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9 Jun 2009


1989. The earth was moving. Mike Oldfield said so. Thunder rolling, a rush of air.

At Tiananmen, a man dug his heels into the concrete before four Chinese Type 59 tanks. From above, four men ducked down to snap variations of that iconic image, of that lone toy figure whom found itself facing the horde. Just like what I’d do as a kid in the basement: pit Ultraman against, say, Vader, Shredder, Zed, and the Joker (an Evil Dream Team never looked so good). Ultraman, though, he was real heavy, and one whack with his iron leg brought the kingdom on its knees. Unfortunately you can’t kick like that in this life, and I’d only learn this many years later, though not in the straightforward way that Tank Man must’ve learned it.

Tank Man was real heavy too, a strapping chinaman brimming with romance, but Zhongguo knows best, nothing beats romance like a good ol’ rifle nuzzling the small of your back.

That was June 4th. Ma oggled the discolored television in a Los Angeles apartment I wouldn’t remember, her belly swollen pink and blue, pulsing wet with my fetal thoughts. Don’t watch, Ba warned. He didn’t want her to get too excited, or all afraid.

I was born at 8:18PM on August 18th, 1989. A time of wars, confusion, and the beginning of an unknown age, the 20th century limped closer to its last years. The Berlin Wall fell with the fireorange leaves, later that lovely November. But this is a dangerous thing, hope, because our species likes to defer. Hope’s not for us, the old bastards think, we know life sucks ass.

Still, they place their hope in the young — in this twitching peanut that didn’t want anything more than a milky tittie in his mouth. Things were going to change, they thought. These can be the boys and girls to do it.

Well, it’s been a little difficult.

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