A Resistance Song of Zeppelins for Julio

Karen An-hwei Lee


Our helium rebels join the global Occupy movement.

On this planet, at this very minute – a thousand men

and women in exile release balloons filled with poems,  

or poems are taped to balloons as they float over us.


As the balloons pop, syllables in nebulae of gas

drift over onlookers who read aloud the words

until they sail out of sight, puffing smoke-rings.


The balloons take poems wherever they go,

dropping at the mercy of hail or lightening. 

Some balloons even scan dactylic hexameter. 

We imagine balloons rising over barricades    

as poems flutter in a foggy Manhattan noon.

Lovely midnight in Paris, a vending machine  

sells books for francs. Le livre à toute heure!     

Baudelaire, Celan, and Valéry have no inkling

their labors are sold by automated vendors. 


I covet a book-machine for my living room  

and a portable mini-wax museum or diving bell,

both variations on an iron-cast balloon.


Ars poetica slams through Avocado Heights,

shouting cloud-based voxels around the clock

as manic pixels hum, occupy the world. 


When we open our windows, air molecules

wander from a malodorous, fleshy durian

on a floating river market in Bangkok,

                  not quite making it to this zone

in time

for balloons. 


A summer monsoon carries the odor of durian,

                                           turpentine and onions.

Desiring solitude on a beach at Racha Noi in Phuket,

a woman writes the word, soledad, while reading

to fishermen in the Andaman Sea.   


The word is globo

for balloon.


My name  

in the light is