Saturday, 18 February 2023 10:16

let’s have more poets like Xu Lizhi

Written by
in Poetry
1153
let’s have more poets like Xu Lizhi

let’s have more poets like Xu Lizhi

by Martin Hayes

Xu Lizhi was a poet and worker at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen. He commited suicide in 2014 by jumping off the roof of his dormitory building

let’s have more poets like Xu Lizhi
let’s have more of their iron exposed
like the fella in Dormitory 2
who opened his belly to the moon
with a rusty knife

let’s have more poets like Zheng Xiaoqiong
writing about the woman she slept next to in Dormitory 6
who carved an X into her breast
every month she couldn’t send money back to her family in Sichuan Province
until it fell off

let’s have more poets
who have lived and seen things
let’s have more poets
who want to speak above the din of the machines
let them
drown out these non-poets with non-sentences that non-resonate

let’s have more poets
who carry their hands home with them
with fingers missing
let’s have more poets
rooted into the red earth
with more guts rather than more words

let’s have more poets like that

not poets who turn a blind eye
pretending to be unwed to these machines
not poets who want to describe
a pot of flowers

please
let us have more poets
with if not fingers missing
then something else that separates them
from the very damaged worn down utterly exhausted water nymph river

we don’t need any more water nymphs
they only romanticise the pain
in Dormitory 8
there are real people
with a left arm missing
and both legs torn from the knee down

let’s have more poets like Xu Lizhi
please
let us have
more of them

Read 1153 times Last modified on Saturday, 18 February 2023 10:41
Martin Hayes

Martin Hayes has worked in the courier industry for 30 years. His latest collection is The Things Our Hands Once Stood For, published by Culture Matters.