Fling a bottle any direction
and likely you’ll hit a writer
who thanks you 
for the drink.

Archivist of residuum
and flumadiddle,
quidnunc of
the inconsequential,

tapping into Evernote
words of cabbies
as if cantos,
The China Experience.

How we hope
our lives are more
than the hottest pub or club,
contours of new beds,

or whispers of sex
in a UNIQLO fitting room,
keeping silent when another asks,
Who hasn’t?

Who amongst us
would not write our destruction
if it meant, between self-
published covers,

we could be cavalier
streaking down the day
with first-world swagger,
our sense of the just

hot in our judgmental hearts?
Look at those self-flagellating diarists
grinning uneasily into the crowd
at open mics:

Do they write for themselves or us?
Perhaps you know, sitting there.
How lonely the hours can be, even here,
when you’re looking into no mirror.

© ANTHONY TAO
Published in While We’re Here: China Stories from a Writers’ Colony (Earnshaw Books, 2015)