On Revolution: You must not move with excessive haste, nor use excessive
ruthlessness against the people.
– the I-Ching, The Book of Changes
On Taishan Mountain behind the fog
we wait for first glimpses of dawn.
It's here, hovering on China's precipice,
the Chairman proclaims the East is Red,
deems himself ruler of all he beholds.
I'm standing right beside him.
We've just fought a war, he's so thin,
and he has this steely glint
as if he's stumbled across some great illumination.
It's a moment of connection with the universe,
a revelation beyond normal human comprehension,
something to make history, like Einstein
unravelling the universal laws
of energy and mass and motion.
In this moment I know nothing will ever be the same again.
I know he has to tear the world apart at the seams,
fold it back upon itself to find his true place in it.
Everything for love, he says.
He breathes in, as if trying to capture the last
essence of olden sky, and as often, he considers
one of his heroes, Karl Marx, and what that bearded
wonder might have said on a day such as this,
in a definitive moment such as this.
And you won't believe it,
but he turns from the spectacle
of nature illuminating before us,
the hills, the valley, the forest below and faces me full-on,
grabs my hand in his smoky hands and plants a huge, wet kiss on my lips,
then says: We've all got to move on. You know, Richard,
you've got to get rid of that damn moustache.
Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry
Issue 2 | Winter 2011 | p 45-46