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Monkey Magic

Two poems of Beijing – by Silas Gorin

 

Monkey Magic 
  
This year I stand alone, 19 floors up.
I peek through edges
daring not to wipe the condensed
pane borne vapour.
My loin lost clothes droop long -
sadly hung clouds of grey damp -
into the box I stand in:
a stationary front
shrinking into whispering sheer.
When we were at our peak of future claim,
perhaps with rabbits in the year
twitching at the air, their brains
stone-still as a blunted axe

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Best Buddies

There's no place called home – by Nick Compton

 

Jake’s house wasn’t much to look at. He rented a weather-blasted two bedroom on the edge of town for a couple hundred bucks a month. The roof was caving in and the exterior scraped clean of its white paint by winter winds and too little attention.  What remained was gray lumber streaked white by curling chips. It looked mean. Haunted, almost.

He was my best friend growing up, but I didn’t know where we stood now. I’d left for university, moved around, ended up working in China and never really looked back.  It was rural America. A tiny town in the hills of Northeast Iowa. My home, but no place I wanted to stay.

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A post-it note from the colony

 

Ed: Dear readers, a quick note before any more dust gathers on the Anthill. You might have noticed posting has been thin in the last months, and I'm sorry for that – I've been pretty busy, and travelling in the UK and Asia since October. I'm now in Hong Kong, and if any readers are here please join me tonight for a book talk at the HK literary festival. I'm back in Beijing next week, and we'll be drip-feeding some terrific new stories on the site from then, including tales from freezing Dongbei and a torch festival in Sichuan.

Four years ago today (happy guanggunjie!) I published our first post from back in China, a dispatch from Tibet. Since then we've grown to a colony of over a hundred writers, and published over 330 stories as well as an anthology book. Now the Anthill is going through some changes. Those are exciting changes, but we'll keep you in suspense until the Chinese new year. Until then, keep following us and keep submitting stories: we'll still be posting, aiming for a new story each Friday until the end of the year, giving a home for new China writing.

Keep positive folks, and live the values you believe in. Nothing can trump an act of kindness. - Alec

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Post(ing) Mao

The revolution lives on – by Vincent McLeese

 

I found the post office hidden in an alleyway a couple of hours before my flight home. A single electric light bulb threw long shadows across the room. A scent of cardboard and black tea filled my nostrils. In the darkest corner, an elderly woman with sleepy eyes cleared the counter of the pile of torn gloves she was mending. It must have been hours, maybe days since her last customer. I affectionately greeted her as ayi, auntie. She smiled and amicably referred to me as tongxue, classmate.

“Can I still send something back to my parents in America?” I asked. “Just a little gift.”

“No problem,” Auntie almost eagerly assured. “Just put what you wish to send on the scale.”

I did.

“Oh.” Auntie exhaled as she stared at my intended postal passenger.

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Don't Blame Ling Ling

Flash fiction by Eric Allen

 

My new girlfriend Ling Ling works at the largest condom factory in the world.

Naturally, she was a bit embarrassed to tell me at first. But after a few weeks of saying she worked at some packaging factory she sort of laid it on me. I was shocked. My girlfriend makes condoms. I couldn’t believe it. I never thought I would have a girlfriend that made condoms for a living.

This all might have sounded strange once, but six months ago I moved to one of those boom cities on the shores of Southern China where everything rushes along in the haze of progress. I guess I went to China to find myself. Well, I found Ling Ling instead. She’s beautiful. Skin that seems to be gently graced with the tanned thumb of God.

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