Entry Six: Do you get China?

This week’s writings are from a weekend getaway I took to Suzhou and a day trip I took to the TianTong Temple outside Ningbo. They are also infused with my consumption of NYTimes articles about China, Chinese films/books that are banned in China, and of course, my general day to day interactions with Chinese citizens and society.

China is fascinating. I am lucky to learn here.

From Suzhou

Stillness // Impressions of China

There is a country that moves faster than all of our

Western Economists Ever Predicted where

Children wear Givenchy in Outer-Space malls where Children wear the same

Dirty Hoodie over and over in Mountain villages tucked away in

Forgotten there is

A country where few can hear the

Torrential beatings of their history’s widespread famines, massacred students, forced abortions, there is a country on

Steroids of consumerism that has grown buildings so quickly it turned the sky grey with Burning Plastic, where

Rickshaws compete with Mercedes there is a country that

Zooms where,

At the top of a mountain, on the outskirts of a city, you will land in



One thousand years old

Buddha statues built, burned, rebuilt and

Lanky red incense sending

Prayers for Prosperity


From TianTong Temple
Suzhou // Impressions of China cont.

Octagon windows with


Neon pollution sun

Empty Nightclubs

Restaurants warm, the

Clatter of dishes

“Hao-de hao-de hao-de”

Electric Young Women like me who bristle and


Carry truth,

Peeling white paint.


Footsteps until my calves stiffen

My breath wets the paper pink mask

Do you get how old it is?

And new it is?

Do you get China?

The central empire of One point Three billion people?

I can’t keep Ming & Qing straight in my head, all I know is Mao – but he is not mentioned in the English Descriptions Available to Me in Museums

Hammer & Sickle

Blood stains on cement bleached out with soap

China is incredible in the sense that I can’t believe it

The birds still tweet when the air is poison

People walk around mouths open

Do I seem cynical? I’m not

I write for windows and staircases and people in prayer

Can God teach me to love?

The sort of love that demands justice?

Danji Lake, Suzhou

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