My business is here
My goods, piled high
I lay my head on my livelihood
My clients come here, to speak to me
Feel the quality, feel the strength of the seams
Make their orders, I make my sale
My family will have food tonight

My business is there
My goods, reaching the touchscreens of millions
My fingers dance across my livelihood
I undercut the others, the clients come to me
See their profit margins, I make my sale
My family will have food tonight

My business is here
My business is there
Where am I?

Bare feet
Smartphone in hand

I connect
To the whole

“How do you feel knowing there is information censored from you?” I brazenly asked my Chinese students.  We had built up trust and they were beginning to speak candidly with me, even as their eyes flitted often to the classroom security camera.

“In China we have our own internet, and it has the information we need,” they replied sincerely. “What’s out there that we don’t have here? We have VPNs, but we only need them to watch cat videos on YouTube. What good does that do?”

 Two days later…

“The Dalai Lama is a terrorist,” she stated with a conviction surprising of a 17-year old. “I don’t understand why the West thinks he is a peaceful person.”

I put on my most patient teacher voice. “Why do you say that?” I asked.

“We learned the whole story in school. Go on the internet; all the information is there for anyone to find.”

A moment holds space for only one experience

Rushing colors
Swirling in tandem
Bright green, indigo, crimson, silver, yellow, orange, ebony
Streaking, blending together across my vision
I trade colors for your message

Honking, shouting, dogs barking, wheels squealing
The steady and unceasing rumble of the city
Hissing brakes, water splashing, the incessant clang from the metal shops
I trade sounds for your message

Wafting steam from the morning baozi
Sweet, savory, tickling to the senses
Musty pavement
There was rain this morning
Exhaust, trash, dust kicked up by morning sweeping
I trade smells for your message

A moment holds space for only one experience

Your eyes
See what they expect to see
Baraka, Human Planet, Nat Geo, Hollywood
They have shown me to you

Now I show me to you
What are your emotions?
Disappointment, sadness, anger?

Look into your own pocket