Seventeen years ago I published this poem in the British magazine TANK. I still recognize the lost and wandering soldier who wrote it, who poked around Beijing’s Summer Palace at the height of the season. Today I feel compelled to give China a leave of absence of indeterminate length, repelled as I am by its murder of human rights giants like Liu Xiaobo (say his name). But still in my head I hear the lowing of Beijing Wanbao! and I recall my friends and students, my landlord Yang, my neighbors. They remain and work, I believe, to make the country better even as I disappeared into an aisle seat on a long-ago United flight. Here’s to those twin poles: courage and cowardice.
Tag Archives: Beijing
I still love this piece from a former student of my journalism class at Tsinghua University who went by the name Patrick.
Here’s another student memory I’ve kept from when I taught English in China over a decade ago.
Persimmons + Padded Jackets
“Thus, cyber love comes into being. Many people think of cyber love as so romantic, so true. It seems that more and more people are for it. However I want to say something different. The internet can produce the chance for two hearts to meet, in pure net, and there’s little truth.” One year of Chinese university life in 1999. Via Tank Magazine, read more
Beijing in the Morning
The sweet strains of some high-volume Chinese poetry should always be cause for further investigation. Via The Washington Post, read more
Ooohh love a bonus audio track, produced for Radio Magnetic (Scotland)