about Hong Kong      I know nothing
carrying an underground book for the trip
land at Kai Tak Airport      coral reef shimmers
strangers look for the coordinates of lights
the skyline’s narrative pushes toward climax
frogs hop inside the gut

ferryboat      “Transition in Transition” Poetry Festival
no audience      poets listen to each other in rapt attention
Shang Qin and I      eat a late-night meal together
draw little figures on the fogged windows
midnight breathes beneath our feet

from a small town in Northern California to the Fragrant Harbour
take the right hand and tightly grip the left
when misfortune rides the horse of good fortune
fortune teller      geomantic compass points to the future
kindergarten school gate painted in rainbows

first gathering of the International Poetry Nights
between revolution and religion poetry      is the other voice
the insanely drunk typhoon loses its soul
dingding tram      sorrowful tracks
Sheung Wan coffin shops      sun smashes the doors

June Fourth vigils are the new blacklist
and the living are all guardians of the night
candle flames echo      the meaning of absence
the chess moves of death have no rules
no way to flee      words hunted and killed

boiling point of police sirens      flames      paper-cut silhouettes
like water      high streets and back alleys      flood currents dams
gas masks      roar of flags      brothers
climb a mountain      flowers bleed      slope of the times

hello      cell phone screen’s smiley face
the rainstorm has put on an official uniform
it’s too bad you’re wearing a mask
can’t hear if you’re really sayin’ anything

nine tones of Cantonese no longer unfamiliar
humming the silent song of dusk

net—humans are the ancestors of fish
now entering a life of big data
pulled by the hands      heart at the right rudder
freedom nothing more than the verification of my name
when viruses and digital domains become neighbors

wild beasts steal stealthily into the city
use cement to cast gold coins
slaves carry the staircase of history on their backs
spiral logic can advance or retreat
war and pandemic      the ocean
the tears of a rusty faucet

Hong Kong isn’t the end of my journey
in the shifting currents of language
censors use a pen to cross out new realities
Hong Kong has taken me in      reclaiming land from the sea
to build more towers      the train station
on the way to paradise

window faces a panoramic view of the bay
Big History upgrades to a solitary prison cell
birds fly by in a dream      ephemeral and everlasting

I am you      a stranger on the sidetracks
waiting for the season to harvest blades of light
sending letters      though tomorrow has no address