Shanghai, you filthy, wholesome, intoxicating, red faced, cigarette smoking, green tea and whiskey drinking, neon overloaded, fake rolexed, pink money stained, freshly minted millionaire of a technical metal masterpiece, glass filled and people full metaphor of excess and traditionalism, this is my breathless and bleary eyed, bajiou breathed primal scream from the comfort of your warm embrace.
Shanghai, you are noodles in the evening, noodles in the morning and noodles, noodles, noodles, spilling out of taxis, snaking around long metro lines, into the streets, spilling hot soup that rises like steam from dumplings over Huai Hai Lu, the far off barely remembered sounds of rickshaws makes way to the click clacking of iPhone as the new generation of thieves and KTV girls mixes with the suits, the pioneers, artists hell bent to change the direction of the wind, cloud bursting missiles showering similes of better city better life over fake dvd markets and foot massages that go all the way up. In call tailors out call services, exploding over the night like with all the persuasiveness of the homeless ladies screaming down the streets with flowers, half asleep babies dangling off their arms like cigarettes, grasping in the ice cold winter, hanging like icicles of the pockets of drunken lao wei, yelling indecipherable Chinese, lost on frozen ears in the madness of the boozy blackness.
Shanghai you are a silk evening gown, the bottoms trailing along the Bund passing Euro Trash dick bags and immaculate Jazz age buildings kept between wars and revolutions, the sudden scream of bombing runs can almost be over head among the din roar of the gathered crowds of debauchees and custom made suits, tailored by chiseled hands, gnarled and stained and smiling with your Shanghai-ren secret language and sibling less children who are left to fend for themselves in the digital revolution, fading from Mao like the receding hairlines of so many of the fat Western business men that your daughters flock to in outstanding droves, lemmings rushing to the cliffs, champagne in one hand, pouty lips and big eyes, pale skin cream white faces, long, long, long, long legs and short, short, short, short skirts, embracing destiny stoic and chic.
Shanghai you are smog thick and graffiti free, recycled cooking oil and contaminated tap water, racist tooth pastes and a corruptible incorrigible, a super fine slick that sticks to the roof of the mouth, flicking with the tongue and foul odors that make way to mind blowing light displays, loud fireworks, loud life, quiet homes, clinically insane by committee, traditionally inappropriate by real politik, insatiable hungry for more and carrying the world on and on and on.
Shanghai you are beautiful, you are my mistress and third love, you are coquettish smiles and xiao long bao, you are like all others I’ve loved, doomed to be cheated on, older then me, wiser then me and way more wealthier, with more friends and intensely jealous of all my wasted potential, you are my booty call and current steady crush, wrapped up and steamed then slightly fried and sold back for 5 kwai, lost in vinegar, slurped up with broth in a dirty hole in the wall over cafeteria style tables and long bottles of green Tsing Tao and people hacking up spit, served with an soy boiled egg and some tissue paper.
Shanghai you are a mess, leftovers from the last nights party, waiting penitently for the Ayi to clean everything up in silence, cold water pipes bursting and flooding cozy french concession apartments with modern flat screens and squat toilets, outside kitchens and washing machines with no dryers, laundry left outside to air dry, lipsticked smeared champagne flutes softly spilled out on the ground, a hapless, single minded portrait of over filled ashtrays and puddles of vomit in the sidewalk
Shanghai, you are too much and you are not enough, a tug of rope of 22 million people and expired expats exhausting one last git into the calamity of the nigh time insanity, familiar and strange like weird flavored potato chips, cool cucumber, shrimp hot pot, beef curry and whitening creams and tanning salons, strange named locals, Yellow, Puppy Chow, Elvis, Gold and terrible cocktails, fake booze bottles, fake clothing and genuine people, looking for worldly outsiders to seduce and take away like a doggie bag.
Shanghai you give me hangovers in my soul, my spirit crushed after every nights heavy drinking, a little piece is lost of myself in every shot as the glint in the eye gets ever brighter and the ruckus starts again, long lasting superior night bred, whirling carousel of so many faces, so many girls and songs and bass, and bass and bass and there it is again, that dragon we’re chasing after, long serpent tail flickering threw the night, so close to reach out and grab it, one more shot, one more club, one more, it’s the only one, the one, then more, then one more the only thing, shots become bottles become buckets becoming crazy, one more, the dragon closes in and flirts in the night runs away tail zooming through the next door, the next club, spilling dice, taxi cab Chinese, trumpet blaring, singing down the street, that we are almost there, the dawn slowly opening its blood red eyes, the dragon just ahead of us, its Mao and the late nights, Brazilians and Nigerians, Models and ex Cons, so close to grabbing it, then the Sun is up in entirety yelling at us like an old man to get off his god damn lawn, out of the corner of the eye you can see as the Dragon races back into the sky, chased but never caught, like every other night becomes shampoo instructions, wash rinse, repeat.