Pictures taken on Monday, July 6, near the Bagou subway stop, which is the last stop on the West side of Line 10.
NBA player Brook Lopez, when asked on his second day in China what he'd seen, replied he had not had time to see much except he had been escorted into the hutongs of the real China -- To see real China, he said with a crooked grin as if to imply something, the essence or point of which escaped him -- and I could tell he thought what every high-status visitor thinks, that there is a fake China beyond the Badaling section of the Great Wall and the fresh lead paint over Tiananmen's red cracks, beyond the fakeness of, say, Silk Street, which specializes in fake, and the fakeness of imitation jade sold atop sky bridges because they are so obviously fake that if you asked the vendor he would smile, crooked perhaps, and say as much, adding in his own special, unspoken way, Skyscrapers, supersized malls, spirals of concrete: fakefake fake fake --
As I pee into a trough near the Bagou subway stop, making sure to aim against the wall so as to not drench my toes in sprayage, what is fake about this, about the clotheslines on which starched cotton socks bake till they're cardboard crisp, the men plastering a nearby building, two women watching, the spade cutting back and forth across the charcoal clay, what is fake about this, I think, is what is fake about you and I, about our motivations to keep our motors turning and our lives running, about history, which has already written the future, indeed, about the future itself,
the lies we must tell because they are our tickets to arrive there even as we drive ourselves to look towards past lives of dirt and dust and clay and call that real --
pissing, cleaning, grinding out life one day at a time, one freshly washed, lined and dried smoke-and-dust-participle-covered collar-stretched shirt at a time, wanting nothing but life.