Secrets of a Wounded City

The city is too quiet
             to be real
Let me dedicate it a song
             The Secrets of A Wounded City
But you don’t hear it
             in the deafening silence
A robin kills itself by
            crashing onto the shiny glass screen of a highrise building
I am muted
             A muted singer
I am blacklisted
             A blacklisted song writer
I once grabbed all the significant music awards
All my albums were best sellers
I sold three platinum records
My wealth accumulated like I was printing money
Not even a decade ago
But I was arrested three times
            I am on probation
                  and under surveillance
I was not a drunk driver
            Nor was I in possession of weed
But there was a certain misconduct in the eye of the authorities
            “Colluding with foreign forces to
             produce and distribute seditious materials”
The seditious materials were an independent news outlet I helped fund
            The foreign forces were our international correspondents and readers
Democracy is seditious
            Freedom of speech is seditious
                  Human Rights are seditious
I lost the contract with a multinational cosmetic cooperation
             I understand they couldn't miss the huge market
                   I didn’t have the face to wear their makeup anyway
I am banned from performing in many countries
              Few governments can afford to offend my ruler
Touch a blade one millimeter from its edge you won’t be hurt
           But I can’t control myself
                 For truth is there, edged
A fallen petal of bauhinia lies on the concrete pavement
           deprived from its soil
                 from its brilliant nature
Let me dedicate my song
           to this wounded city
                 It is too quiet to be real



Denise Ho, a Hong Kong pop music star, was an active supporter of the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and Anti-extradition protest in 2019. Now she is silenced, as were millions of pro-democracy Hong Kongers, by the draconian National Security Law implemented by China in 2020. Her song “Secrets of A Wounded City” was from a 2006 movie Confession of Pain.



C. J. Anderson-Wu

C. J. Anderson-Wu is a Taiwanese writer.  In 2017 she published Impossible to Swallow—A Collection of Short Stories About The White Terror in Taiwan and in 2021 The Surveillance—Tales of White Terror in Taiwan. Based on true characters and real incidents, her works look into the political oppression in Taiwanese society during the period of Martial Law (1949-1987), and the traumas resulting from the state’s brutal violation of human rights. Currently she is working on her third book Endangered Youth—To Hong Kong. C. J. recommends Hong Kong Free Press.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 - 20:37