Today’s my birthday, but I just wanna talk about dictators.

I think about Kim Jong-Il fairly often, and I’m not sure why.  He strikes me as a really tragic man: his angry little frame, his angry little outfit, his beady, dark eyes.  There’s something so bizarre about him.  Well, about all dictators.  And the way the West talks about them–with this air of superiority (as in Parade Magazine’s annual feature “The World’s Worst Dictators“).  We denounce their human rights violations and we pity their oppressed people.  We shake our heads, sigh, and vaguely acknowledge our good fortune to live in not that country.  We realize we don’t even really know what that disease is that people are dying of in Zimbabwe, but we think our great-great grandmother might’ve also died from it. 

On one extreme we do nothing.   Or, on the other, we capture the dictator, imprison him, send him to his death, and “liberate” his people.  (“We,” “them,” and “him” used loosely.) 

…I was reading a Sherman Alexie poem earlier today in which he writes, “Poetry = Anger x Imagination.”  It seems an apt equation.  Ways to channel anger, sort through anger are pretty vital to mental health.  Otherwise you end up sending ballistic missiles into the Pacific Ocean (so to speak).

Oh!  I just remembered why I began writing this post.  To recommend Poets.org’s Poem-A-Day emails in honor of April, National Poetry Month.  I especially like when they send ones that don’t suck.

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2 responses to “Today’s my birthday, but I just wanna talk about dictators.

  1. I missed your Team America photo of good ol’ Kim being up here. I’ll imagine it as I ponder some poetry.

  2. Happy Birthday Madame Librarian! My birthday always reminds me of fascist dictators too…sigh, another year.

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