Marks and Angles

An old word on a path of a thousand miles
begins with a single faux pas
said Laozi of the Dao De Jing

More than a two-step to completion
of propaganda and subversion —
it takes a bat and a virus to conquer.

Peace on the road
was to be woven
in friendships for
fair weather, a shrewd
bounty before fool’s storms,

in malice from unforeseen red feuds,
Jane’s tale was to fail in bans soon.

The Wuhan plague
brought chaos, and

when all the local stores failed
the aristocrats pro temp bought them
and Jane’s requiem began to play

Jane had gone batty
over the Summer:

older daughter home,
younger daughter beaten
dead by the gangs, and

she had been annoyed by
the constant chants on the speakers
of the Chinese language lessons
needed to earn guanxi like “1984”.

She had thought
fall would be better:
the eldest jumped for joy
when she was accepted
to a tuition-free school
as good as Harvard, a
part of the Red Ivy League, funded by
the Confucius Friendship Society

Pandora’s box
had bats in it for Jane.

Her decline was sealed
the day the grocery store
checked her credit score:
The princeling who owned it
refused to serve her because
she didn’t have enough caution
in social credits for conformity:
a black mark for twice not
wearing a red mask and
not passing her basic
Chinese language test.

All the stores had been
taken over by the princelings
after the coup d’etat, so
Jane had to walk far away
for an Amerigo Supermarket.

Walking was a complicated fate:
she had to hang with
the ‘hood committee
to negotiate with the gangs
just for a safe passage.
(The citizen’s police
had no guns anymore)

Sitting at the window
she had a heart attack
when protestors
burned the Constitution
in a surise red fire
by the dawn’s early light

Proudly, great progress
was hailed without bullets
on the conveyance belt
and roadway to hell.