Only a Question Mark

he said I needed a question mark
I replied a question mark was
the last thing I needed
and it would cost me my life

in my country
we do not use the question mark
all keyboards, all typewriters
have had the question mark removed

in my country we do not question
anything or anyone
it would cost us our lives
and our families too

in my country
if we start thinking a question
they know even before
we’ve reached the end

in my country
we have unswept pavements
potholes and people sleeping rough
but we don’t ask why

in my country
bodies lie unburied
of people who asked why
and we dare not ask why

in my country
we have one rule for the rich
and another for the poor
and we must not ask why

in your country
I’ve heard life is fair
everyone’s equal
but I can’t ask why



© Nemo 2023
UKA Editor's Pick!
Views: 1440
critique and comments welcome.
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This is the voice of the oppressed throughout the world. We don’t need to know their idiom; the language is universally understood.
You describe the situation powerfully, Gerald.
By the way, you don’t need the dash in typewriter.
Kind regards, Luigi.


I enjoyed this North Korean type tale. It’s so true of so many places.


Congratulations on the well deserved nib! I loved this poem. The questions that dawned on me upon reading the first two stanzas were answered later. Have a great 2020! And keep writing. More power to you.


Sadly, this is indicative of too many places. You’ve represented the real oppression which exists and the quiet desperation.


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