Now to change;
rise to rearrange;
fix buckled tracks; iron out the cracked strange.

Time to take
off the human make-
up, look within and see beyond the fake:

catch and count
seeds in the air; mount
heaven’s stairs; stay aware; stay calm; pipe fount-

ains from seas;
drop tears under trees;
don’t be diverted by balmy follies;

and make sure
your next best thing, — bor-
ing, challenging, bland, hit, miss, grand, — is pure.


The Pulse Beneath the Skull Beneath the Hair

I go into the room. The telly’s on.
The room is empty. Everyone has gone.
Someone’s in the kitchen. Someone’s upstairs.
I sit to wait. I watch some news affairs.

I hear black U.S. Christ’yans shot down South.
Hear white supremacists with potty mouth.
See hurt, restraint, and anger choke brown necks —
revenge and grief compete until they’re wrecks.

Outside the window: Climate Change in June.
Inside my head. Insistent. Chinese. Tune.
It’s in my head. No-one would say it’s real
but as with Charleston deaths, we know and feel.
Scant news of Falun Gong but it is there.
The pulse beneath the skull beneath the hair.


The Continuing Persecution of Falun Gong around the World

For Thanh (Claire)

There are few
things I can give you.
Forbear, be good, and be true.

You return
to harsh lands; strict, stern;
pressures that make my eyes burn.

Here’s a few
thoughts to share with you:
forbear, be good, and be true.

and Vietnam: raw
skin stitched by the dragon’s claw.

Here’s a few
words I can give you:
forbear, be good, and be true.

Falun Gong
is where you belong.
Cultivate, and you’ll stay strong.

There are few
things I can give you.
Forbear, be good, and be true.


Notes: Claire is a Falun Gong practitioner. She was born in Vietnam and looks Chinese. She studied for a year and a half in the UK. She did not return home during this time and nor were any relatives or friends able to visit her.  She was in a class of twelve. All the other students were Chinese from mainland China where Falun Gong practitioners are harassed, beaten, tortured, and killed. She was apprehensive with them. Thanh does not speak Chinese. Most tutors thought she was Chinese and was comfortable in the Chinese group. The other students did not speak Vietnamese and were reluctant to include her in conversations using English, the language common to them all. Claire used the name Claire to make conversation easy with Westerners. However, she mixed mainly with Vietnamese students who weren’t Falun Gong practitioners. Vietnam is on a border with China and the single party state of the Communist Party of Vietnam restricts Falun Gong.  She returned to Singapore where her husband works. The city state has had misunderstandings of Falun Gong in the past. Claire has felt intimidated in the countries she has visited but remained true to Falun Gong. “To be true, good, and endure” are the core principles of Falun Gong.

Featured Image: A Falun Gong practitioner is injected with drugs, a common phenomenon in the persecution of Falun Gong.

Damian Robin lives in England. He works for an international newspaper. He lives with his wife and three children.


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