Poetry Corner – China Poem

China Poem
***Background: I wrote this on a lonely mountaintop in the middle of nowhere, China, after taking my first job teaching overseas... It was a tough year, but we (the Lingxi Crew) made it through, and I ended up spending six years teaching in Asia! My girlfriend, upon reading it years later, described it as "very emo."


China Poem

Everything is old and new

But new is old, and old is new

Rickshaws, BMWs, Shaolin temples

Strict laws, streets in rubble, flower pedals

Car horns, “corn for sale!” 

kids crying, birds chirping

The sound of construction men 

constantly working

Muslim noodles served in huge bowls

Rice and chopsticks, spice and hot spits

Milk tea, milk drink, egg milk, hot milk

Silk scarves, silk sheets, rag silk, not silk

Polluted river, chicken liver

Cold shiver, hot quiver

Rain, rain, rain, rain

Again, again, again, again

Sun! Humid, hot, wet, damp, dirty, sweat, AC! 

WC no seat; both feet

Good people, look feeble

Paint a portrait on wood easel

Fun times, vent rhymes

Lifetimes into bent spines

Sun climbs, then shines

Rays upon spent minds

China: Sign up!

One year, I’m stuck

But with my luck

Won't last five months


-Lingxi, China, 2010

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