Poetry Corner – China Poem Part 3

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 Part 3

Woken from firecrackers like gunshots

Every morning at one o’clock

Town alarm blaring: warning of ?

Seemingly coming from above

Spitting in the streets, it's disgusting!

Broke-down machines, neglected, rusting

Young men bored, a daily routine

They smoke and drink and KTV

Outdoor table ball and table tennis

Do it all over when day's replenished

River dirty like the shores of Venice

Wish people here could afford a dentist!

Boys out-number girls and all of’em get married

But if they’re not, they’re probably scary

Men are generous but very jealous

At first they cheers you, then act zealous


Gentle wind, slightest breeze

Polluted air makes me sneeze


I feel congested, so unrested

Bed of wood makes rest so restless

Bug-infested when neglected

Noise is hectic, chest arrested

Everything here is queer and foreign

And when it rains it's f&*$in pourin’!

Old, mould, cold, fool's gold

Fake shit going once, twice, three times - sold!

Typhoon's on its way, heavy downpour

Devouring whole town, torrential sound sore

In my thoughts I drown more…

China's about twenty years behind us

But in kindness their generosity

can remind us.

-Lingxi, China, 2010