Global City Press

Welcome to the literary metropolis.

               — Look! The waters of the Yellow River leap down from Heaven,
                    surge into the ocean and never return
                                                                                                            ~ Li Bai

Out of the decade of cultural desert
we walk through the granite gate
where eight support columns rise
silently through the last dynasty

I go to the misty Lotus Pond where
purple redbuds bloom across the bridge —
to memorize English, German, and Japanese

     immerse in the joy of reading more than
          the red book of Chairman Mao
               and Max and Engels’ books,
                    the only books we read when in the countryside 

With only chalk, the teacher
draws a perfect circle on the blackboard
Mesmerized, we sail into the world of mathematics —

     forget the time teachers were forced
          to sweep the yard of our elementary school
               and their so-called wrongs were graffitied on the walls

Look back where we have come
how many times fallen, now we stand
scars and pains
we endure.

Xiaoly Li is a poet, photographer and computer engineer who lives in Massachusetts. Prior to writing poetry, she published stories in a selection of Chinese newspapers. Her photography, which has been shown and sold in galleries in Boston, often accompanies her poems. Her poetry is forthcoming or has recently appeared in American Journal of Poetry, PANK, Atlanta Review, Chautauqua, Rhino, Rockvale Review, Cold Mountain Review, J Journal and elsewhere.  She has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best New Poets, and a Pushcart Prize. Xiaoly received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Masters in computer science and engineering from Tsinghua University in China.