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Media interview for an Opera Festival in China.

My scratchy words are scritched away –

The lapel mic has been rubbing my lapel.

It seems an unfortunate irony;

A problem both absurd and completely logical.


I’d spoken of music’s universal voice

And the bright surprise of lyric Chinese song,

And Opening Up (for forty years already!) could only bring more

To a Nation that has so much.


But scratch those words and hear my silence, this auto-censorial space.

This nation under a collectivized, terrorizing, terrified bully

Controlling everything and nothing.

An ancient world and a modern world,

And a billion tiny plastic trinkets souveniring  both.


We walk through a cultural objects shop –

Tèsè – characteristic.

Terse –the tension behind my smile.

Look at the silk, say something about the Silk Road.

       One Belt, One Road. Good. China to Rome, Opera… yeah.

I regurgitate the propaganda buzz-words just to please,

Imagining a world where our music-making can actually make a change,

If we only play their game a little bit.

Walk some more, look at the thing. Introduce yourself. I’m me. Sort of.


Arriving home, I remember that I forgot my door card.

I forget the Chinese word for door card.

My apology and mime convinces the guard to let me enter.

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