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Articles tagged "Famine"

Pillow

Both the seller And the buyer Have nothing to offer but themselves In Pyongyang’s marketplace The filters of cigarette butts Provided cotton for this blanket on display “Face-wash for sale!” The ladies shout And clutch at passers by With nothing to offer but a bowl of water For one face-wash The traders sit here To sell their poverty The reasons for their poverty Are on display In every street In every alley On the dark posters Of murderous intent:...

The Arduous March

We stayed in the mountain village up until we left the North. Before that, when we had been living in the farming village, we couldn’t afford to visit our relatives in China. But after a few years in our new location, we started applying for temporary passports so we could travel back and forth across the border. With both my father and mother making trips to China, our family seemed to be among the better off in the village. My father, who traveled frequently to procure materials...

A Rice Story

1 As harvest season begins, the field slowly reveals its bare body. The thousand-year-old promise is that you reap what you sow. The land of promise stretches out behind the footprints of man. Winds blow. Snow falls. Holding the aching cold of ice in its breast, it passes the long tunnel of summer, spewing pain and nourishment. Then, in silence, it offers up teardrops of rice.  2 Here in Seoul, there are people who make a fuss about saving rice from death. I don’t...

from “Black Rock”

Writer Yang Xianhui traveled around China interviewing survivors of the great famine of 1959.  He circumvented government censorship by adding details and presenting the results as fiction. In this chapter from his book The Dingxi Orphanage, a woman describes the horrific toll the famine took on her village. I grew up in the legendary Black Rock Village, a part of Xiangnan Township in Tongwei County. Old village folks used to recount a well-known tale: One night, with a loud...

Famine

Frogs invariably proliferate in a flood. My countries, crass latitudes and borders of hell, often encounter these blessed times. Winds and rains. Frogs. Toads. Pelobates and other pelodytes. Inflated rice paddies and the unmistakable stench of excavated death. Excavated lifted battered returned. The plague prowls and help is standing by to fill a few wallets. The world’s tears make good neighbors. Definite solidarity, international s’il-vous-plaît, on the silt of...

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