Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Joan E. Bauer: Birthday in Beijing

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.

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Happy Dragon Hostel, Beijing

One comment on “Joan E. Bauer: Birthday in Beijing

  1. anisioluiz2008
    April 19, 2017

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.

    Like

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This entry was posted on April 19, 2017 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry, Social Justice, War and Peace and tagged , , .
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