Ode to the Rickshaws of Peking

Something about “One Great City!” by The Weakerthans makes it applicable to every situation. The original song is an ode to life in Winnipeg, and I previously applied it to my political science program.

About a day ago, the below variation came to me, nearly fully formed. Beijing is too varied to summarize, but I think the below verse does a good job of describing the traffic situation. Polllution, subways, beggers, ring roads, construction claims, and everywhere signs for Beijing 2008 are the visual themes for going from place to place in the capital of this People’s Republic.

So enjoy:

Late afternoon, another day is nearly done
A darker grey is breaking through a lighter one
A million pushing bodies in the underground
that neverending sound of closing subway doors
and cops on megaphones, the beggers crawling round
at Qianmen, yet I can only say
my love’s in beijing

the driver checks the mirror fourty minutes late
the choked fifth ring road’s misery enunciates
the water sucks, the air’s polluted anyway
the same smog every day
and in the turning lane
someone’s stuck again
pouring diesel into mouths
yet through my tied mask i can only say
my love’s in beijing

And down here with us all
under absent sky
these communist cadres
watch revolutions die
The Games are coming to town!
while the mighty construction cranes proclaim
My… love’s…. in Beijing.

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