Rick Hartwell

The Re-Education of Zhu Yufu

There is much to learn
in re-educating the poet –
You can’t take away all
desire he sees in the world, or
remove hunger seen in the land; or
blind the beauty he sees within you.
You can’t take away songs
he hears of birds singing,
or the raw tinkling sound
of spiraling wind chimes;
soft sigh of wind in trees.
You can’t take away earthy
smells of honest days’ labor,
or the pungency of dung
strewn, plowed into fields;
whiffs of rice cakes with
jasmine tea allowed others
on their last visiting day.
You can’t take away the taste of
brass in the poet’s mouth after his
most recent protocol lesson,
or a remembrance of wet lips;
last kisses before parting.
You can’t take away fingers
tracing old scars as if they were
nipples of a first and lost love;
mixed feelings of shame and
satisfaction as the poet voids
his bladder after marching on
parade for most of the day.
You can’t take away a mind’s
longing to be known by the
simplest names: writer, poet, man.
Perhaps it is true, poet Zhu Yufu
can be broken, can be re-educated;
however, only the point may break
leaving the body of the pencil intact.
honed, whetted, poised to write again.

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school English teacher living in Southern California with his wife of thirty-six years (poor soul; her, not him), their disabled daughter, one of their sons and his ex-wife and their two children, and twelve cats. Yes, twelve! He believes in the succinct; that less can be more; the least can be the best. He was nominated by Red Poppy Review for Sundress’ Best of the Net 2011. When not writing Rick wishes he were still pushing plywood in Coquille, Oregon.

(author retains copyright)