Digital Ballad of the Real Mulan

Remove My Lungs with a Spoon

June 2020

The Education Bureau bans protest anthems & the chanting of slogans & the forming of human chains & anything with a strong beat & the use of the blues including electric guitar electric bass electric organ electric piano in Hong Kong schools. A child’s right to freedom of expression is not absolute. This is not a game of chicken with tractors. No more Joshua Wongs. No more Ivan Lams. No more Agnes Chows. No one including students can play or sing or dance or hold senior proms or broadcast music with messages or music which affects emotions or music that expresses a stance.

Before the Sentencing: A Vlog

November 21, 2020
for Agnes

We grab brunch in Tsim Sha Tsui
& online window shop
We discuss berets (she has seven)
jumpsuits (her favorite) fanny
packs (so trendy) and matching
couples’ outfits (no need for them)

She takes me to a Japanese market
the closest she can get to Tokyo
since they took her passport away.
She bites into a grape & her eyes
widen It’s so sweet I think I love her

She thanks her sponsors & admits
her court date is soon. I might be
gone for a long time. She asks us
to Please like & subscribe before
saying bye bye in a tone that sounds
like the emoticon children use: ^_^

The Sentencing: A Wail

December 3, 2020
for Agnes  

Today she turns twenty four. A fleet of vans
with blackened windows appear on Instagram

heading for the prison. Today she turns twenty
four. Some run after the vehicles before crumbling

to the ground. They cry in a language that
reverberates through my bones in a way

English never could. Today she turns twenty
four. Light from the dead face of the moon

is no match for a country’s electric sprawl.
Today she turns twenty four. Today I turn

my phone off. We used to say 加油! 加油! 加油!
I find my schoolyard tongue 𨳒! 冚家鏟.

Can We Say Hong Kong?

I am asking you, prompting you—forcing you even—to pause and reflect on something that we take for granted—namely, saying “Hong Kong” with such certainty and confidence

Cities Without Cafes

“Maybe, if there were more of us in the city insisting on just the small things in life, and we had a space to exist, he wouldn’t have to die.”

June 9

Avoiding white-clad men, even those without knives. Advancing anarchy. Apologizing sometimes unnecessarily.