Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday night links

Because it's the night before a Frisbee tournament, and that's why I'm not out.
  • Guo Jingjing, possibly the most famous female Chinese athlete, is pregnant competing in England/has won two gold medals.

  • Found in China asks, "Who the hell is Aung San Suu Kyi?" Then answers.

  • If this leads to a warming of Chinese-Japanese relations, I'm all for it. Then again, the Chinese like to joke about hating Japan -- it's an innocuous thing, really -- so if this ushers in a new era of political correctness...

  • A great entry by Xujun Eberlein, author and proprietor of the blog Inside-Out China (newly added to blogroll), on the meaning and value of heroism.

  • Via Sports Illustrated's Mary Nicole Nazzaro, a poem that deserves dissemination. I hope Ms. Nazzaro doesn't mind me reprinting the poem here, as this blog can use a little classing up. I've tweaked the original translation, which was by Alex Tang.

    孩子 Child
    快 Hurry up

    抓紧妈妈的手 Grab tight to Mama's hand

    去天堂的路 The road to heaven
    太黑了 is too dark

    妈妈怕你 Mama's afraid you've
    碰了头 hit your head

    快 Hurry

    抓紧妈妈的手 Grab tight to Mama’s hand

    让妈妈陪你走 Let Mama walk with you

    妈妈 Mama
    怕 is afraid

    天堂的路 Heaven's road
    太黑 is too dark

    我看不见你的手 I haven't seen your hand
    自从 since
    倒塌的墙 the collapsed wall

    把阳光夺走 snatched the sunlight away

    我再也看不见 I can never again see
    你柔情的眸 your loving eyes

    孩子 Child
    你走吧 You can go

    前面的路 The road ahead
    再也没有忧愁 will contain no more sorrow

    没有读不完的课本 no more cumbersome textbooks

    和爸爸的拳头 or Baba’s fist
    你要记住 You must remember
    我和爸爸的摸样 my face and Baba's face

    来生还要一起走 Let us walk together into our next life

    妈妈 Mama
    别担忧 do not worry

    天堂的路有些挤 Heaven's road is a bit crowded

    有很多同学朋友 with lots of classmates and friends
    我们说 We say

    不哭 Don’t cry

    哪一个人的妈妈都是我们的妈妈 Any mother is all our mothers

    哪一个孩子都是妈妈的孩子 Any child is all Mother's children

    没有我的日子 In the days without me

    你把爱给活的孩子吧 give your love to the children alive

    妈妈 Mama

    你别哭 Don’t cry
    泪光照亮不了 Tears cannot emanate light
    我们的路 Our road

    让我们自己 lets each of us
    慢慢的走 walk slowly

    妈妈 Mama

    我会记住你和爸爸的模样 I will remember your face and Baba's face
    记住我们的约定 Let us remember our promise
    来生一起走 to walk together in the next life

There are only three reasons to stay up till 4:30 a.m.

This is one of them: ESPN The Blog.

UPDATE, 4:43 a.m.: I was chatting with Kevin C just now when I heard birds chirping. I turned around and... shit it's light out!

It's really, really light out. I... goddamn this is gonna screw up my sleep pattern, in advance of China Nationals, too. How am I going to fall asleep? Ugh.

POSTSCRIPT: This is the weirdest lead ever:

Radiohead sings of the "karma police", called in to arrest those who upset Thom Yorke: "This is what you get when you mess with us." And Boy George warbles about a "karma chameleon", in a toxic relationship because he's not "so sweet" anymore.

Cause and effect, see. Actions have consequences.

Congratulations, BBC. You've made me happy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In Frisbeeland

中国飞盘加油 (China Frisbee let's go!)

Construction, oh construction, how you bang out your disconcern mindless to the pollution of life and seed our lungs with the soot of our discomfort.

There's construction everywhere -- China generally, Beijing locally, my quadrangle specifically, and just outside this apartment exempli gratia: almost every morning at 8 a.m., and right now. When I opened my door this afternoon to take lunch the outside greeted me thusly:

The smell of plaster in the morning invigorates the soul!

In other parts of my mind, I can't stop thinking about Frisbee. China Nationals, as previously mentioned, is coming up this weekend, and that's taken precedent over everything. This reminds me of a story from college (ah, those sort), during the end of Winter Quarter when the malicious cold of winter had just given signs of subsiding (though only slightly, since we're talking about Chicago here). I was riding in a car leaving campus for an Ultimate tournament, face resting against a backseat window, when suddenly, like a forest creature at the echo of buckshot off bark, I snapped to rapt attention.

Kinsella had just said, "So Tao, what did you think of the history test today?"

Panic. "History test?"

"Yeah, the final exam. How'd you do?"


Immediately after returning from Purdue, I rushed an email to my American history professor explaining in a tizzy, among other things -- and I'm quoting from memory here, but this is about as accurate as it gets -- that "I was so preoccupied thinking about Ultimate Frisbee that I forgot the test was this week..."

So just to clarify: I didn't miss the test because I was at a Frisbee tournament, but because I was thinking about one.

Luckily the professor -- after making fun of me in her reply by saying my mind was "in Frisbeeland" -- admired my honesty and allowed me to make up my the exam, with a letter-grade deduction. I'm pretty sure I aced it.

Here are some pictures from yesterday:

Char and Jim at Chaoyang Park in the early evening, before pick-up. We were playing Frisbee golf and impressing more than one local with our awesome hucks.

Jim playing it as it lies.

At pick-up later that night:

And the dinner afterwards at a Korean BBQ joint, where we all ordered egg-and-tomato noodles (why?) and bibimbop:

Weekday links

Most of these are dated, slightly, but if you have a moment give them a visit:
  • This NY Times story is somewhat of a must-read for those who consider themselves current on the earthquake situation. It gets a little anecdotal in the middle, but the reporting everywhere else is solid as steel. Speaking of anecdotes though: Mr. Yardley saved the best for last, an absolute gut-wrencher.

  • The Wall Street Journal also has a story.

  • Interesting, from ESWN: "Human flesh search." Also scroll down to the 5/24 entry "Reuters Reporters" -- "Dujiangyan appeared to have been baptised by war."

  • Pictures of pandas. Video of pandas (China Books).

  • Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has a Facebook page. Can we write Facebook's obit now?

  • James Fallows gave a talk in Beijing on Tuesday and I missed it (damn TBJ! could you have given us any less warning?), but I'll link to Mr. Fallows's latest work, a story in The Atlantic about environmental opportunities to capitalize on China's growth.

  • I picked up my extended L Visa this past Saturday, so I'm good to stay till September. For those who aren't fortunate enough to have family here but are interested in visiting or staying past July 1 (I have at least two friends on the Frisbee team who'll be leaving at that time, to return at a later date), this Danwei primer should be considered helpful. One-eyed Panda also has you covered (from way back).

Happy 30th, Zhang Peng!

This isn't the first time I've written about my older cousin Zhang Peng, but a refresher course for those unfamiliar: the only child of my dad's younger sister, DaPeng is possibly the kindest, most generous person anyone can know, a man whose self-interests align first with those of family and second with friends; an educated fellow who's competently versed in Beijing's inner trappings and wise in all the important areas. With Chinese family structures organized as is under the one-child policy, one's cousins are one's siblings, and so it is with mine -- Zhang Peng, Mingyu, Tao Yuan (who I've somehow yet to write about) and, most recently, Fang Fang and Fei Fei -- but I consider myself closest to Zhang Peng. Our relationship has only grown in the last two years, starting with my previous visit to Beijing, when we bonded over Bacardi 151s (flaming, taken five in a row) and other escapades. His work as an IT manager at Beihang University prevents us from hanging out more often (he lives in a dormitory over there), but on Tuesday he called and said, ever so gingerly because I had mentioned I had other plans, that this was his birthday.

"What? Your birthday?"


"Why didn't you tell me before?"

I canceled my previous engagement and joined Zhang Peng for dinner with friends:

Zhang Peng is the man sitting down with the hands over his breasts. See, the Chinese can sabotage pictures just as well as anyone... unfortunately, I don't think anyone's flashing those peace signs ironically.

A couple more pictures for you:

The man giving the toast in the last picture is an asshole. Was last night, anyway. Apparently there was a bit of news DaPeng had forgotten to alert his "brothers" to (that's how he refers to his close friends), and so Asshat here decides to take this opportunity to spin off a few choice words, dressed up in some fancy turns of phrase and with the ever-so-innocent disclaimer, "I say this because I've drank a bit too much..." It got to the point where DaPeng was near tears with guilt. Asshat persisted, then asked around if what he said was wrong. One guy -- we'll call him Asscap -- said no, it was not wrong.

The question never got around to me, otherwise I would have told him straight up: Yes, your fault. It's your bro's 30th birthday, and if you can't respect that occasion, then maybe you should, in DaPeng's words (which he acknowledged he learned from me), "Go to fuck yourself." DaPeng considers you his best friend, and I'll be damned if this is how best friends treat each other.

By the end of the night -- after copious amounts of baijiu, and around the second time Asshat told me to shut up -- I was ready to sock that goddamn big-mouthed son of a bitch in the face. Alas, the opportunity never came up, and I don't think Zhang Peng would have approved. I told my cousin en route to the restroom that his best friend was wrong in his actions, and DaPeng could only shake his head and again fess up to wrongdoing.

The night ended with me pulling up just short of begging to go to Sanlitun, then promising I'd take a cab home. A few drunk calls ensued, and eventually I got talked out of going out for the night. You sober people out there: don't underestimate your power to sway and impact the world. You sure as hell have a better chance than the rest of us.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


From the NY Times' Olympics blog, Rings:

With Beijing’s air quality plummeting because of a sandstorm blowing in today from Mongolia, the municipal government has declared an air quality emergency and advised people with respiratory problems to stay indoors.

That was from yesterday. The air looks none the better today, and we have pick-up outdoors. I believe I have just the word for this situation:


Monday, May 26, 2008

Time's cover story

I've admired Time's China coverage ever since its cover story three summers ago titled "China's New Revolution," with Mao's image front and center blotching out broad strips of red-orange sunlight, the symbolism all too apparent: China's rise was eclipsing its closest Asian competitor, and the rest of the world better watch out. About a year later, Time declared its Beijing Bureau would begin filing regular dispatches from the world's fastest changing country, this in the face of "reallocating" of "resources" and that was reason enough for me to keep my subscription despite the slew of soft reporting: health, how-to's and why stories (i.e. "Why ___ Did ___"). An ice cream sundae once made the cover of Time. For real.

This week's cover story (it's not the cover in the States... vaccines and a picture of a frowning baby won out) again focuses on China, specifically on the impact of the quake as it relates to government and society. Penned by Simon Elegant with reporting from Austin Ramzy, Lin Yang and Jodi Xu, it hits all the key points, noting that in the aftermath of tragedy we've been exposed to a side of China hidden from the world for as long as anyone can remember, and possibly hidden from the country itself. The revelations are subtle though startling, and they are, without a doubt, a welcome change. Whether they'll last is another question.

If I may, a few thoughts on the article's key points:

"We Chinese people are growing closer and closer together," adds Wu Xiangping, 28, who took leave from his job at a Beijing advertising firm to join the relief effort. "And because of that the country's morality is rising too."

Morality is a tricky issue, and I'm not sure we can conclude the collective morality of a country that beats dogs in the streets has been elevated X percentage points, or at all, after the disaster. The outpouring of concern seems genuine, certainly, but how much of it is the result of a national, officially sanctioned emphasis on outreach? And while the stories of volunteerism and goodwill far outnumber those of this variety*, we would do well to remember China's a large, sprawling country where opinions aren't unified -- they never are. The fact that those in the South speak what amounts to a different language, their dialect unintelligible to many Mandarin speakers, makes it easy for some to rationalize that the earthquake happened "out there," thereby dismissing the relief efforts and ignoring the earthquake coverage altogether.

*Read the statements of the supposed brother: " the time, she just felt that the 3-day moratorium on all entertainment activities was too forced..."

The earthquake has been a "shock of consciousness" as scholar Jiang Wenran puts it, a collective epiphany when the nation was suddenly confronted with how much it had changed in two decades of booming growth — and liked what it saw. When the national emergency abates, much of China will revert to its familiar ways, of course. But something is fundamentally different. There is a new confidence in the ability, even duty, of ordinary Chinese to contribute to building a more virtuous society and a willingness to press the government for the right to continue.

That last sentence is probably the most optimistic sentiment one can express in any balanced, well-informed article about China and its future.

Says Jiang: "It's a major leap forward in the formation of China's civil society, which is vital for China's future democratization process." That doesn't mean the Wenchuan earthquake will lead to elections in the next few years, but the complex and shifting relationship between the Communist Party and increasingly vociferous citizens could evolve into some form of compromise between absolute autocratic control and Western-style democracy.

Leap forward, eh? Word choice aside, there's hope, for sure. I'm reminded of Rob's comments a few weeks back in our g-chat conversation about how leaders are fallible, and that I should see China's government leaders as flawed, corruptible human beings. I wanted to respond (but didn't because I didn't have the right example) that the Central Government's leaders are unlike the elected officials Americans are accustomed to, those who smile or talk their way into office, and unlike regional officials in rural outskirts who bully or bride their way to power. People like Wen Jiabao and Hu Jintao work their entire lives to attain their current position, and it's hard to imagine they'd get to the top and suddenly forget what got them there: a commitment to the country's betterment. As the Time article states later,

Within two hours of the earthquake, Wen was on a plane to the disaster area and for the next four days, Chinese TV was flooded with images of the increasingly exhausted-looking leader as he rallied the relief forces, offered succor to survivors and even choked up himself.

Think back to President Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina, how long it took him to leave his vacation spot and his patently staged photo-ops. Maybe someone could have said it better than Kanye, but the rapper's basic message cut straight to the truth: Bush didn't care, not really. It was a sad reality fleshed out in the months after.

It's not just China's self-image that has changed. The quake has altered, at least temporarily, the world's perception of China, whose growing economic and military might is viewed with suspicion and fear in many quarters.... The outpouring of international goodwill "has changed everything," says a Western diplomat based in Beijing — even rekindling the guttering Olympic torch. "The Olympics seemed destined for disaster and that would have been a major setback for China's emergence onto the world stage," says the diplomat. "Now many people will be cheering for the Chinese and hoping they pull off a good show. That will be pivotal for China self-confidence and its perception of its place in the world."

We haven't heard the phrase "Western bias" or "anti-China" in more than two weeks, and there's no coincidence here. The road cuts both ways, of course, and it's important that Time pointed this out: "Some of China's most xenophobic bloggers expressed astonishment at the sympathy shown for their country by the rest of the world, the donations of cash and goods and personnel." From what I can tell, the Chinese are truly appreciative of the world's condolences, even more so because they've been caught off guard by it. I think a segment of the population is waiting patiently for the other shoe to fall, but most understand that the world can be a global community, and that despite everything -- limitation of resources, etc. -- there may be hope yet for humanity.

This cathartic outpouring of national grief helped put paid to the notion that China lacks civic spirit. Academics have long argued that Confucian ideals, which emphasize duty to family, have mutated over the millenniums into a mentality that viewed contributions to non-relatives as a waste of precious personal resources.

Must investigate. Will return to subject at later time.

The normally muzzled Chinese press has been freed by the information ministry to saturate the airwaves with quake coverage. The leash was also loosened for the unruly Internet.... As surprising as the freedom is the sophistication of the coverage: it's on television and radio around the clock, and newspapers have put out special editions. One news anchor even dressed down a reporter on air for broadcasting from the comfort of her hotel room rather than venturing into the field.

Not kidding when they say "around the clock." Even now the coverage remains ceaseless, with the stories transitioning almost seamlessly from rescue efforts (lights and cameras in the thick of night) to scientific explanations (interviews conducted in seismology centers) to national mourning ("heroes" was an oft-mentioned word) and, most recently, human interest profiles (the photo to the right has absolutely captivated the country). I wonder if the reporters and anchors will be as motivated and enterprising in the coming weeks when the storyline shifts to corruption and anger.

The real danger to the party comes from its rotten base: the county and township officials whose corruption and venality has had the greatest impact on the lives of hundreds of millions. There's sure to be backlash over the number of children killed by the quake, buried in their classrooms as shoddily built schools collapsed around them. In one structure alone — the three-story Juyuan Middle School in Dujiangyan — at least 600 students died. "It was built out of tofu," says Hu Yuefu, 44, of the building that toppled and killed his 15-year-old daughter. He holds local government officials and building contractors responsible. "I hope there is an investigation," Hu says. "Otherwise, there are a thousand parents who would beat them to death."

Read this recent Time blog entry and tell me if you can't see the ominous cloud just on the horizon: "But, as my colleague Austin has remarked in one of his past articles, these people have lost their entire worlds and most importantly their only children. They have nothing to lose. They cannot be intimidated by the usual threats of arrest or promises of money or other rewards. They will not tire or rest until they get some sort of satisfaction."

We'll leave off with Time's kicker:

The Wenchuan earthquake has exposed how much China has changed and offered a fleeting glimpse of what might be. The political and cultural aftershocks will roll on for years after the ground has ceased to tremble.

POSTSCRIPT: For another noteworthy cover story, check out Time's Jan. 22, 2007 issue: "China: Dawn of a New Dynasty."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thursday night madness, and did someone just turn up the heat?

A massive heat wave rolled into Beijing this weekend, just in time to get us in shape for China Open -- the Chinese-equivalent of Ultimate Frisbee Nationals, I suppose -- which is next week. Our Saturday practice wasn't fun (lots of sprints; heat-refractive astroturf), and after today's pickup I dry-coughed for 20 minutes. My mild intermittent asthma -- doctor's phrase, which I think means, "Please buy inhaler and support local pharmacist" -- could use some treatment about now.

On Thursday the group of us ate at a place with an ashen sort of name, the type illuminated by dim colors and nighttime sounds -- idle chatter, the occasional car, meat over an open fire, insects crashing into neon -- with a bucolic, back-roads sort of feel that's very homely and inviting. I'm not completely certain that description makes sense, but hopefully it conveys something. A quiet and a comfort born out of familiarity, and here we were, a group of dirty, stinky (sweaty) outsiders throwing our gibbering and balderdashing voices into their cozy little alcove. Here're some pictures:

The following three pictures I call Jim 1, Jim 2 and Jim 3 (to avoid confusion... they're the same person).

Jim, who I've spoken of before, started chatting up the servers, all of them female, flirty and quick to laugh. During the course of the dinner, he also noticed a few girls peering from behind the window, probably thinking something along the lines of, "Look, laowei, how cute!" so he smiled and waved, and lo and behold, they waved back. I still don't know how he does it.

Later in the night -- the four pictures below were taken after this happened -- Jim tried picking a fight with a group of Europeans. He decided to do this because of three reasons, as far as I can tell:

1. We were in Sanlitun, a Westernized bar district frequented by lots of the swill of the earth.
2. Someone kept putting shots in front of our noses -- there were at least two tequila shots I shouldn't have done, not after the baijiu earlier in the night -- and very few of the girls in the bar (Shooters) would dance with us.
3. Someone in our party (Ken, was it?) said, "You know, we've been in Beijing or a while now, and we haven't gotten into a fight yet..."

I distinctly remember being in the bar and watching two girls on the dance floor when Ken tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Come on out, we'll need everyone we can get for this." This is how I found out Jim was instigating a fight, and doing an incredibly fine job of it. Unfortunately, the guys he targeted -- all of them bulkier than us, though none of them Irish-Brooklyn like Joe -- squeezed into a cab and drove off. Joe shouted lots of profanities and other funny things at them as Ken mockingly held him back.

Ken, Chris and Joe, the Irish-Brooklynite.

Joe sad that Jim's walking away.

This picture deserves its own story.*

And finally: the damage from the dinner.

I believe there are 12 bottles (these are big ones) of 12%-AC Yanjing (a malt liquor) in the above picture, but that was taken before Jim and I ordered 10 more. We started putting empty bottles on the other side of the table...

*Okay, the story. This was nearing 4 a.m. in Sanlitun and Jim, Joe and I were the only ones left. We sought out a massage parlor (notice the pink lights) and knocked on the door. A half-naked guy opened up and said the girls had gone home. "But this says 24 hours," Jim said, pointing to lettering on his right. To which the guy replied to some effect of, "The girls have gone home, but I have condoms to sell."

And Jim's response: "The sign says 24 hours, why do you say the... wait, what?"

He said some other things, to which the guy answered with a half-asleep, disinterested, semi-disdainful stare and absolute silence, the sort of silence that takes a massive effort to pull off. If I had videotaped this scene you would find it humorous, no doubt: a laowei speaking fluent Chinese to a massage parlor boss dumb and mute in front of a sign that says, "Open 24 hours." (Though now that I think about it, I'm willing to admit to the possibility that there was no such sign.)

Later Jim got into a tiff with a taxi driver, and the last thing I remember before passing out on the floor of my apartment was tottering on my bike and nearly (nearly) falling off about six times. This was about 4:30, by the way. My courtyard's night watchman noticed and tattled on me to Jiujiu the following day, saying that I looked "a little wobbly, possibly drunk."

POSTSCRIPT: Kevin Reitz has more photos here.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What it is I do out here

Breaking marks and hearts since 2001. (Sorry Tommy Atch, I know I just stole your line...)

Photos by Kevin Reitz. The man has one of those space-age Canon digital cameras that can take 30 pictures in two seconds, so check out his blog for more pics documenting, inter alia, what it is I do out here (within that link you'll see a hint of why I felt like shit this morning).

Friday, May 23, 2008

I feel like shit

And I woke up on the floor. Now sipping iced green tea and crawling from bed to bed.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The end of national mourning

The third and final day of national mourning officially passed, which means TV stations can begin broadcasting sports and entertainment again -- much needed by now, I think. I recently spoke with the president of the American Sports Institute, and he said as much: it's important that countries which have endured national trauma find some way to return to normalcy, through sports or whatever other means. It's unfortunate that China's domestic sports leagues are largely ignored by the populace, otherwise sports could act as a channel for catharsis. As is, gatherings like Monday's crowd at Tiananmen Square will have to do, when chants of "Long live China!" and "China, let's go!" rang long and hard until police asked folks to move on.

Yet even as we move on -- all of us, because it's only natural that we do -- it's important to realize that this story isn't over. There is no normalcy in cities across Sichuan and won't be for a while, as individuals attempt to recover what they can, assess what they have and rebuild however possible. Rolling aftershocks are also sending tremors up and down the land, causing dangerous landslides, and the threat of flood has become very real in the past few days as rain falls from the sky.

There is also this: even as the feverish activity that defined the last week and a half subsides into a tedious, backbreaking grind that'll captivate just about nobody, the fact that bodies are still being pulled out of ruins and rubble alive and breathing should be recognized as nothing short of miraculous. Needless to say, survivors who have gone more than a week without food or water are all in perilous conditions, but that they're alive should provide grist for the media for at least another week. It'll be interesting to see how many make it through this ordeal.

Your links for the day:
  • Two from Daily Kos: Of Deadly Chinese Aftershocks, 9/11, and Tibet; and an article by what appears to be a Chinese national expressing some heartfelt thanks to the world.

  • From an American perspective now: (just the name of the site, nothing more).

  • There's a theme with these links today: via Rebecca McKinnon, Asia Media reports on the international media's reporting on the earthquake.

  • And finally, Peter Hessler of The New Yorker writes in The China Beat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ESPN The Mag again, and the coolest ad ever

Reporting from China's National Day of Mourning.


Adidas's TV spot for the Olympics might be the coolest ad I've ever seen. Ever. Certainly the most spine-tingling.

There are two versions floating around, but this is the better of the two, in my opinion. Pictures here, and official adidas press release here.

I know some people, like the commenters in this post, think the commercial resembles old-fashioned propaganda, and others believe it channels "fascist aesthetics," but the only word I'd use is awesome. I mean, if people are disturbed by pencil sketching, what do they make of the ad pictured in this NY Times article?

An example of how eye-catching these adidas ads are: the first time I rode the subway, on my eighth day back, I caught a glimpse of the ads and immediately whipped out the camera. They're really quite stunning.

POSTSCRIPT: I'm beginning to realize why Black and White Cat is popular... I was back-reading posts when I came across this video.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A cat looks up from his slumber

Awakening to the world as the world awakens to it.
An Aegean blue, a sphinx-like yellow
Tawny and sulfurous
In the hot cinder of light and paling cool of shadow.
He is of multitude of names, therefore nameless.
He knows of existence, the place of things, through kindness,
His place in the world fixed by scraps of mercy and bones,
A nibble here, there,
The dust alone ignorant and deaf to his importuning.
What do we see, looking at it?
What predilection for life, what predilection for being,
Charity, empathy and beneficence?
What infirmities waiting to beset us,
What futures, what limitation of resources,
The last straw on the sullied fur of the planet's back,
What failings of nation-states, tender hearts, what wars
Superpower-junkies itching for the final slimy patinas of their subsistence
Will fight?
Or do we see a blurred beauty of our own reckoning,
Born of the earth and subsistent on it the dust of our creation,
Our wounds, our scars, our overbite,
The soft purrings of our desire and our pleasure,
Our two fierce eyes blue and yellow which could see through souls
To a heart of things nameless and awake, always?