Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dirty air in Beijing...

Not everyday is a smog alert! But the air was awful last night, I tasted dirt in every breath... Hopefully the rain will come soon and I can make my way to the terrific gardens around the Summer Palace. Today the visibility is about 3 blocks. Two rough poems, first drafts...

AQI Hazardous

Ah sun how you squint through this yellow fog
as if your yolk burst.

All of Beijing fades behind me...
before memory.

We stroll a stone path around a lake
shops lit by red lanterns and laser sparkles.

Lady want see my store?
Lady want drink my disco?

Air gritty on my tongue,
thick in my lungs

Two-step dancers and paddle boats sway
lights scattering into inky ripples.

Let wind from the ocean or mountains
wash this sky blue tomorrow.

Outside our hotel, Beijing, 4 pm, hazardous smog.

The Drum Tower

Built in 1272 during the reign of Kublai Kahn
24 drums thrummed the evening hours,
using water clocks and incense timers...
Three times it has been rebuilt from ashes.

Now the arched roof keeps acid rain
off the one remaining drum.
A single oxhide wide, bearing sword scars
from the allied invasion of 1901.

Isn't history fun?
Drum Tower on smoggy night behind hutong rooftops.

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