Tuesday, 11 December 2018

changming: lit endeavours-dec18

1. got 13 acceptances in october, and 8 in november, about half a dozen from the outlets where my work has previously appeared, as i often submit poetry to an 'old' acquaintance without knowing it - as of today, my publication credits has reached 1,496 literary outlets across 42 countries;

2. for the first time, my poetry appeared in a taiwan-based print magazine called the Epoch Poetry Quarterly(《创世纪》 ), actually the most influential or the leading chinese poetry magazine in the island; this has been quite a relief because i used to believe that no taiwanese is interested in publishing my (chinese) poetry;

3. more comforting and encouraging is the fact that introduced by friendly dr Zhuo Tongnian (卓同年), an internationally renowned traditional chinese medical doctor often referred to as 'the Missionary of the Traditional Chinese Medicine'  (中医传教士‘), i met prof. Liu Weijian (刘伟见) in dr Zhuo's 'Life Nurturing Club' on the eve of 12 november.

Though in the English-speaking world I may prove to be the most widely published contemporary poetry author from China thus far, almost no editor in my country of origin has showed any interest in my poems either written in, or self-translated into, Chinese since my teenage years. However, Dr Liu Weijian, a nationally leading scholar (of Chinese classics) and highly renowned poet and novelist from Beijing University found my poetry (in Chinese) 'deep, outstanding, brief and serene'. From his comments, I discovered, much to my comfort, that my poetry is 'acceptable' to an experienced mainland Chinese reader after all. 

the above paragraph was my response to a question raised recently by Vallum, which is: What was your best poetry discovery this year? indeed, ever since i began to feel interested in poetry at age 14,  my literary experience has made me keenly aware that my poetry, whether written in chinese while i was in my teenage years, or self-translated from my published poetry composed originally in english, no reader among my fellow chinese likes my work.

interestingly, here is my 'literary karma' with my own people: my chinese poetry (self-translated from english into chinese) was first published by north america-based online magazines (in 2013), then in a print journal based in singapore, later in those based in hongkong, macao, and shenzhen, until this year in taiwan. so far, i have exchanged a few he poems (和诗) with dr Liu. in fact, yesterday, he sent me a first rate poem titled 'Missing my friend Changming at midnight' (夜怀昌明兄),and i sent a chinese poem back to him in response, which is also quite satisfactory to me. we both know that by so doing, we are following an ancient chinese literary tradition promoted by Li Bai and Du Fu during the Tang (Poetry) Dynasty.

my literary karma in and with chinese seems to show that my poetry is least 'acceptable' to my own people in my own country. this is no surprising: anyway, since a child, i have grown up and been living all the time against insults, injuries, discouragements and adversities.

i know there is still a long way to go before i sleep, or before my chinese poetry is accepted by more chinese readers. i hope to live long enough to 'conquer' a few mainland chinese literary magazines.

4. i have been thinking about writing a couple of truly 'worthy' (prose) poems, of course in english...

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

changming: literary endeavours-oct18

1. got 12 acceptances in august, and 13 in september, but about one third from those where my work appeared once sometime in the past, as i realised later. having been published in so many magazines, i often forgot which publications i had already 'conquered'.

given my submission habit that i always prefer to send work only to those which have never published my work, i sometimes find myself in highly embarrassing and quite hateful situations, where i have been rejected so many times that i may well have been marked out in their blacklists. anyway, i have stopped making subs to certain magazines, knowing the editors are not interested in my writing itself or my writing identity.

2. recently, i have written some pieces which i myself consider quite strong and satisfactory, though not so often in my endeavours. as i continue poetrying, i cannot help keeping trying experimenting with forms (of such as line, stanza, spacing, punctuation, etc), use of language and play with 'ideas.'

3. i often feel tempted to try something else or new to enrich my retired life, besides writing poetry, playing e.keyboard (like an accordion), practising chinese calligraphy and reading mostly chinese stuffs, but have thus far failed to find it. maybe i should adhere just to what i enjoy the most and feel really good at, like poetry? i known spending too much time watching lousy chinese video products every day as i have been doing is simply unhealthy to both the body and the mind, but what else can/should i do?
it is no less easy to live an unproductive or leisurely/retired life after all.

Monday, 6 August 2018

changming: literary endeavours-august18

1. got only 4 acceptances in june (the fewest since july 2011), but 17 in july - so tired of making subs, i often thought of stopping doing so altogether. but as i still keep writing from time to time, i find the pleasant feeling brought about by the few acceptances is 'worth' much more than the lousy feeling i received from the disproportionately large number of rejections.

2. quite interestingly, i found a chinese  e.zine called '诗在线‘published on weixin (WeChat); i sent five self-translated pieces last month and they were were all published a few days later. i have made no subs to chinese publications in almost five years, believing that few chinese readers like my poetry.

3. after much hesitancy, i have temporarily put my health site 'happy yangsheng' on hiatus. i meant to resume it right after return from my china trip, but found my effort had received far less attention than the minimal. i had thought it as a 'charitable' course; in fact, it turns out an unappreciated project though it puts a huge health burden on me (especially my eyes). i've no idea when to continue it.

4. the ageing process is one full of unlimited health nuisances. given the way almost all my health problems have to do with my congenital deformities rather than with my living habits or lifestyle, i have since childhood never felt how a perfectly normal person feels. as i suffer 'periodically' from my poor relational life, i am periodically in low spirits...

archived poems 2016-1©

2016, 8, 20 [sat]


A unique German word
Untranslatable, but

The room

[Of a human soul
Has to be] cleaned
By a devil

Moving Forward

Walking or running
Progressing is but

A con-sequence of
Stumbles or downfalls

One by another

The Art of Balancing

Losing balance is
The only, and

The best way of                                                                 
Keeping balance

Like walking
Or running

Forward or otherwise


You see a scene or vision
Looming and zooming
Far beyond the mountain
Or so you imagined, though

You never know what
It is, or could be, so you
Look forward with
Ever-growing eagerness

The rain drops beating each eardrum
Like a myriad of crystalized wires
Angling fishes that are swimming deep
In the heart agitating amidst
Ripples spreading afar

Yes, as long as you keep looking
You will find, as you are ready
To believe, a rainbow breaking
Into colored confetti falling
Everywhere as if from heaven

Tree Thought

What do trees
Think of?

All their lives they have been
Contemplating, so attentively

Realized: mindful for certain
Yet without a feeling

Down from the earthly depth
Up against the ethereal boundary

A loose thought travelling swiftly
From bough to bough. Meditating

On what to think of


Is not the most magnificent stalk
Of wheat you’ve failed to pick in the field
As Socrates suggested; rather

It is the best and strongest tree
Sheltering his shadow when Plato
Found himself lost in a forest


At twilight, the fishes are retreating
To the distant depth, like an ocean
They are sure of disappearance with all
The effort being made. There is no more
Jumping out of the surface; every little corner
Feeling like a void.
They are full of day dreams.
They complain with broken bubbles.
They hear the ghosts ranting
Beneath the currents, no matter
How far away they try to keep.
The shore is too many calls.
They are certain about the warm
Sunlight that can reflect and
Refract from their bodies as they become
Lighter, and lighter at dawn


After the plants restore greenness in their
Slightly bloated shape, again, you look forward
To the fictions, wondering if you have
Long forgotten your unwanted pasts

She returned to Tianjin that summer, but you
Were not really separated. You needed
Some privacy to sleep alone over
Her betrayal, in heart if not in body

This world cherishes no more loyalty; each
Matrimony has reduced to a sex play 
With money, or a state of inertia

For mutual convenience. In reality
The heart wears out with ischemia, just like
Trees becoming skeletons in winter


As if to emulate God
Recording all His creations
By arranging mountains and rivers

Our first ancestors piled up
Little rocks to remember what they had
Seen and done, most significantly, long

Before glyphs and other symbols
Were invented, even longer

Before we can interpret such rockwork
Into our mother tongues

History Making

They piled up rocks or
Carved wood
To harden their memories

We draw pictures and write
Words; - what will you do?

Transplant chips, or
Rearrange stars?

You know, to record is
To make history

Creation of Language

With an extra pair of eyes
Able to see ever father beyond imagination
And straight through the clouds of time

Cangjie invented all the characters
On a single Chinese day, ensued by
A downpour of millet during the day
And a storm of ghost cries at night
Just as extraordinary phenomena
Would concur with the birth of
Every Yellow Emperor

That’s actually twenty six centuries long
Before Jesus was created

Ring vs Rock

As the wind keeps
Blowing, a lost
Wedding ring, so exquisite
Gets rustier and rustier  
Beneath a rock


The artifact becomes part
Of the ventifact  

2016, 7, 13 [Wednesday]


 Of migratory birds
On the beach
To be erased
By the tides, except a few
Broken seagull wings that could
Become fossils

If buried deep enough in the sand


Is a British word meaning to modernize
To globalize, or to Americanize
All the colonies with an imperial syntax

Yes, it refers to the English Empire, where
The moon never sets, nor even the Babel Tower
Has a chance to rise, it was established to
Anglicize not only the local dialect
Spoken on each of those barren islands
But also the way all native minds
Living in the central parts of continents
Spell their own names, paint their road signs
In this wild world newly digitalized

You came, you see, you’re conquering
With a whole set of rules to grammaticize…

            Powerful are spoken words; much more so are those working silently in the mind.

Every word is a particle for the prison house
Of the mother tongue, from which the mind
Can never escape
Even for a single moment of yard time

The only window is barred with the net
Of imagination, from which a loose thought
May fly out into the gloam
From time to time

That Is the Room

That is exactly the room where your wife moves
Beyond her bee-like moment for the first time
Wechatting at Huawei in thickening spring warmth
After dawn falls from heaven

After the wondering if never again heaven
Can send out the warmth, the little streamlet
Of the warmth, can attract your wife to the warmth
Beyond her bee-like moment wechatting at Huawei

The Irony of a Snag

You have long since died
But you will never fall

Standing deadly among leafy growths
Your body embodies a rebirth
Greening close to your rotten cycles

No one cares how you got
Into the waterway
But you keep trying to return
To the ocean, where all life

Originates, where your skeleton
Poses a navigation hazard
To any boat heading towards a port


Brew out of the purest dews of
Mountains like white elephants, it is a pool
Of wine overflown from Mabakoola

Whereas all other lakes are filled
With nothing but human tears and sweat
Or simply polluted raindrops


A fact of fiction
A fiction of fact
Carved with the invisible
Chisels of the tropical wind
You will never undertake a finishing touch

Nor do you really need one
To bloom your inner being
Into a solid shape of beauty
Weathering against all civilization


Few humans look up
At you, but you reflect
And refract just as many colors
As much beauty as a sunbow

With little warmth of the day
But countless secrets about darkness


Standing straight against the frozen sky
Your skeletons are the exquisite calligraphy
Of the season

Your name is writ

Not in water
But with wind


Roaming in this gloam
Are a few shadows of winds
That are trying to find a location
    To perch, like your loose thoughts

Career Objective

Yeah, I wanna be
I wanna be
A software engineer; my job
Is to use the language of
Freedom, peace, beauty
Or love to design
To write
A serial code
A master program
For each operation system, or
The very working nexus
Between heart and mind

Portrait of a Baby Wife

Thirty three years after a quick marriage
You know more than enough about the nasty
Teenager girl inside her graceful shape, who
Has hardly grown up, incapable of exercising
Self-criticism, or taking any criticism, finishing
Any task on her own (except giving births
To your two sons), a homemaker whose cooking
Skills have never improved, a unique static character
Who seldom puts back her towel, tooth paste, utensils
Or drawers after use, who always has something
To complain about, who believes it’s none of her business
To keep the family together, who treats her husband
Like a money-making machine, takes her childish
Assumption as an adult fact, who looks without seeing, listens
Without hearing, who is good at spoiling a nice
Evening talk, a morning walk, uses her body to
Reward to penalize her partner, who is ready to leave
You and your little son when you become a true underdog
Who is confident enough of her physical features to divorce
You each time you try to teach her something, who keeps
Cooking dishes that even she herself never touches while forgetful
Of what you or your sons like to have in the fridge, who can only
Perform the simplest blue task, eternally remaining as girlish as
A thirteen-year-old indulgent in her little rosy romantic fantasies
Though she is a now a grandmother with every human right

Happy Mistake

The greatest mistake I have made is
My success in winning the heart
And then the body of a pretty woman

But since our quick marriage, I have been
Suffering from an emotional bully who
Makes me cry tearlessly in the depth
Of nightly loneliness while I know
She is the only, the best woman
I am fated to share my life with forever. Indeed

Like Xanchippe who supposedly turned a
Depressed man into a philosopher, she
Is a god-sent to make me a poetry author

Property of Matter-Like Life

Sometimes how you long
To stop, even to change
Your direction, but you
Cannot help keeping
Moving forward
In the same straight line
Though there is many
An external force working on
You, like a stone rolling down
From a hill to a dingle, where you
Hope to join a streamlet or a still lake

2016, 6, 8 [Wednesday]

Examining Life

How I hate jogging every morning
As mechanically as a robot, eating
Vegetables only like a damned pig
Taking more pills than a patient, avoiding
Fat, salt and sugar as if they were real poisons  
Brushing my teeth twice a day, and doing
All kinds of stupidities right against my will
Just to live a few days longer or, to be more
Exactly, to turn a bit more food into waste
Like a stinking shit-making machine! Indeed
How I am tired of living such a life that is never
Enjoyable! Is this daily examined life
Of mine really worth living at all?

Butterflies and Flowers

In the absence of fragrance

Do the flowers
With their tender wings
Attract the butterflies

Or the butterflies
With their flapping petals
Do the flowers

In the fragrance of absence?

The Bee and the Flower

Both with little visual beauty

Are the bees more in love
With the flowers
As they use their songs
To slowly penetrate
The latter’s blooming dreams

Or the other way around perhaps?

Soon After Emma Passed Her Fetus Screening Test

Still a nameless fetus, you are just
Beginning to take a human form
Like a y-shaped sprout breaking soil
In George’s little private garden, but
Your spiritual being has already fully
Bloomed into my poetry, where your
Feminine beauty is to balance all the yin and
Yang in the world of the yuans, where
You will be the first sister and daughter
To nurture my future, extending my lifeline
From my late father to my great great grandchild
A line of words that are heavily stained
With the blood deep from my inner voice

Who made thee, my dear little lamb?

Cycling Trinity

Nature created man,
Man created God, while
God created nature

As they argue who was the first creator

(Man speaks in language
Nature talks through season, but  
God always remains speechless)

Embracing Death Sentence

The moment I receive my death sentence
(from a doctor?), I will feel more than happy
Indeed, I could then refuse to say whatever I
Don’t want to say, or stop doing anything
I prefer not to do; for instance, I would
Not jog like a stupid robot, brush my teeth
At least twice a day, or avoid fat, sugar and
Salt as if they were deadly poisonous
In particular, I would care no more about
Making money, fame or expect good news
From my children. Or perhaps I should

Start to live like this as if to die tomorrow?

Desperate Urge

There is a never a single human being, much less
A beautiful woman, on the sundeck of my heart, where
I can turn to her when I feel excruciatingly lonely, where
My soul yearns to share with her my suffering, my
Joy, my regrets or secrets when my inner fingers
Feel like caressing the soft skin of a lover, when I
Long to hold her hands and watch the summer stars
Falling down to our common horizon. No, but how

I wish someone waiting there for me, day or night
Where I can retire for a hug after another long day

My Crow Again

No human eye can
Distinguish you
From numerous others
Before you vanish into darkness
Once and forever

But you have left two fledglings
Behind, which are flying
Form bough to bough
In the jungle of night
Towards the morning glow


From yin
Is nothing
But a semi-transparent film

Multi-dimensional, and
Full of infinitesimal black holes
This film absorbs not only
Light, sound, smell and feeling
But also reason and hope
As it clear-cuts every moment

Just On the Other Side

Living in a world
Strictly parallel to yours
I can hear your spiritual being
Sing aloud in the early hours
Of the day, see your ethereal
Presence loll and wallow like
A grizzly in an artic stream

Alas, our worlds can never
Meet, no matter how we travel
Ahead in time, or how close
We may come to each other’s
Heart. Yes, you see, I can now

Feel your breathing right against
My face, just on the other side


An anchored lamborghini first
Then a line of taxis
And finally several big buses

In this one way road
Have I been driving all the way
Only to find a dead end

Here and now?

A Soulless Kite Flies High

Once this is removed
From your heart, your boat
Of life will drift around
Like a leaf along a swirl

A Single Spark Starting a Prairie Fire

At the foot
Of this mountain range 
Is a tiny green fire
Ready to sweep-burn
The whole season


Far away stands a whole range
Of hills, and farther away is
An unseen cloud

Close falls a thin curtain
Of raindrops, splashing against
Summer, and closer is a baby snail

At the center lies my inner being
Like a pendulum
Swinging against yin and yang

2016,4,14 [Thursday]

Loose Thought

Like a tiny fish
Swimming along a summer streamlet
To the nimblest human hand

Even after rushing into a pond or lake
It can never be caught
Within the largest net
Of language


You hope to make a loud last call that

Far beyond itself, on itself, itself reachable; an

Whale in the Pacific, cruising under night currents

As if for an echo, louder than the human ear un-whale

The Meditating Mind

Imagine, how it bubbles
Bubbling like a swamp
With broken bubbles  

How it calms down
All ripples vanishing
Under the still starlight

An ocean of lotus
That blooms
Towards wisdom

In the Peach Flower Garden

You see no point
In dreaming the only dream that contains
Only fragments as unreal
As a collage in a mirage
The only fragments that make up history. You see

A point in the unlikelihood of a world
Where other creatures have long stropped


Among the mixtures of
Seven primary colors, the painting
Gives rise to a swirl
Turning fast enough
To send you up to a little cloud
Like the Zhuangzian Peng gliding through
The serenity of autumn sky

Neither the bird nor you cast
Any shadow down as the earth
Keeps rotating as leisurely
As any other day beyond the black hole

When you return and stand on a
Hilltop, the painting is still
Unfolding itself, but the bird has
Vanished high up into another universe

Like a Compass

Keep your mind steady
At the needle point
And your life will achieve
A perfect desired shape
No matter how you move around
With your whole body

Generative Genesis

Day 1: Let there be language, God says
                        Then there was language
            And all otherness became loose thoughts

Day 2: God created all nouns
                        Giving names to everything
            And letting them be all kinds of subjects

Day 3: He created verbs
                        Made everything alive
            And let them marry subjects

Day 4: To describe anything
                        An body, or any act
            He created myriads of modifiers

Day 5: God created all function words
                        To help humans make senses
            Out of His and their own utterances

Day 6: He created grammar
                        Like a tall ladder
            Standing against the Babel Tower

Day 7: God took a break
                        While watching how words
            Parade on the paper or the screen

Great Love

I once loved a lass, and I was ready to die for her
But she married her boyfriend much taller than me

I used to love my country, and I was ready to die for her
But she was apathetic enough to deport me into a self-exile

I learned to love God, and I was ready to die for Him
But He kept ignoring me, and never told me why

I always love me son, and I am ready to die for him
But he treats me like a machine as his mom does

I was born to love, and I will die for love’s sake
Although you never bother to smile back at me


Pearls sun-tanned
Bubbles filled with Jesus’s blood

A soft ellipsoid reminder:

One teat bloated with milk for the baby
Another aroused against a lover’s tongue

Just a minute

If I were to have one last extra minute
Let me stop trying to rhyme with the season
With the vowels of my unheard song
Wrap my soul with the morning glow
Breathe in the fresh air from the Pacific forest, or
Smell the fragrance from my private garden (where
Seeds never cease), so I could shake off
All my thoughts and feelings, opening my mind
To embrace the entire universe

Yes, I am ready

Time vs Space

All the living live
In time and space

While most dead might remain
In space, only a few
Could survive in time
Even beyond history

The Eye in the Sun

When the eye in the sun 
Radiates nothing but darkness
Even light would be frozen
Into shadows of skulls and skeletons

2016, 3, 21 [monday]

Spring Stream  

With all the transparent secrets
            Of last ice age
(Or beyond the atmosphere)
You keep flowing
Towards the sea
            Leaving all wildness behind
Along your two vast banks

The Genetic Map of English Languaculture



Your presence will fall upon me

Like the first rain
Of spring, and
Everywhere I go
Is mushroomed
With its song

The Apple

The only magic fruit from Mabakoola:

Your hardness is so soft
On Eva’s tongue; your weight
So light to Newton’s thought, and
Your roundness so flawed
In Job’s hand. Ah, blood-
Skinned, juicy-hearted
You sweet temptation

Who hang thee there?

Growing Skeleton

When all my blood is shed
And my heart fades, my skeleton
Will remain to glisten
In clear darkness

As new flesh and blood grow
And fill in every space in my body
Will you still remember I used to
Have a quite yellowish skin?

Upon His Arrival Then

You’ll arrive
And thrive
As found

You write
With might
In class
Like grass
That greens
With winds

Seasonal Entertainment

i-padding, smartphoning
internetting, key-pressing
listening to heavy metal sounds
rock-n-rolling, taijiing
yogaing, yelling or meditating
mostly living in virtual reality
people have long since stopped
reading poetry or even any books
what kind of poem
could you make out of that?

People now prefer living in virtual reality, for
They are tired of poetry and the printed word

Delivering Guy

You got work to do
Always on the run
To deliver packages
(Ordered online) instead
Of pizzas or documents
Let alone money
            Packages are just boxes
            Full of empty tomorrows
            Maybe some chance today
            But surely garbage in the end
A monstrous new mansion
Two ghostly fingers for signature
            No stopping, no place to rest
            Except boxes, big and small
            Moving on my shoulder, like
            A piece of luggage on the belt
You have been delivering all this
Together with your own life too long
You wanna quit now

Were I Still to Be I

Were I still to be I
In my next life
As they guarantee
I would have, let’s
Be friends rather
Than husband and wife
Strangers rather
Than father and son
For I have had enough
Of such relationships
Under this roof; or
Should we meet
Again, let’s be strangers
So I don’t have to love you
So much without liking you
At all; yes, it would be better
To treat each other
As friendly strangers
In our next lives
Were I still to be I

Linguistic Paradox

As a comparative linguist, I
Never understand this paradox:

Chinese tends to use more verbs
In its syntax than in English
How come the Chinese are less
Interested in taking action in reality
While the English are just opposite?

A Major Languaculatural Difference

There are much more verbs in English
Than in Chinese; is that why

Americans are more aggressive
In manner, more dynamic
In thinking, and
More verbal in speech act?

Cheese, Vancouver in April

Don’t even think of
Trying to pretend, but
Just show your most natural
Charm and grace; stand straight
Amidst the greening maple trees
Hold all the blooming cherry flowers
Closer to your heart; face towards
The bluest sky above the pacific
Move a bit more forward
Before the grouse mountain
Shake off the rain drops of last long winter
On your hair, and

Say cheese, you vancouver in april

Natural Choice of a Baby

Enshrined tightly
Within a car seat
This little Buddha
Agitates furiously:

I would rather crawl
On the dirt ground
Than be driven around
Like a caged frog

Sound and Fury

Bloated with wrath
The baby is ready to burst 
Into myriads
Of unlearned words

The Angel

Baby, baby, what made you angry?
Can you tell what made you angry?
Was it the bad toy, or the big old Roy
That has caused you to lose your joy?
Suppressed your voice, polluted your sight
Or blatantly violated your human right?
Given you such an unbearable time
Making you suffer in a frenzy mime?
            Baby, baby, what made you angry?
            Can you tell what made you angry?

Baby, baby, He will soothe you,
Baby, baby, He will soothe you:
It’s neither anything nor anybody
That’s making you feel so angry,
But a little Satan dancing in your heart
That you know not how to tame with art;
Once you pick up a speech from Babel Tower,
You can play with Him in its fullest power.
            Baby, baby, calm down now
            Baby, baby, calm down now

Silent Thunders  

Still too young
To perform a human speech act

It cannot but wave
Its chubby fists, stare
With all its innocent strengths
And scream as silently 
As Munch in his painting
Or Yue Fei in his ci
(Whose anger makes his hair
Stand up and tip off his helmet)

Is this child father of the man?

2016.1. 15 [friday]

Chinglish vs Americhina

Under our great gunvernment
Which now hates z-turning most
Our society is a true socialist democrazy
Full of shitizens (and stupigs)

While many a department and its head
Are trying to pursue propoorpty
As well as a fine sexretary
Most other chinsumers love to

Demonstrate their amimale
In front of circumseers
Like those who enjoy living togayther
In smilence


How I used to wish to grow a bit taller
So I could see a little farther
But shorter than most of my fellow villagers
I had my vision constantly blocked in the crowd

Now, with a fully grown inner being
I can not only see farther into the future
But also hear the noise of high clouds
Smell the fresh air of outer space, and

Even touch the very milk way in heaven
Whenever I feel lost down here in hell

December 28, 2015
--A dream like this one is worthy a whole lifetime.

I don’t know whether it’s my other self
Or my inner being, but I did climb high
Up to the top of a castle on a mountain
Where I envisioned a whole valley full
Of blue mists, covering bold buildings
Of a lost civilization; in the towering
Background stands a stark mountain
Chain, where a wide deep river of stilllife

Flows through a Yggdrasil-like forest, and
Beside the open balcony sits a small pond
Surrounded by rice fields. I went to the
Waterside, and caught a feathered butterfly

As big as the kite I used to fly; its wings are
Brownish, like the color of my eyes; its feathers
Are as fine as light and as soft as the dust
Falling from the sky in Zhuangzi’s dream


Some often say it takes a million
Years to convert an animal
Into a human, but I say
What few say is seldom what
You say: it takes only a fraction
Of a second to change a man
Back into an animal, or even
Less than a wild chimpanzee
When a young guy hits an old woman
For a piece of bread, chops
His seatmate’s head and bites
It in a greyhound, or guns down
A host of humans with an AK-47
Indeed, as some say what you
Never say: it takes only a whim
Or no more than an ism to throw
The whole civilization back into a
Barbarian age if some would only do
What you say that is never said

To Be The Good Time

Wikipedia statistics show
The most frequently used
Words in English today are
Respectively for each class:
The preposition ‘to,’ the verb
‘Be,’ the adjective ‘good,’ the
Noun ‘time’ and ‘the’ among
All other words. So, as long as we
Keep using English as a system of symbols
For human communication, we would
Sooner or later learn the truth, and the only
Truth about ourselves: we all expect it
To Be The Good Time…

I Think; Therefore, I Am

But of course being what I am
Does not always require thinking

Being what I am is actually sufficient

Or requires nothing but eating, drinking
Fucking, farting, pissing, pooing and sleeping

Often, being what I am doesn’t even require
Feeling, besides making money by selling

All that I have and/or I am. Indeed

Being what I am requires neither thinking
Nor feeling, now except perhaps writing

I write; therefore, I am
Though I am not what I think


Among    almost two thousand    poems  
I’ve written    and published,     the best
The most profit  able and best    accepted
Are all titled ‘y’ as they are  nominated for
The Pushcart prize, included in best Canadian
Poetry and featured over and again online
Or in print; nevertheless this one is my very
personal favorite, not because it has an empty
Title embedded with the text, but because it
has been impressed deep into the slate of my heart

Some Day

The gunfire will finally stop, and this
Evil war will come to an end
When the bloody scenes are all
Replaced by parties of laughters

Some day the sun will fight its way
Out again and disperse every
Dark cloud and shadow, driving
This rainy season beyond our wet dreams

Some day this heavy smog will be
Torn away by numerous angry hands as
Fresh air comes to fill in all the lungs
And blue shades inflate the whole sky

Some day they will discover or invent
The right recipes for these diseases
Plaguing young and old, restoring wellbeing
To both humans and animals; yes, some day


Let us take all the long time we need
To wake up from our overdue dreams
Get out of the bed, and stretch our
Limbs as far as possible for a new morning

Let us take all the long time we need
To listen to the first song of the birds
Watch the rise of this summer sun, feel
The breeze combing each tree with tenderness

Let us take all the long time we need
To enjoy being together with our beloved
Exchange a smile so that they can stay with
Us just a few seconds or even minutes longer

Yes, let’s take all the long time we need
To drink this tea, to chat about this weather
To look back at the road we have travelled along
To think, to cry, and to die in lingering twilight

Brighter Stars

On a clear Saturday night, there are
Always more stars twinkling in the sky
Why so many of them? Asked my child

Probably because it is warmer in summer
The space is larger

Just as there are also more stars in a man’s heart
When his inner climate is better

Early Bird Catches the Worm

This is just a figure of speech
In fact, most early birds can
Never catch any worms; for
Example, the first guy who
Tried to eat a crab, the original
Inventor of the net, the true discoverer
Of the natural law; in particular
My younger son who managed
To be the earliest to wake in our house
Yesterday, but still failed to
Get what he had been wanting  
Just for another boxing day


Haunted by the idea of immortality
I hope to fly
Into a piece of resin
And die there instantly
To become the content of a future amber
Like a prehistorical bee

But neither do I have the right conditions
To become a fossil, nor can I hope to turn
My selfhood into a holy being

The only thing I can do is to hide myself
Behind some words, like Hamlet’s monologue

Between Two Trees

Despite your deep love
You always keep each other
At an arm’s distance
That never shortens over time

But in between this empty space you  
Embrace all the winds and rains
Including anything, anybody
That tries to cross the boundary


You’re neither the mystic
Nor the common
Fortune teller
As you are believed to be
In the east or the west

Rather, you are the soul of a fellow
Human, perching on the treetop
Speechless, as if meditating over
Life, as if recalling your prayers

Allen and the Fir Tree

While in grade nine, Allen planted
A baby fir tree in our backyard, which we have
Relocated several times as we moved
From one rented house to another

Now Allen has grown to a full adult
But the tree is still a small child
Growing quietly in our garden

We all know some day it will grow tall
Towering against the sky when his grandson
Needs some shade back at home

My Best Time

I used to stand high on my toes
Looking ahead for my best time
Which might be only a few blocks
Away from where I lived

Recently, I often turned back
And tried to find it
With an magnifier
Near my prolonged shadow

Now, tired of looking for it
I felt it just right under my feet


Held simply too long
In my eyes, the tear drop
Fell inwardly, and
Rooted deep in my heart

Never able to see the budding
Let alone the fruit
I keep the root in close
Company with the season

February 14

Today, half of the world
Is stained with drops
Of blood coughed
Out of love’s heart

While the other half
Is covered with withered
Leaves of roses
Thrown aside last year

Quartet of Rain

First in the shape of
West wind, you sweep
Over the whole landscape
Then like invisible birds
You perch on every tree and roof
Chirruping above the season

Later, filling in every hole
And crevice on the ground
You deliver justice to all surfaces

Finally with your sliver lines
You throw hooks deep into human hearts
To catch the fish swimming in darkness


The other day I ran into an old friend
Of mine, who looked into my eyes
Without saying a single word, or
Even moving his tiny pupils. In this

Uneasy silence, I felt his vision
As sharp as needles from an untrained
Acupuncturist. Several minutes later
He uttered a caw and fled into twilight

His shadow as dark as a bad omen
His call as harsh as Munch’s scream  

On the Freeway

Driving through a forest
I saw a deer
Standing alone still

Like what I wish to watch
From his godly position:
Every human is so busy
Passing by


Decorated with diamonds
The high crown can be put
On the head of an emperor
Or a beggar

While every pheasant is
A true king or queen
With its fleshy crest

Mother’s Call: For Liu Yu

I love the way you address me, Mom
Ming er (or son ming), the only name
You have used since I was a toddler

In fact, you have never called me
By my school name when I was
A student, or even when I became
A renowned teacher; nor did you
Do so by my pen name after I won
Nine nominations as a writer. No matter
Whether it is before my family, my friends
My fans or foes, you just call me
Ming er, even though I am now almost
A perfect grandpa in my own right

Yes, I love the way you address me, Mom
And please continue to address me exactly

Like this, in the same way as any god or goddess
Would call me, the one and the same name
That reminds me of my selfhood
My true being inside out

Tree Scars

With your fingers, hands
And even arms cut off

You have scars all over
Your body, which first

You used to protest against all human pain
And injury in deafening silence, then

Your mouths became eyes staring still
At each evil knife, each inhuman act

Now you are looking forward, and beyond
Without a wink, without a tear drop

The Crow in the Snow

A baby crow
Just beginning to look for
Food on its own

Pecking around
As quietly
As the snowfall itself

Perhaps to pin its hope for spring
Or to measure the depth
Of winter

The only living creature
Hatched out of winter
Bold, palpable as in a Chinese painting

Crows against the Snowfall

Beyond the church
Close to the skyline
Several crows
Flapping together
With myriads of snowflakes

Then flying, from bough to bough

As their blackness was
Engulfed by the wintry spirits

And the snowy purity
Becomes crystalized  
On the painting

The Moth

A moth flying against the window
Inside is the reality
Outside the vision

One try, another, a third
And indefinitely
Like Lao Tse’s dao

The moth keeps trying
To fly into the vision, the virtual
Reality, while all the pain
And confusion are left close
Behind its death

In the Quietude  

I know how it sounds when
A seed breaks out of soil
The cherry tree flowers
In my backyard, the shade
Engulfing the road, the snowflakes
Kissing the land, the leaves
Returning to the root, and the hope
Impressing deeply

Onto the slate of heart. Yes, I know
How it all sounds when you
Fail to hear the music of nature
Or the cries of man, the sounds
That you can never imitate, but I can
Paint with my inner fingers
On a blank sheet of rice paper

The Leaf from the Olympus

One day in my previous life
I picked a leaf from a laurel tree
On the peak of Mt Olympus, and
Put it in between two pages
Of an unread poetry collection  

Now, opening the long-forgotten book
I spot a bird flying from behind
The leaf. Though it has been
Prisoned there for almost half a century

It chooses to fly into the sky of history
The instant it sees the light

I Have Three Keys

One is for my jalopy corolla
Another for my rented room
And the third
For the narrow closet
In the corner of my heart

I dare never open it
In case I should lock myself in

The Tree and the Bird

The bird has told the tree
Many stories about the sky
And the freedom of flight

While the bird has to return
To the tree for the night, the tree
Keeps flying against the winds

With its green feathers
High above its skeleton


With the bait of fresh leaves
And the hook of the whole season

The trees have been standing in a line
For almost half a century
Trying just to get a single salmon
Out of the stream

Looking Forward

Zip open the horizon, and

Light will gush out
With the dreams
Of tomorrow


Is my shadow
Following me around

The higher
The longer

When night approaches
And engulfs all shadows
I close it like a pair of wings
And keep it deep in my heart

The Survival of the Fittest

Low on the ground, you
Fill in every hole and crack
Or any container for water

High above in the sky, you
Drift as freely as clouds, feeling
Comfortable in every space

In between heaven and hell, you
Are with or against any
Direction a wind may take

Now in the depth of winter, you
Hung from the roof of every house
Accommodating every dream we have

Just Another Fallen Leaf

Caught in a twig
You hung on there
Not only to welcome new leaves
But to embrace life like the tree


[As the most frequently used noun in English today, is the word ‘time’ the right name for languange to go right in the Confucian way?]

Which that begins all ends and ends all beginnings while progressing indefinitely within or without space.

Yes, that is time, time after time, time of the essence, time for celebration, time to pray, time to amend the constitution, time to talk about the future, time to lose, time for a change, time on her hands, time on your side, crunch time for dark matter hunt, long time no see, high time to go to bed, big time for a practical joker crossword, no time like the present, or good time to know Amondawa people living deep in the Amazonian rainforests of Brazil have no concept of time…

Lianhua nao

Before we get up after celebrating
The spring festival with dumplings and
Firecrackers, we come upon a convergence
Of folk rituals: there is a lianhua performer
Visiting our cottage

One man from a neighboring village began
To sing about the good harvest
For the year of the monkey

Then another from a farther village chanted
About more sons grafted onto the family tree

Then a third from an unknown village
Yelled about all the peace and prosperity
We may hope to deserve

As we handed over a red envelop of gift money to him
A voice from my heart rhymes with their costly wishes

A Whitewashed Wish

Rather than a popular singer
To win applause and money
As his or her song is absorbed by walls
And clothes among audiences

You would be a Munch screamer
Standing high on a hill top
Shouting above the very
Top of your voice

Simply for a tiny echo
From the depth of the valley