Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lane 222, Fanyu Lu (番禺路222弄)

There was a child playing unattended,

Balancing precariously on a rickety, rusty public trash can,

Using a low hanging high-voltage electric cord for balast,

In the rain.


A man screamed suddenly next to my ear,

Abrasive, unrelenting, stern.

The entire street of vegetable sellers looked up.

I shuddered for a couple seconds,

As my mind sorted out what the hell he was saying.

Chinese often feels like that,

Like a parallel universe suddenly opens up before you,

And you need to process, to sift, to lay yourself open

And see the world as it could have been.

Up ahead there was a shopkeep quickly stepping away from a cart.

She was trying to steal his umbrella.

He was telling her to back off.


When I got home, my neighbor was howling,

Screaming to someone on the phone,

Wailing incomprehensibly in Chinese.

I didn’t want to get involved.

The next day the police came.

Her entire flat had been robbed,

Even the furniture,

I’m still not sure if it was hers.


Today someone new is moving into the woman’s flat.

Their new belongings lay strewn before my door,

Like a new furniture store, full of promise.

I saw the same little kid munching idly on some fresh dumplings,

Even as he goes to throw away an empty cola bottle, there is no mischief in his eyes.

The sun is shining. The vegetable sellers have no need for umbrellas.


This is the way that life wags on,

Never speaking.

As if the entirety of its creation was a secret,

Where one doesn’t know the risks, the trials or the sufferings

That moved to create it.

posted by ferret at 7:13 pm  

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