Treasure Island

David McLansky

(5/24/1944 / New York City)

North Korea


That life was just a prison camp,
The circled shacks, the mud and damp;
The squinting eyes of prison guards
The lowered eyes kept down for yards;
I was hungry, starving all the time,
I didn’t know my Parents crime;
I thought it was just the whole world’s order,
That it went on and on without a border;
There was only work, work was our school,
You dug the earth without a tool.
I saw my mother lined up and shot
Her body left to stink and rot;
I heard my father cry out in pain,
They left him bleeding where he lain;
Finally he bled to death,
His shoulders sagged, he drew no breath;
I didn’t know that I should mourn,
I stood dry-eyed, a child still born,
They stole some rice to give to me,
I failed to see their charity.
We lined the yard to spit on him
We stumbled forward, tired and grim;
There was a guard, pink skinned and fat,
He glared at me, I hawked and spat,
But there was no water in my throat,
I dribbled spit and nearly choked;
For this I was beaten with barbed wire;
He beat me ‘tlll his arm was tired;
I lay in blood on the muddy ground,
The prisoners stepped and walked around;
At night I crawled into my bed,
I left a trail as I bled.
As I lay beneath a lamp,
I thought there must be better camps;
And so I healed and ran away;
The rain was thick and hard that day;
I disappeared into the rain,
My body faint and stiff with pain;
And here I am to tell my tale,
Glad to have a mop and pail.

Submitted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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