You feel that way sometimes – peeling
flakes of undercoat on a condemned row of shop houses.
Famed for benchmark limestone
crenellations, mesas and buttes –
better off, some believe, as shopping mall cement.
But under the one-way system
there’s gold, precious metals, the aspirations
of old mother China, noodle vendors
built like wrestlers and
Becak drivers on their daily marathon.
They say something in the water
makes their daughters pretty
not the Lancome Christmas make-up pack
though nothing’s wrong with that.
Or green and tender vegetables,
or calcium carbonate
in a cup of jasmine tea.