There are no city gates here
No city walls, no army, no tanks
There are the people, there are things they care about, there are tents
There is the night sky with no wind, an empty, empty sky
You can watch the TV, the one and only CCTV,
To learn about the world and
Watch live-edits of people hurting people,
The Tape Recorder looks stuck up
In his suit and tie. He’s getting ready to lie
But his eyes are flickering (tape’s stuck, won’t play)
If you smoke too many cigarettes you will smell like one
(The half slice of cheese in the Filet-O-Fish has two corners sticking out
And mayo spilling out, though it’s not too soggy)
The people no longer trust people in suits to lead, they
Sing their own congratulatory anthems, they make discordant sounds in unison
Projecting these words to the stage: Step Down Now
Does the cat want to be onstage or simply to be up high somewhere?
Voices that deserve to be heard will be heard
We don’t know when it started
Suffering means nothing but suffering
We fear future affliction (which we are already enduring)
We fear losing freedom, and transparency left with the last
rays of daylight
(Sorry, too few feet in the last line
This is no place for poetic or human feet)
Our city doesn’t need a gate
The city walls are people linking arms
The army is the dreams we share
Our tent is the sky (we have nothing to hide)
Take a deep breath. At night the pale gleam of the moon.
Lut Ming is a Christian who sometimes writes poetry. He is a practicing doctor, a job that lets him share deeply in other people’s lives. His poems have appeared in Qiu Ying Shi Kan, Platform, Stadt, Ming Pao, Sound & Rhyme, and were included in the anthology Look, Their 21 Grams are Flying. He is also the author of the poetry collection And now abideth.
Hedy Bok is a translator, journalist and actress from Hong Kong. She writes mainly in Chinese and English, and translates both ways. Her nonfiction writings have appeared in Chinese newspapers Mingpao and Xinmin Wanbao.