Hong Kong (Fragrant Harbor)



Streets steam from night rains

no house lights flicker

dawn awakens a weakened glow

on the broken horizon I search

for breakfast but no eateries have opened

I wrap myself in the melancholy of my nature

in silence and solitude so cherished at home

but at risk of rupturing my exile in Hong Kong


Bitter roots the shape of dragon claws

push out from displays of natural remedies

good for impotence baldness the vast array

of ailments that inflict the male body on its way

forward through the subterranean tunnels

of time I taste a floral tea guaranteed to soak

my spirit in peace I eat roasted sweet potatoes

and chestnuts sample cheung fun die for more


Identity flows like currents of wind spiraling

upward to the sun which reigns blunted

and covert incognito behind a cover of clouds

the fragrant harbor of the city's name rises above

the harried tourists scampering down the Chinese

side streets scouting out bivouacs of authentic

cuisine culture the pliant rhythms of commerce

of material life communist China retreats from this stage

in the mid-’80s subculture only Britain and the East

blend into a properly proud refrain of two worlds


I cannot settle in either both foreign both unmoored

awash on the sea of history bobbing on the waves

sans compass or anchor or muscled crew to stir

the behemoth ship on a path of discovery and safety

unable to gamble more recklessly we look into

the piercing eyes of a Chinese god enshrined

under a makeshift tent a mishmash of remedies

piling up in the early morning dew awaiting

the barbarians at the gate the new order of dragons


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