Pride of Place: Nicole Lai

Pride of Place: A series in which teaching staff and students from the English Department reflect on a place in Hong Kong. [Read all entries.] [Revisit the “Pet Sounds” series.] [Revisit the “Headspace” series.] [Revisit the “Ongoing” series.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]

Some of us work hard inside it
For different reasons
Some of us live inside it
Fortunate or unfortunate enough
Some of us take it as a motivation to work hard
For something that might not seem achievable
Some of us end the book by falling from it
For an ending that cannot be rewritten—

It’s a normal weekday evening
Crawling back home after eight hours of work, three hours lectures,
two-plus hours commuting here and there…
I’m finally walking on the bicycle lane
Slowing my pace, turning my music off
Looking at people returning to their homes in silence
Looking at how those white screen lights floating like fireflies in the dark

I looked for the moon but the sky was empty
except for those lights from the skyscrapers.
I always like to imagine those lights as stars.
At this point, my tears always fall down my cheeks.
Hongkongers would know how it feels
To look at skyscrapers at night
(Do not take any photos, do not talk. Just look at them)

Skyscrapers are everywhere in this city.
We are good at handling the pressure
these skyscrapers gave us—
Though suffocated from time to time
Isn’t it?


Nicole LaiNicole Lai believes in the power of poetry and especially Sylvia Plath’s. As a Hongkonger, writing poems is her escape when nobody hears her. Her poetry has been published in Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine. She is a graduate (MA in Literary and Comparative Studies, 2018) of the Department of English. [Read all entries by Nicole here.]

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