Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Yilin Wang

Yilin Wang After the Riot

How to Survive a Vancouver Riot

What should you do
when you see figures gather
with cigarette lighters
to mock the world with flames,
when you hear footsteps and cheers,
followed by a chorus of screams,
sirens, and glass splintering?
Stand by and watch
like an audience mesmerized
by a performance. Scream. Capture
the historical moment with a camera.
Call 911. Bring in the batons
and masks and tear gas.
Sprint away, hide behind a shield
of locked gates, climb onto a sanctuary
of rooftops and terraces.
Pose in front of a bonfire
of sizzling cars and show off.
Bow your head, give a tearful apology,
mutter “I’m ashamed.” Fall down
and steal a kiss.
Post shots of the smug
faces and beasts onto Flickr.
Try to avoid broken ribs.
Tweet a head count of the dead.
Smash the window
of the Bay and steal maple syrup.
~Yilin Wang

About the Artist: Yilin Wang
Country of birth: China
A literary place that I’ve visited: Vancouver’s Chinatown, backdrop to Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony
Where I’m headed in September: visiting Edinburgh, Scotland as an exchange student
Favourite writing genres: fantasy, social satire, lyric poetry
Tools of the trade: a black gel pen, moleskin notebook, and an Olympus camera
Three things I can’t live without: sleep, stories, and spicy food
When not writing: I serve on the editorial committee of Ricepaper Magazine, participate in literary readings, hunt for books in indie bookstores, and plot out my next travel adventure using Google Maps.

To learn more, visit

also see

Rediscovering Vancouver’s Chinatown through Performances and Storytelling


Shari Green said...

Well done, Yilin...I can feel these words in my gut. Takes me back to that night (although I was not there).

yilinwriter said...

Thank you so much for sharing my poem, Joanne! And thanks for your lovely comment, Shari.

Joanne Arnott said...

You're welcome Yilin, my thanks for your permission to share.

Like Shari, i felt that you'd captured any protest or riot in a vivid way, and in the photo, the aftermath

By compiling specific-to-Vancouver-riot impressions you've made a poem that speaks for any collective-tumultuous-things-are-getting-out-of-hand- experience, and the aftermath