Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Razing Hunan: Shū de zhēn tā mā căn!

The first swing of the wrecking ball shatters the fiberglass façade of red, green and gold
chipped mortar and pulverized sheetrock
rain gravel with a dusty fog
Another swing and as much more crumbles
dozers tamp down debris in the rusted blue landbarge.

For over three decades, a bastion of guo tieh, Happy Family, and (some would say) stale fortunes. A cavernous shrine with aromas analeptic... sizzling sounds of hustle and bustle, yet allaying in its accordant ambience. Dependable with dispatch, too, as one could rely on prompt deliveries of Kung Pao standbys, General Tso’s MRE’s, and the annual Chūnjíe faux-bamboo freebie calendar -- a decorative touch for any kitchen.
Most famously perhaps, was the B-52–inspiring Flaming Volcano, a convivial adult libation known to foster musical bonds.

Such was the prime pith of Baxter Street, actualized.

But today, under the hazy late summer sun,
beyond the overgrown weeds and cracked asphalt,
a lonely demolition
subtle history passes
rubble without witness

Húnán fànguăn zŏule, wŏ hĕn nánguò...