A Chinese Man Contemplates Quitting the Communist Party

To be a communist party member
Or not to be, the question looms o’er me:
Is it nobler to accept and suffer
Its oppression and never be free,
Or t’ take a quiet stand and not submit;
To beat war drums, raise the sharp pen of truth
And sign my good name, declaring “I quit,
This regime is inhuman and uncouth.”

But what do I fear, and what holds me back?
To lose my job, lose face, or lose my life:
Is all I hold dear what it can attack?
Is not something in me safe from its knife?

Inside, my spirit cannot be held down;
I sign and wear some invisible crown.


Two Souls

Composed for Dad and Yuri on August 1, 2015, their mutual birthday

Now as the haze of heat of summer parts,
A mellow glow lights up the scenery,
As if a vise untightened from our hearts,
Released a distant world extraordinary.

A place where all our thoughts and feelings meet,
And chat upon the grassy plains at dusk,
“Oh, I see people there I’d like to greet
Those two souls will remember me I trust.”

I saunter over in the pleasant air,
The lightening bugs now darting to and fro,
The lush plants bend lazily without care,
I say, “As I recall in truth I know,

Two souls, splendid folks, born on the same day—
And I’ll squeeze you tight now you’ve crossed my way!”


Evan Mantyk is a high school English teacher in Upstate New York.

Featured Image: The torture of a Falun Gong practitioner by Zhiping Wang.

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One Response

  1. Aedile Cwerbus

    To an Etruscan Lord
    for Evan Mantyk

    “He probably did more than anyone in history
    to raise the level, at his time, of fickled poetry.”
    —Wir Sebeca Lude

    Maecenas, ancient royalty, descendant of the gods,
    protector of Italian glory and Rome’s sweetest sod,
    some are delighted by the shower of Olympic dust
    upon their chariots, post passing red-hot wheeled lust,
    raised up Earth’s masters, swelling busts, and granted noble palms,
    if fickled mobs compete to give out triple-honoured alms.

    But you, Maecenas, tactful, arduous, far-seeing, wise,
    assisted dread Octavian throughout his early rise,
    and aided Rome’s poetic talent, like Propertius,
    as well as Horace, Vergil, and the varied Rufuses.
    Although luxurious, inspiring mastery of Earth,
    o, noble one, you laboured hard t’ improve the heights of verse.


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