What Rhymes With “Brutal Thug”?

There was a dictator named Shwe
Whose couldn’t get dates, straight or gay.
To compensate for this lack
He imprisoned a pack
Of activists — watch what you say!

This being America, we don’t have to watch what we say.

We can say, for example, that Burma’s dictator, Than Shwe, is a subhuman pederast without fear of being imprisoned (TimesOnline, h/t Tannebaum).

The same is, sadly, not true the world over.

So here’s the deal:

Blogosphere Poetry contest.

  • Theme: “Criticism of Burmese Dictator Than Shwe.”
  • Form: Your choice.
  • Language: Your choice (extra credit for Burmese).
  • Leave your entry in the comments. If you have a blog and send in a poem, I’ll give you some link love.
  • For this post only, the rule against anonymous ad hominem attacks is suspended. I don’t know if they pick us up in Myanmar, but I don’t want anyone thrown into prison on my account.
  • My staff of experts and I will choose the winner.
  • No prize, just bragging rights.
  • Entries close in two weeks.

Please spread the word.

About Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett got his letter of marque from the Supreme Court of Texas in May 1995. He is famous for having no sense of humor when it comes to totalitarianism.
This entry was posted in Burma, Poetry Contest. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to What Rhymes With “Brutal Thug”?

  1. crushing all dissent,
    it’s all in a good day’s work
    for Burma’s Than Shwe.

  2. A challenge by Bennett to you

    to speak of said dictator Than Shwe

    The Blogger’s of Burma, face long prison termas

    and their lawyers, per Shwe, do too.

  3. Dave Tarrell says:

    For Phone Latt

    Manicured, gold-gilded hands,
    Encircle an ivory pen,
    Deliberately, dip its silver tip
    Into thick, black ink.

    The hand slides down the page,
    Forms characters, into a sentence:
    20 years, six months,
    A violation of public tranquility.

    Then the hand moves further down,
    Signs its name, an official seal.
    His crime? Hiding meaning
    Inside a seven-line love poem.

    Other saffron revolutionaries,
    Some monks, sit, likewise,
    Imprisoned, where this dangerous
    poet serves, with 2000 others.

    20 years six months:
    That’s 560 moons. 7300 sunrises.
    10 seasons for every line.
    120 days per word.

    The saving grace? Poet’s pens
    Outlast swords, unjust judges:
    In time, sentences are reversed.
    Even worse, returned.

  4. Dave Tarrell says:

    (I should be working, and giving someone else a chance, but here’s another one:)

    Poets in Prison

    Solzhenitsyn, gulaged, paperless,
    scratched poems on bars
    of soap, committed
    lines to his memories,
    then washed its surface clean,
    To compose new verses.

    And that Buddhist master,
    A former “freedom fighter”
    Survived prison, thrived even
    Through forgiveness, learned
    to purge revenge.

    After his escape, his sentence,
    Those torture tests, proved to raise
    his practice, above those cloistered monks,
    Prison surpassing monastery,
    for training purpose.

    In Burma, the poet’s pencil-calloused hands
    Grasp bars, fingernails ooze pus, dried blood,
    Remnants of unfathomable pain,
    creating unexpected distance.

    Still enclosed, his lines resonate
    between bars, beyond walls,
    Prove his convictions,
    Achieve his release.

  5. Mark Bennett says:

    You’re going to scare off all the competition.

  6. Suzie Mindlin says:

    Beautiful. Brilliant. Thanks so much, David.

  7. Dave Tarrell says:

    Thanks Mark and Suzie. I’m glad you enjoyed them. I finished one about 10:30 pm and started the next one at 5am, so you can probably tell I enjoyed writing them too. I hadn’t written any poetry since the ranch in ’05 and wouldn’t have if not for this contest, which is a great idea.

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