Dreams of Men

by Jéanpaul Ferro

The sky in North Korea always leads to China,
dark during the day, bright plutonium yellow at night,

dogs sell human body parts along the country roads here,
humans cut off other human’s legs in the camps,

there is neither a half full nor a half empty glass,
there is neither a half full nor a half empty soul,

everyone knows the day they are going to die in North Korea,

there is torture and a life sentence in the political prisons
for when you are caught (it does not matter for what),

you have a 5-foot-by-5-foot underground cell,
you are hit, you are raped, and you are tortured,
you creep, you crawl, and you cower,
you are crushed, you are experimented on,
you are rushed off your feet by freezing water,
you are poisoned, starved, gassed, you are cut up,

you are told your dead children’s names over and over;

I smashed my fingertips so they would kill me,
but they laughed at me for over 3 ½ years instead,

I huddled in the corner all night and tried to dream—

dream of my fingertips touching the wet sands of the ocean,
dream of the bright garden stars rising out in the backyard,
dream of your hips with cinnamon and parsley,
dream of your body rising sunward like a blue sunflower,

dream of flying south over the distant mountain tops,
so we can die together in a beautiful peace.

Essendo Morti - Being Dead (Goldfish Press, 2009)

Jéanpaul Ferro's picture

A 10-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Jéanpaul Ferro’s work has appeared on National Public Radio, Contemporary American Voices, Columbia Review, Emerson Review, Connecticut Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Portland Monthly, Rattle Magazine, Arts & Understanding Magazine, and others. He is the author of All The Good Promises (Plowman Press, 1994), Becoming X (BlazeVox Books, 2008), You Know Too Much About Flying Saucers (Thumbscrew Press, 2009), Hemispheres (Maverick Duck Press, 2009) Essendo Morti – Being Dead (Goldfish Press, 2009), nominated for the 2010 Griffin Prize in Poetry; and Jazz (Honest Publishing, 2011), nominated for both the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize and the 2012 Griffin Prize in Poetry. He is represented by the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. Website: www.jeanpaulferro.com * E-mail: jeanpaulferro@netzero.net

Last updated August 30, 2011