Anthony Tao

Anthony Tao is editor of the blog Beijing Cream, and you can follow him on Twitter @anthonytao

Posts by Anthony Tao

Writers in China

A poem by Anthony Tao

Fling a bottle any direction

and likely you’ll hit a writer

who thanks you

for the drink.


Poem: The Last Graveyard


Ed: This is a poem by Xu Lizhi, a 24 year old worker at a Foxconn factory in Shenzhen who killed himself last September. It was translated at the Nao blog, who are happy with other sites republishing the poems. Over at Beijing Cream, Anthony Tao has also posted another couple.

For context, also check out this interview Alec Ash did a while back with Li Liao, an artist who went undercover at a Foxconn factory. He said of the suicides: "I think it was mostly out of despair ... If they leave they are unemployed, and can only go back to their old homes and start a small business. They feel they have no way out."


Summer Shorts: Train Station

Tickets please – flash fiction by Anthony Tao


It’s too humid to be raining. The water caught in the sky doesn’t fall so much as appear on our skin, so that it feels like we wear another person’s sweat. We turn into a narrow entryway, the thick orange characters transomed atop informing us that the station is ahead, past jewelry shops, milk tea stands, and a side entrance to Kentucky Fried Chicken. The air here is different, hefty and choked with presence, as if, according to some law of physics and society, it pushes back against our breath.

Travelers sleep on the grubby linoleum in the lobby. One man lies with his head pillowed by his single-zippered rucksack. A crowd has begun to pool around the only two functioning gates.



Flash fiction by Anthony Tao


Ed: twinned with Red Bean Paste on Beijing Cream, for their Flash Fiction competition

Two women, both cleaners, step out of their respective office buildings in a business district in northwest Beijing.

“Where should we have lunch?”

“I don’t want to walk far. Let’s go somewhere close.”

“How close? There’s a diner up by Tarim Petroleum Hotel.”

“We’d have to take the pedestrian bridge over the highway. How is that close?”


Broken Scotch

A poem for lovers (and haters) of single malts – by Anthony Tao


To clean up a bottle of good whisky

        you have to get your hands dirty.

                Never mind how

seven hundred milliliters of Aberlour

        crashed onto my quarry-tile floor,

where it cried in the grief of shore widows

        an elegy for sea salt, shire boughs,

                        and citrus notes.

Inspire with the nose of the finger

        saturated earth off the burn,

the spirit of the air in highland mist.

        Tactile perception is truest.