Sunday, November 2, 2014

In China—poem

"In China" appeared in the print journal The Dunes Review back in 2004.

In China

you can climb the ancient stone steps
through the forest and up the mountain
to the Buddhist temple on top

or you can drive your car up the road
and go to the kareoke bar next door to the temple
and drink Tsing-Tao beer and watch bootleg Hollywood movies
                                                                        on big-screen tv

at sunset you can lean on the stone wall
and contemplate the light, how the surroundings change
                                    from green to orange to pink

or you can throw empty beer bottles off into ravines
to see how far they will go, and how they will smash

you can enter the temple, hear the chanting of the monks
smell the smoke from incense sticks lit for ancestors
and become angry at the sound of the jukebox and pinball machine
plot how you could set fire to the bar without killing anyone
and the head monk will look up from the front of the room
he will smile at you and shake his head
and you can shake your head in frustration, and leave
down the ancient stone steps
to spend the night in the forest with the howling monkeys

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