Glenn Mott

Things I’ve Discovered in Hong Kong
July 9, 2014 Mott Glenn

Things I’ve Discovered in Hong Kong


Semantics: clue that Trappist Dairy Milk Drink is not milk—had I read the label—

use of a Christian cross to shill purity milk drink 十字牌牛奶.


Finished the last snacks from Sahadi’s and the last of my beloved’s baked goods.

I am now adrift in Cantonese.


And yet, who am I, pleasantly melancholy at Lunar New Year, compared to another

appalling forecast back in New York for  “Ice Pellets”?


The soul is a mechanical operation, the spark of life keeping the body in animation.

But also the essence of innumerable bowls of pho.


Think of all the fried chicken that went into making me.

A little schmaltz wouldn’t kill you either.


I have only ever had a propensity to change. To order within change.

And to change without order.


Can remember every drink of water I’ve ever taken.

Wish I couldn’t.


Until the dullness settles in, I notice the hardware. Regard the plumbing.

The doorknob is a school.  It’s not much, but I’m new here.

Glenn Mott is the author of the book Analects on a Chinese Screen (2007), is managing editor of the Hearst newspaper syndicate, and was a Fulbright Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing (2008-09). He has also held teaching posts at universities in Shanghai (1991-93) and Hong Kong (2010). While working in China in 2009 he organized a program at the U.S. Embassy on “Law and Journalism” bringing together two of China’s most high profile human rights lawyers, Mo Shaoping (who represented jailed New York Times researcher Zhao Yan), and the self-taught legal defender Pu Zhiqiang (who is currently under arrest in Beijing for his rights work). The program spurred several more workshops with Chinese journalists and legal scholars in the cities of Guangzhou, Xiamen and elsewhere. Earlier this year he worked with the Academy of American Poets to make Poem-A-Day available in syndication to news publications. He has edited Paul Laurence Dunbar Selected Poems (1997), and is currently working with Yunte Huang on an anthology of modern Chinese literature for W. W. Norton.