Back in our day there wasn’t anyone who didn’t know Albania
who didn’t know it was the bright light of European Socialism
or that the other bright light was us. Back then
from Beijing to Tirana, we could all singA bosom friend afar brings distance near... It wasn’t till much later that
I learned these words were by Wang Bo of the Tang.
He died a long time ago and was never in Tirana.
I doubt he’d ever heard of the place, much less that it was very, very small.
A pal of ours named Wei Guo once said to us rather cryptically: all
Albania is just like the little upstart kingdom of Yelang.
I remember, I swear: it was the summer of ’74.
We had just turned 12 and thought what he’d said outrageously reactionary.