Chinese construction and manufacturing quality is so bad that I have to plunge through a gaping hole in my doorway to leave my room. I head to breakfast, standing in line with the pensioners at the street market. I’m convinced that most people left standing in China after the ’60’s didn’t live through them, they lived around them. I have to teach class tomorrow, and I can’t take the silence of my students, because the one person in the room speaking becomes the dictator, willing or not. Even the skyscrapers follow the ideal of that totalitarian Plato: simple squares and circles, living close to heaven.

I’m so happy that Chinese names are common words, including mine. I never thought I’d see my name in print, but suddenly I’m everywhere, in every book, the texts are practically crawling with me like aphids. Now, reading in the morning, the banality of order swamps me: of course the transitions are going to be a little rough for writers that don’t herd through the hallways and courtyards but instead jump between the rooftops. We scorn the trees because they have no language, but why assume it’s not principle? If you were a tree, would words not be your arch-nemesis?

As the sun starts to set, the Chinese flag suddenly changes from abstract to representational art, and the sun’s rays do their best to blind me. What I say may be falsehoods, but I see them as lampshades for the truth.

2 Responses to “epigrammaleptic”

  1. Helen Says:

    Hello, Are you in China now ? I’ve been in Shanghai for months. What have you been busy with ?

  2. Curt Says:

    Yeah, I’m just teaching English in Shanghai again as a temporary job while I’m looking for something better. Send me an e-mail and we can talk more.

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