Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
April thunderclouds in battleship formation
but the rain is light as we touch down.
At last, the swarming, noisy, candy-
colored streets of the city. Breakfast:
soy boiled eggs, red beans, dumplings,
strong coffee—four cups. For jet lag.
Tiananmen? Closed for ‘renovation’
& no one is surprised. So our guide Mr. Ho
distracts us, talking about love, Beijing-style,
how young people pay $11 for a broadcast ad,
while old-timers ballroom dance in the park.
There are still arranged marriages. A groom
doesn’t see the bride until the veil is lifted.
He tells us: In China it’s not rude to ask
personal questions, even of strangers.
That day Mr. Ho, our host, tells us what features
Chinese men most admire in women: oval face
dimples small mouth straight nose
That day, my companion is cranky.
I forget something in my room & again
I don’t hear (or remember) what he’s saying.
I give up! There must be something
neurologically wrong with you—
that you don’t hear me.
That day, Mr. Ho explains astrological signs.
He asks ours. We tell him & he laughs,
Not the best match. Sorry—
Copyright 2016 Joan E. Bauer.
First published in Voices from the Attic (Carlow University). Reprinted by permission of the author.
Happy Dragon Hostel, Beijing