Hua Dai – When I walk alone in the street

Dai LE P&W May 2023

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2023

When I walk alone in the street, poems by Hua Dai

When I walk alone in the street

I always become super vigilant
Pictures of being dragged to the alley
And raped
Come to me vividly
My body tensed
My steps quickened
To run away and escape
To my home
And shut myself up behind doors
Not to venture out ever again

The sensation is intense and vicarious
I know it is real
To my sisters and mothers
Who have been raped when they walked in the street alone

I wanted to react to the picture differently this time
When I tried to push the man off the woman he was raping
I realized even if I pushed this man off,
There could be another man lurking
In the dark corner of the street
To jump on the woman who has just escaped the rape

I asked what I could do to save women from being attacked and raped,
It came to me I couldn’t do anything but sending love and light to the man raping
To waken his soul
That is equally beautiful as the soul of the woman being raped
But cladded in his dark body that is raping
His soul is suffering as he rapes

I keep sending love and light to the figure on the woman’s naked body
that was pushed down onto the ground

I keep sending love and light to the man raping

I keep sending love and light to the man raping
I keep sending love and light to the man raping

Gradually, I see him slowing down his thrust
He stops, looking confused
He looks down at the woman
He seems to realize this woman could be his mother, or his sister
He looks ashamed of himself
He stands up and leaves the woman’s body

He begins walking away backwards
Looking terrified at the woman on the ground
He turns around and runs into the woods

I hope he will tell his brothers still lurking in the darkness
Of his awakening
His enlightening
His becoming alive.

As I jog on the beach in Torbay

I see a puddle away from the ocean
Seemingly separate
Dancing in the breezes ruffling the surface of the sea

A drift log
Sitting in the puddle
Reminding me of the forest it once was a part

A piece of wood
Even if it stands far from the trees
In the puddle
Of the ocean

We may be distinct,
But we are not separate
In the source
Where we all have come from

If the saying of ‘an old soul’
and ‘a new soul’ is true

Sometimes, I am a new soul
I take delight in every drop of rain
Flake of snow
Sound of the wind
Chirping of a bird

I scream at every fruit thrown down to me
From the friend who climbs to the top of the tree
Just to fetch them for me

I befriend wise people
Attracted to the wisdom they embody
At the same time
Behave like a child
Speak loudly from my heart

Then some other times
I am an old soul
I am quiet, have little to say
Travelling to the moon and the bottom of the sea
As I watch the clouds floating by

A bird gliding through the air gracefully, leaving no trace
Towards the destination not known to any other
Another soul in its making.

© Hua Dai

Born in 1966 in the onset of the Cultural Revolution in China. Hua Dai has lived in New Zealand for over 20 years now, working part-time as a senior lecturer of learning development at a tertiary institute while also doing her PhD part-time. Dai is a published poet in China. She is happy to contribute to this NZ edition of Live Encounters. Her work appeared in the Auckland City Council New Kiwi Women Write Their Stories Anthology (2014). She has also read poems at the Open Mike nights of Thirsty Dog Pub in Auckland City.

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