Thursday, 13 December 2012

[archived]: Poems by Changming Yuan - © 2008

The Fallen Tree

I had taken it for granted
All trees stand upwards
But this one fell down
Too tired or too sick
Too old or too drunk
To keep itself straight
In last night’s storm

Seeing the pine tree lying there
Its proud needles stained with mud
I cannot help pressing my horn:
Rise, and hold your noble head high!

The President and the Mouse

Nothing went wrong to begin with:
The president had made a speech
As powerful as penetrating as ever
Which was televised nation wide
But some of his diction so infuriated
Jake’s boss in their imposing building
He gave Jake a huge pile of bullshit
The first thing in the very morning

For obvious reasons Jake could
Not throw out it back at his boss
So he passed the whole shit to Jane
After returning home from his work
And so Jane passed it to little John
And so John to his bulldog
And so the bulldog translated it
Into much more dogshit and
Passed it to a mouse in the storeroom
Usually on the high alert against
A neighbor’s cat…
Shreds of My Shadow

Soon after the summer sun
Pushed my yellow shadow
Beyond the boundary of land
And threw it onto the blue see
A wild wind blew it into shreds
Across the foamy fields

Let them swim like salmons
Or grow like seeds in spring

Snow Dancing

Drifting, slanting, flying
You spirits of winter water
      Coated with white and fluffy
Silences and serenities
Fall as if from lucent dreams
Erasing and eradicating
Every god-marked boundary:
      Between day and night
      Between living and dead
      Between the earth and the sky
      Between the ugly and the beautiful
Streamlining each angle and corner
      With your soft and tender power
As you dance wildly and vigorously
      To the unheard melody of heaven

All quiet and white, but at a site of light
The shadow of a crow is turned into a glow

Chinglish Sayings

The moon over America is bigger and rounder than china
The crows in the rose garden are less black than the forbidden city

We natural follow our hearts more close than to our minds
Those standing most closest can strike most deadliest

The east wind will suppress the west wind is certain
We enjoy go watch play basketball on the weekend

Few Chinese individuals have really independent personality
In social relation face and golden mean are most important thing

Because china is the most populous country, so it has most problems
Tho our ancestors invented gunpowder, we used it for celebration only

Firewood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar, tea are seven things of every household
People take food as sky while emperor is just as too far away as sky is too high

Since we without the condition, we strongly against this system
We are desirous getting into the stage though we lack of masks

We find simply inappropriate to use ‘I’ or ‘me’ too often
My home is the only place in which myself really cares

Interview Interrupted

It does not sell a penny, even if it does
The honorarium can never offshoot the costs
Of the stamps, envelopes, pens and papers
Not to mention the computer and laser printer

Nor does it bring any worthy honor or fame
Since it died as early as a century ago
when people began to turn to novels, movies
fashion shows, tv, sports, rock and roll

Nor can it help articulate any post modern
Feelings, thoughts, impulses, dreams
Sensations, experiences which can be more
boldly expressed in digital fonts or formats

Nor can it really prove, record, mark, communicate
Criticize, satirize, promote, denounce, debunk
Describe, reflect, educate, stimulate, amuse
Amaze, appeal anything or anybody in today’s world

Indeed, whatever can be said has all been said
And whatever has been said is already the best
Of all the artworks plaguing this polluted world
Why the heck do you have to write poetry?

Post-Modern Epitaphs

1. off line
2. tuned out
3. game over
4. id expired
5. a static statistic
6. too tired to toil for more fame and money
7. here I have found freedom, equality and fraternity

QUX: Waltz of Alphabet

[A]bide one [B]arrow
[C]art another [D]ear
[E]late in the [F]air
[G]love the [H]owl
[I]deal with the [J]ail
[K]ill to [L]earn
[M]arch the [N]arc
[O]pen a [P]lay
[R]ice for the [S]crawl
[T]angle the [V]ale
[W]rite about the [Z]one

Dancing Definitions

Descant of beauty
Art of mechanics
Geometry of youth
Poetry personified
Painting in 4 dimensions
Heavenly handwriting
Figure thinking
Rhythm of imagination
Each and all
      In human dynamics

Dearest Discovery

If you have not yet found
The way to immortality
It does not matter, I have
And there is actually a short-cut

You don’t have to convert yourself
To avoid hell and go to heaven
Nor do you need to take elixirs
Or even try to accumulate prestige

Fame or creation does not help
All you ought to do is not to lose
Your self-awareness, the energy
That preserves itself after your death

Keep it or let it drift against night
It does not matter, if you really like
Concentration can turn it into
A spirit, a ghost or even a god

So, concentrate

The Little Grass

beside the sidewalk
a little nameless grass
manages to stand up
each time after it is
trodden down under
a dirty and heavy shoe

1/ to the wild rhythm of an open fire
our ancestors danced with their naked bodies
in each other’s warm shadow
although they are total strangers before the cave

2/ to the blinking beat of a cold screen
we are now dancing with our gloved fingers
in the bright spots of our own minds
although we have no spectators in rented rooms

3/ to the unheard melody of a starry song
our offspring will dance with their lucent souls
along the borderline between earth and heaven
although they cannot distinguish themselves from air


Now another ice age is coming
Everyone knows how and why


I had a conversation with a potted pine tree
Put precisely at the center of a corner
Among some dwarfed plants
Crowded in an ornamented house
Full of solid walls and railings

Like its twigs and even roots
All its protests were pinched and pruned
With the scissors of human art
It was mad, it was sad
Preferring to be growing in on a wild hilltop

From this pine tree deformed in a pot
I heard the muted cry of every soiled woe
Every suppressed life on earth

Animal Farm Revisited

The other day, I saw a vulture wearing the feathers of a dove
That happened to sneak into this fairy farm  
There it was bullying pigs and goats into flight
Torturing ducks and roasters for having wings feathered with similar dreams
Beaking the bear because of its claws just as powerful
Conspiring with bulls, elephants and walking dogs against the dragon for trying to fly just as high
And threatening all others for emptying their bowels through their own ass holes
Just like itself

Did you honestly see that?

You Know How Fast You Are Driving?

I have no idea, officer, but
I am trying to catch the next flight to heaven
I have an important appointment with an angel
I need to go to a washroom

This is my first day to go to work
This is my last chance to save my marriage
This is the only hope to find my lost child
This is the right situation for a surpass

My new boss is waiting for me
My new bride is expecting me
My baby is being borne
My father is dying in hospital

Something has gone wrong with my right foot
Something blurred my eyes for a moment
Something is not right with the odometer
Something funny is going on…

Sure, but I have to give your ticket
For driving too fast to your destination

Have Aliens Found Us


We haven’t em
We have found fossils

Those white birds of history
Their wings frozen in time
Once flying mischievously
In our personal climate
It’s all like hide-&-seek
They have found us
We haven’t em


At the Gas Station

Does this gas
Taste of grain or blood to you?

They say pump
What you don’t drink with your mouth

Do all these nozzles
Serving the wrong thirst
Reach out from the same nightmare?

They say it’s all civilization
So be a vampire

Politicians & Public Opinion

This distorted shadow of a monster dancing widely
Or of a colossal rain cloud above the borderline between sea and sky
Constantly changing its shape and thickness
With lightning and thunder
Ready to blow or to be blown into an unseen bubble
By the whirl beaten up by another dancing monster


On a bright night, at a violet site,
I sowed a seed onto a fertile field
Never expecting to enjoy the thick shade
Under this tall pine tree
Like an all-purpose shield

Not My Ashes

No, please do not keep my ashes in that suffocating urn
Where my spirits can neither fly nor to the ground return

But throw me high, higher against a wild west wind
Let me travel along with this season’s sigh thinned

Like the seeds from an unseen hand
Spread finely across a far virgin land

3 Sketches from Sichuan Earthquake [12May08]

1/ Mother and Baby
with all your human motherhood
your arms and legs like concrete poles
you created a safe cradle for your baby
as it enjoys sucking life from your withering breast
under tons of debris

2/ Teacher and Pupils
as the mountains clashed
you returned to the school sinking in the quake:
how did your single small body manage
to protect four teenagers from being smashed
by the walls caving in?

3/ Victim and Rescuers
just from the bloody battlefield against death
you are carried down on a stretch made of soldierly arms
too feeble even to feel alive
yet you remember to make a military salute
to the unseen PLAs supporting your boyhood

No One Knows When

Deep in every human heart
Is caged a ferocious tiger
Always ready to spring out
And eat you or me alive

How Does the Big Eagle

How does this big eagle
Improving its shining claws
And spring around like a mad beagle
To every unwritten clause

How innocent it pretends to be
How fresh it prefers fowl
And bullies the starving bee
Out of tasting a petal foul


Under a narrow and starless sky
Dig me no grave but let my fly
Loud did I sing and loudly sigh
      Please throw me against a high wind

This be the spirits you scatter around:
Here he starts from and falls on the ground
Here is the cuckoo, home from the sound
      And his ashes fall upon a wild flower

White Crow

You have never seen a white crow
You have never hoped to see one
But you have made this white enough:
You’d rather be than see such a crow

Soil and Air

Some sing life will restart out of soil
Some sing out of air
From what you’ve never heard of
You give up on those who hate soil
But if it were to be born once again
You doubt you had any idea of love
Not to sing that for construction air
Would not hold even with sunlight
Or suffice

Modern Narsasis

I’d better stop
Looking hard in the mirror
With these gold-rimmed lens

Or I’ll cut myself
Into sharp bleeding pieces
If it is broken

Songs and Calls

Birds make two types of sounds:
They sing
When they perch
On the tree
They call
When they fly
In the heavens

Between Me and Mirror

Looking right in the mirror
I find
No human reflection
Not even my shadow
Though the room rented
Is full of morning glows
Except the presence of absence

Where I am
I am
What is blocked
However I turn
The mirror absorbs my entire being
I long to take a closer look
At my truer self
But all I could see there
Is a blank space only

Sam’s Song

Tho my partner threw me away
Like one of her used lipsticks
After putting on a new makeup

Tho my landlord gives me shit
Each time I fail to pay him
In full amount or on the first day

Tho my boss has just fired me
Simply because he happed to see me first
After he lost a fortune this morning

Tho my only friend big mac
Is too weak to play with me
Or dream about having gold solid

Tho some call me trash
Others look down upon me
And still others never see me

Tho I have had little luck
Not to mention money
Except a few human rights

Be all that as it may
i got to eat a loaf of bread
and sleep in a dry corner
even on a rainy day

Pounding, Pounding

Hard above my head
Is a heavy rhythm
Like death’s thumping steps
Ready to iron me
Onto the ground

Fair Is the Fate

each of us
has a fiery steed

you may tame it
and enjoy the ride
on its back
like a pilot

or you are kicked aside
and even trodden
under its feet
like the dirt

so, be brave
and to horse!
Musings over the Moon

      1.    what a splendid silver plate
holding so many gold dreams

2. you cover your face with cloudy gossamers
not really because you are too shy or timid

3. this world can never go without light
so you come even before the sun exits

4. when darkness rules over the earth
only you remain close to human life

5. you always keep a cold and hard distance
tho your tender fingers caress every soul

6. you give no warmth in winter
but you offer light at midnight

7. unlike flirting stars whose affection is never stable
you are always loyal to those truly in love with you

8. you know all the secrets of the moonless night
yet you never use them to blackmail the sunlight

9. you quietly withdraw from the scene in the morning
only to let the sun receive tribute from all worshippers

No More Hanging On

so long have I longed
to give up all my earthy concerns
like an enlightened Buddhist monk
i am ready to climb up to
the peak of an unknown mountain
where I can build a plain hut
with fallen leaves and branches
where I can feel nothing
but the fresh songs of the forest
where I can hear
the budding of wild chrysanthemums
where I can taste the green wind
caressing the bubbling stream
where I can watch the sweetness of bamboos
shooting from the rocky vale
where I can smell the heavy breath
of tall pine trees and unknown bushes

will earth stop rotating round the sun
because of my humble interruptions?

Reflections on the Road

1. the road is narrow because few have traveled along
the road that has few travelers is not always narrow

2. broad ways lead only to the foot of a tall mountain
it is thin trails that lead travelers to various peaks

3. there had been no roads in this world to begin with
they came into being after people began to travel

4. there are thousands of roads available to all
but you can choose only one to travel along

5. like bars falling down from the heavens
roads have chained the world into history

6. roads have neither starting or ending points
except stops and stations along either sides

7. there are no roads just as straight on earth
as those followed only by the human heart

8. no footprints can be found on broad highways
only on paths are they marked like milestones

9. while the straightest road can disappear
your steps will lead to your destinations


with your resolution hard as diamond
you punctuate the whole universe
like a prolonged exclamation mark
as you accomplish your mission
leaving nothing in the heavens
but a memory of light
or an idea of fire
Voices: active vs passive

To say
Loves a woman
Is not to say
A woman is loved
By everyman

Harmony of Homonyms

Assent of ads adds to the ascent
Blue buses blew busses
Chaste councils chased counsels
Dyed days died in daze
Earls elicit illicit URLs
Fazed fays faze phased
Guys in guise graphed to graft
Hairy Harry heals heels
Idols idle in idyle
Jugglers jammed in jambed jugulars
Knights knock at the nocks of nights
Leased lyers are least liars
Mind mined in mist missed
Nice gneiss on nickers’ knickers
Overdo once one’s overdue
Past profits passed prophets
Quays quoined with coined cays
Ryes rise with rows of rose
Sighted symbols are symbols cited
Tales about trust are tails trussed
Urns earned have no use for ewes
Violed verse versus vale vialed in veil
Weeks whiled are wild weaks
Xi sighs with psi in size
Yoke your yore in yolk
Zealous Zellers zooms in zooms

Hey Dear Neighbor!

Would you like to try
These pyramid-shaped dumplings
With glutinous rice
Wrapped in reed leaves?

The fillings are my wife Helen’s recipe,
But the tradition is my culture’s specialty.

We eat them only
During the Dragon Boat Festival
To commemorate the death of a great poet,
Who drowned himself in a river
Long before Jesus was born.

Oh yeah, in my country of origin,
This food is called zongzi, yes, z-o-n-g-z-i

A Politically Correct Passport

Type: P
Issuing Country: BOG
Passport No.: 41ICQ
Surname: Freedom
Given names: Democracy Science
Nationality: Homosapiene
Date of birth: 24 Dec 1963
Sex: N/A
Place of birth: Jungle Pacific
Date of issue: 04 Jul 2001
Date of expiry: 01 Oct 2012

VISA status: Rejected, rejected, rjd…

Misplaced Modifiers

You bartered a beautiful ball for your baby with a big basket
You will plead your pal tonight not to play with the panther
You have helped him to hum the hymn to heave heaven
You walked with your warbler, always weeping and whining
You did not dart into the darn because you were doomed

If grammar serves you right when the ambiguity is completed with a phrase
You will stop as long as she finds the adverb before he places the adjective

Gerunds vs Infinitives

I remember forgetting singing this song
I remember to forget to sing this song

Stop regretting telling her your story
Stop to regret to tell her your story

Relief and Belief

When one leaf begins to tremble
The whole willow may remain still;

When one poplar tries to shake
The whole forest will stay calm;

When one forest cannot help agitating
There must be some thing arising, like a storm.

The Clothes from Heaven

Clad with the heavens’ brilliant cloth
Weaved with golden and silver light
The blue and the dim and the dark embroidery
Of heart and soul and the half-heart,
My dreams hang there with the morning glows
While my soul remains stark naked
In the shadow of last night here on earth:
I am standing right in front of you;
Do not stare because your eyes might hurt.

Tall Tale Told by Gulliver

As peach flowers fell like a brilliant snow
From the back lane to the wood did I go

Listening to the stream sing without a mouth
I forgot to return where is my monster house

The water flew from the mountain to the sea
As if it had nothing whatsoever to say to me

But its song always held my heart tight
Thus the night would give me no fright

I sang with the stream, whose song let me go
I am home again, and find every soul so low

Intermezzo of the Flute

I saw a flute in Henan,
And slim it was, at an archeological site.
It made the noisy quietude
Overwhelm that muted site.

The quietude agitating underground,
And spread around, no longer quiet.
The flute was slim upon the sound
And long and of a melody in the air.

It was carved out of a whole eagle bone,
With a stone chisel by the same hands
That played a song, its pitch rose
As high as the eagle could fly.

Fluted descants were delicious,
But those unfluted are even more so;
Hark, even after eight thousand years
They still echo from soul to soul…

After The Bulb Burned Out

Through the dark tunnel of the hallway
I fumbled my way humbly to the door

Back home again
I found everything
Just so much brighter
Even my old shoes
Dusted with thick shadows
At the closet of my heart

Masculine Haiku: A Poet’s Family

Head and heart both bald
He’s not pulled out one single line
Except his surname

Using no poet’s lathe
He shaves off his young manhood
With an e-razor

Like son, like father
His voice has begun to break
All for poetry’s sake

To his great credit
He’s published two finest sons
Among his fine poems

Dream China

Shanghai! Burning bright in the heart of night
Where do you see what you keep looking at?

Sure there is no Dragon King or Jade Emperor
Nor could the western moon be really rounder

It is a good cat that can catch mice in the dark
He who finds Venus has the eyes for the mark

Bright is the heard symphony performed by the fingers of culture
Brighter would be the unheard harmony between man and nature

Shanghai! Burning bright in the heart of night
Where can you see what you keep looking at?

Another Dilemma
--on David Budbill’s ‘Dilemma’

I long for tons of
so I can be a
with all this

What good is my
when I get
in such

The Game of Love

Always a three-way hide-&-seek:
You are fumbling for Helen
Helen is looking for Harry
While Harry is trying to find you

Who can take off the ribbons
Let you open your eyes wide
And see what you are looking at?

Family Man’s Fantasy

Boy, who says it’s ideal
To have a Japanese wife
An American salary
A Chinese cook and
An English garden?
Who says they can make
Every man truly happy?

For the past twenty years or so
He has been tired of them and more
Like a spoiled and exploited old bunk
Ever deep in debt
With an oily belly too big to budge
And a whole backyard of dirty dirt

Who says he is truly happy
How much more unhappy can he be?

Faulty Comparison with My Hometown

Like Vancouver, the climate of heart is mild all year round
Unlike the Lower Mainland, it is very hot in mid-China

The grasses on Grouse Mountain are similar to Luojia Mountain
The trees in Stanley Park are taller than the East Lake Park

The salmons in the Fraser River swim as far as the Yangtse River
Most residents in BC live much longer than Hubei Province

Lexical Tourism
(after Bill Holm’s ‘The Icelandic Language’)

You do not speak that language
Neither have you been to their country
But within the territory of our English vocabulary
You can easily find who they are:
They enjoy playing mahjong in a casino
They are afraid of typhoon
They kowtow to show their respect
They fight with kungfu skills
They believe in fengshui
And now they have their own taikongnauts
From these lexical spots
Can you clearly sightsee how they live?

Keeping Hands Full

You are always grasping, my friend
Says my therapist
You must learn to let go:
Whenever your hands are not full
You want to get hold of something
Or indeed anything
Now a bird in your left hand
And a bunch of flowers in your right
That’s why you are unhappy all this time
Because you do not have more hands
To grasp more things
Like green backs, purple ribbons
tall titles, soft sex and charming children
If you empty your left hand to catch the ribbons
You became unhappy about the departure of the bird
If you put down the flowers to take the greenbacks
You feel unlucky about the loss of beauty
But if you let go
Just let go
Whatever you are grasping
You can get happiness whenever you can
Since your hands are free

Over This, Over Nothing

For God knows how many times
I have ever so strongly felt
Like crying at the very top
Of my hoarse voice
In a corner of twilight
Crying my nerves away
Crying my blood dry
Crying my head off
Crying my heart out
Crying my body up
And crying the whole sky down
But each time
There are no tears
Just no
Damned tears

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