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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.



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.


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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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