Guangzhou & Other Poems

by Matthew James Friday


Welcome to the city cave,
stalagmites of steel and concrete,
we all fossilise inside
or melt outside in acidic rain.

Endless beeping, lights that gigolo
the night bouncing purple light
off low cloud or suffocating smog;
you give up trying to know which.

Wear a mask, soldier on. From
a distance that city looks entombed.
Commuting meets archaeology,
you chisel your way home, down

through damp layers of your chest.
Aching head, sore eyes, screaming
alveoli’s. Think of the residents,
the real victims. Progress is lung cancer.


Bet on a Blue Sky

Unlikely to be found outside
with the grey huff of Mainland
coughing up over Macau. Take

shelter in the world’s biggest casino
as if the chances of winning,
breathing healthily can be

guaranteed. Dive below to the
fake Venice: a shallow golden canal,
Gondolas singing with well-tipped

pride, punting along the sterile water
bordered by high class Boutiques
topped with pretend historical

awnings, curving up, around
into the painted blue sky
ceiling smeared with clouds

to dazzle shop-drunk tourists
snapping smartphone pics
of mime artists defying gravity.

Above, the 24 hour chiming fates
but no one betting on a blue sky,
just factory-filled air and denial.


Editor’s Note on Guangzhou & Other Poems:

Gunagzhou and Other Poems is not Matthew James Friday’s first work to appear in Eastlit. His previous published pieces are:

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