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