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Saturday, February 10, 2024


by Indran Amirthanayagam

We are gathering in Kansas City,

poets and publishers, writers

and editors: our people, friends,

colleagues, rivals. But I am

skipping the encounters. I don't

want to rub anything or anyone

except for the keyboard where

I compose this letter of resig-

nation, aware of the moving

staircase, the precipice, rocks

falling from the sky, aware

of train. bus and car wrecks

to come, bombs dropped

on friends' homes and cultures,

fireballs rolling through Chile's

Viña del Mar, vine now of fire

and mourning, through hills

near Valparaiso where

I fear cobblers and tailors

and hardware stores with

their giant signs have 

become ash, in memory, 

thy kingdom come, thy will…

how can we explain our 

suicidal impulse, this expelling 

of hot gas, assaulting 

of children and women 

in Gaza, famine threatening

that strip, and Ethiopia 

again in 2024. Are you 

ready for Live Aid 

once more, the concert 

for Bangladesh? How 

can we reply when the prompt 

calls for murder, 

by climate, by dictator?

Indran Amirthanayagam is the translator of Origami: Selected Poems of Manuel Ulacia (Dialogos Books). Mad Hat Press has just published his love song to Haiti: Powèt Nan Pò A (Poet of the Port). Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant (BroadstoneBooks) is a collection of Indran's poems. Recently published is Blue Window (Ventana Azul), translated by Jennifer Rathbun. (Dialogos Books). In 2020, Indran produced a “world" record by publishing three new poetry books written in three languages: The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, New York), Sur l'île nostalgique (L’Harmattan, Paris) and Lírica a tiempo (Mesa Redonda, Lima). He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly and helps curate Ablucionistas. He hosts the Poetry Channel on YouTube and publishes poetry books with Sara Cahill Marron at Beltway Editions.