Wang Ping

Rains, Clouds, Eight Thousand Miles of Roads
 -- in memory of Allen


Strange how your face evaporates
from my waking thoughts, yet for weeks you walk
into my dreams, the way you would walk into Mie's Noodle Shop
on Second Avenue to order your steamed fish.
You are bodiless, ashes scattered in the wind,
yet your face in my dream is all intact, your voice 
that has awakened many hearts,
still booming. 

"What the hell do you know about Tibet?"
you shout as you did once before in life, your finger pointing in the
direction of Tibet, the High Land, 
then at my nose, white foam lining the edge of your mouth--
your rage at the violence done to its land, its people.

That was 1989. I was no longer young, but still arrogant 
from ignorance and raw from unhealed wounds.
Your anger drew out my tears, and awakened me. Through the foam 
around your mouth, I saw passion, warmth,
and how you wanted to straighten the twisted--
to let love be the cause of love, not hate. 
Your roaring shored against the wreckage of beauty,
ruins marked by greed, money, war, disease.
Foam around your mouth, your finger pointing.