Two Poems

A black and white photograph of human shadows on the pavement
Rainy Afternoon Hong Kong 2018. PHOTO: Joan Pabona

@kuochuqu #historyofthebees 
#gardenwall #blah #sowhat

In 19__ I broke an expensive urn. 
Since then I have been breaking 
and defacing everything from home 

because breaking is the only way 
to tell the fake from fake. 

In my blue cotton top 
and working-class flip-flops 
I am dangerous as a bee. 

Violence in a broken jar. 
Violence in my seed. 
Violence in my tweet. 

They are hoping to catch 
all the venomous bees like me 
Inside the garden walls.

I’m ugly and obvious as a mountain. 
The hidden cameras stare at me 
with envy, plotting their own escape. 


King of Kowloon

In your white vest and blue flip-flops,
you wandered about in the fierce sun,

a can of black paint in your hand.
We read your family history on lampposts: 

your escape from Liantang, your ancestral home,
settling for Pink Shek in Kowloon.

You hailed Wen Tianxiang and Sun Yat-sen,
charged the Queen for usurping your land. 

新中國皇 曾榮華 曾福彩
中英 香港 政府

A self-declared king for fifty years, painting 
all over the colony – a city where the British 

lived like paradise birds on mid-Levels 
while the Chinese sweated, selling meats 

in wet markets. But the freedom 
to march and shout, to do what you did!

Defiance on the lampposts,
defiance at the ferry pier.

撐住五十年不變! 高度自治
叉燒 飯碗 撐住! 撐住!

Your furious characters on the red postbox
kindle in us a flame we have always known.

Photo: Tai Ngai Lung

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Jennifer Wong studied English at Oxford University and has a creative writing PhD from Oxford Brookes University. She is the author of Goldfish (2013) and teaches part-time at City Lit and Oxford Brookes.