I am in Taiwan

by Stephen Douglas Wright


It was said:
There shall be wars and rumors of wars,
Famines and earthquakes
Kingdom against kingdom,
And these things must pass,
Though it will not yet be the end

This year:
Australia was on fire
Locusts swept through Africa
My country and so many others,
Beset by disease

What else have I forgotten?
Even unforgotten, what do I omit?
The newscycle eats history and people
I don’t know if I’m in its mouth
Or watch from a closing distance

I worry :
For my parents,
family and friends
I don’t know if they are in its mouth
Or watch from a closing distance

I am in Taiwan:
The lion mauled the bodies of other earth
Only nipping the paw
Of this tortoise-shell island
On whose back mountains grow
And whose tragedies and wars
Have only been, to me,
Rumors and memories of tragedies and wars
Past and future
Covered by concrete and jungle

Here:
All my sadness
Of which these distant happenings
Are only a part
Becomes as insignificant as the sand ,
Carried eastward with the waves,
Until east, having gone so far,
becomes west And I, this sand,
drift back to my homeshore 



Stephen Douglas Wright is a poet and playwright from Michigan and living in Taitung, Taiwan. He holds a bachelor of arts degree with majors in theater, philosophy and political science from Aquinas College. His poems have been published in Aquinas College’s Sampler, and in Michigan’s Best Emerging Poets 2019. He will be published in Menteur Magazine. Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC.  Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.