Wang Ping


How we dug---in our own eras and separate
places--me on an island in the East China Sea, you
from Paterson to New York, back and forth along the Pacific coast, 
digging, in our separate ways, for a common paradise--
you soaking in songs, Buddha, drugs,
the sex of young, soft bodies, me digging a river 
with thousands of peasants, hands and feet
bare in icy water of mid-winter, snot
frozen on upper lips, yellow slogans on red banners
fluttering above our heads: 
Straighten the twisted course of the old river
and beautify the face of the earth!
Build a communist paradise at lightning speed!
Ah, how we poured our young, undernourished blood 
into the glorious cause! and with the same 
devotion learned strategies
for detesting the big-nosed devils of the west, 
and crushing the gigantic paper tiger of the USA.