Unrest on Kam Lam Street

Last night and a brawl had
pushed onto my home street; Kam Lam
back-ended, things broken
sandbags split
I stepped outside, cigarette ready
and smelt fear. The people
pressed forward; brutality
is a photo opportunity, after all

hundreds turned and pulsed
in a wave, like animals with ears flattened and
hackles raised, cornered
masked and wild-eyed
they took batons
and riot shields and above all
a chain gang of police. They

pushed me back; I was terrified
blundering over broken glass, every
which way as the crowd
swallowed me up. I understood
finally, the deep heart
mentality of a mob out for blood

I stood; fingers frozen around
a lamppost, a white stalwart
in a sea of frenzy. In the damp heat
a minibus oozed through crowds
seven or eight deep

packed like sardines,
that could surge, would surge at
every bellow or bark
in Cantonese, over here!
The police are over here!

It was raw,
pure fear. Men screaming
pushing, pulling and everywhere
the glare of phones making
notes of each streaming
spike of protesters
and the hot, full-throated feeling
of tight adrenaline or

expectation. And I saw how
thrilling mass movement is
how we, the hundreds, were taut
with tension
glass splintering underfoot as
our flags unfurled under darkness
and caught in
the strobe lights, blood-bright
I hurried away, tasting smoke in the air

to shelter, pushed past
a broad-shouldered policeman
coiled by his own mix
of rage and fear, so close I felt
the spray of his saliva and
his shiny, ready to rip brass and buttons
but not – thank God – the
snap of his baton.

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About fiercemissc

Twenty-something Geordie girl living and working in Hong Kong. Young, free and single and making the most of it.
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