Hardcore Innocence in Hangzhou, Winter 2015

Julian Gewirtz

We’ve been reading dirty
books, the kind with scurf
in their spines, cracking
their backs over my bed

flakes onto my pillow
but we can’t stop yet,
I’ve recently learned
this halo around the moon

is just more water
frozen into jewels so
small they don’t fall
toward us. Tonight’s forecast

is heavy snow.
Kingdom, you learned early
the blank law of attraction
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yet you may not have noticed
the kink of future I pressed
into your pocketwatch,
long hand locketed down

now it’s always
a few minutes before midnight—
We can have a drink
on the house.

The planes can see us,
listen, wind droning the
organ of these elms,

grass’s unsteady metronome.
We’re stumbling drunk,
too fumbling to touch

the garden’s succulents
swollen beyond recognition …
Am I you? These colors
of night, stiff-scented, freezing—
And if I want you, that doesn’t
make you want me.

Julian Gewirtz is the author of Unlikely Partners: Chinese Reformers, Western Economists, and the Making of Global China.
Originally published:
April 1, 2018


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