the pillar of shame

i still remember when my father
brought home our first vhs player.
it was a rarity in communist poland.
i borrowed all the tapes they had
from my friends and we spent hours
watching hong kong kung fu films.
it was an unforgettable experience
for the boy i was then, debating
whether the drunken master would fit
in with the thirty-sixth chamber.
hong kong shaped our imaginations.

and who would have guessed then
that more than three decades later,
the drunken master would enter
my thoughts again while watching
as the totalitarian chinese regime,
with secretary xi jinping, fearing
the facts, tries to erase the remnants
of memory of the past in the form
of a statue that had sat on the campus
mourning all those victims killed
in the tiananmen square massacre?

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