Hong Kong, a poem

a convention was signed, forced upon unequal
and then there was the 99-year sequel
and so I was born, all alive and free
until Victoria granted letters patent to thee

and George — well, he got it wrong more than right
from harbors to railroads to cities walled by blight
and as the people suffered from poor sanitation
the answer was to establish a peak reservation

And when young men arrived, championing a new cause
he scampered off and left some maple to their claws
and they spoke in tongues even I didn’t understand
of a Greater Prosperity in and among this land

But a bomb was dropped, and then another
and she greeted me like a surrogate mother
“Elizabeth,” she said, her voice a command
that she would, once again, rule us by her foreign hand

Then one day he turned up, war-battered and torn
so Elizabeth let me go in the middle of a storm
saying goodbye forever, and I won’t forget you
your grandpa and I, we declared it as truth

Jin — well, he too got it wrong more than he got it right
but I didn’t believe he was doing it from spite
for he said that he would most certainly leave me alone
to heal the wounds left on my hip and jawbone
and, that day, to celebrate our reunification
he gave me a flower as the gift from a nation

I needed the time, I needed to think
but he’s here again, now dressed up in pink
and apparently he thinks he’s been waiting too long
for me to agree that I did so belong
so he came to encourage me to speed up the process
of healing, love, understanding and rest

I said “no way” and turned round to leave
so he grabbed my arm and tore off my sleeve
and I looked in his eye and I saw no love there
no more than Elizabeth had once laid out bare
and so he slapped me; across the face, three times
Article 23, election powers and breach of the peace crimes

And now I am here, bleeding out and in tears
crying out amongst gases and peppers and riot gear
and as I fight back, the one thing I’ve learned
who asked me if I consent to be governed?