Saturday, 20 April 2013

[archived]: Poems by Changming Yuan © - 2010

&First Day: Another Genesis

While in the East
Pangu was busy
Waving his hands wildly
To cleave the chaos
Into yin and yang
All God did in the West was
Give his first order to nobody:
Let there be light
And then light came in

While presenting myself
With a loud yellowish yell
to a small muddy village
In central southern China
I reached up my little hands high
To the apathetic sky
And felt it bending low
To fill them with soil’s smell

The moment my Allen managed to crawl
Out of his mom’s womb in St Paul’s
What he saw was the absence of thickening
Darkness that became an island
Beyond which I had travelled afar
To where the borderline was erased
Between day and night
As I watched him grow
In ever freshening light


You may well hate him
But you cannot help feeling envious-
That business of carrying the diseased
Across the River Styx is ever so prosperous
The only monopoly in the entire universe
That has a market share
Larger than the market itself

Daydreaming, on this side
Of the river, how you might wish
To be an entrepreneur like Charon
A success American dreamer

&Inner Tides

In the daily modification of
The alternate rise and fall
Of my inner tide, the sun has
Much less impact on the waters
Than the moon, though
It is so much greater in mass

Unlike those high celestial bodies
You can never cause a flood or ebb tide
But sometimes like onshore winds
Other times like offshore storms
You push the waters up and up
Against the rocky coast of my soul

&Naming a Nation

At birth, we were given pet names
In school, we begin to have formal names
For some fame, we choose our own style names
Among friends and relatives, we are known by our nicknames
In the literate world, we use our hao or pen names
While we try naming ourselves with all glory and dignity
Foreign barbarians give us unnamed names:
Mangis, Chinks, Chinamen, Chinkies
Chinoiseries, Nuocs, Shina, Chinees
Ching Chong, Coolies
Even blue and grey ants
And so they call us names
In open defiance against Confucius
Our master teacher, our saint, our saga, our literary god
(O poor guy!) ever so obsessed with the Chinese idea:
A proper name for a proper personality

&The Naming of a Nation

In this Confucian game, for the sheer sake of fame
We are always ready to claim a proper identity with a proper name
For instance: between our first and last names
We have generation names
Besides our official names
We honor ourselves with pet names, school names
Style names, nick names, pen names
While we try naming ourselves with all glory and dignity
Foreign barbarians give us unnamed names:
Mangis, Chinks, Chinamen, Chinkies
Chinoiseries, Nuocs, Shina, Chinees
Ching Chong, Coolies
Even blue and grey ants
And so they call us names
Or give us bad names
Before they vote to hang us

&Reading behind the Words

Behind the words is there no meaning squatting
Except a bold row of cheerful cherry trees
Standing tall in front of my half-fenced house
That bloom for two weeks in a year only
Between spring and summer

Behind the words is there no emotion hidden
But a pair of little unsung yellow birds
Popping up from nowhere
One has flown far away from home
The other still learning to fly close to the nest

Behind the words is there no metaphor explored
But a black and white photo of my parents
Who are hospitalized alternately in China
For the imbalance between yin and yang
A disease both blood-related

&On a Rainy Day

I open, you
Close, or you
Open, I
Close, either my umbrella
Or yours

To keep both
Ourselves dry
From this cold
Rain, we have
To share
The one
The same
Umbrella, if we
Must walk
In hand

&On a Rainy Day

You open, I
Close, or I
Open, you
Close, either
Your umbrella
Or mine

To keep
Both ourselves
Dry from
This cold
Rain, we
Have to
The one
And the same
Umbrella, if
We must
Hand in hand

&This Is a Line
(for Liu Yu and other mothers)

A line this is for my mother’s birthday
A birth line for my mother’s day
A mother for the birthday of a line
A celebration of my mother’s line of birth

Mother, I will line your birth with celebration
I will day a line with birth celebration, Mother
I will mother a day line with celebration
I will celebrate the mothering of a line
Mother, I will celebrate a line’s birthday

Mother my celebration of a line’s day
Mother my day’s line for a birthday
Celebrate my line with my mother’s birth
Celebrate the day with my mother’s line
Mother, I celebrate your birthday with a line


Eat MacDonald’s or Kentucky Chicken
Drink Coca Cola or Pepsi
Listen to Jazz or Rock n’ Roll
Smoke Kent or Marlboro
Watch CNN or Hollywood movies
Wear blue jeans or polos
Drive a GM or Ford
Invest in derivatives rather than in properties
Go online with an IBM or Apple
Read New York Times or Great Gatsby
Play football or baseball
Microsoft all your Intel hardware
Talk aloud about freedom, democracy, human rights
Support the strike against devilish Iranians
Evil North Koreans, demon Mainland Chinese
Most important: vote while you google, google while you vote
And you will become an American
A political correct member of the truly civilized world

Quasi Americans, welcome aboard

&Hyper Grammatical Poems: Preposition

Exactly like a coordinate system
You locate
Any nominal identity
In time
In space
In logic

More like a physical linkage
You enjoy introducing
Each solitary soul
As an object
In an adjective or adverbial phrase
To modify
The more important elements of
A muted human statement

&Hyper Grammatical Poems: Conjunction

A marriage broker
Males and females
For sexual intimacy

Or subordinating
A car, a computer, a house
To a home owner

Or correlating
Two ideas, two emotions, two parties
In a human context

&Hyper Grammatical Poems: Verb

Just as the child
Plays the most dynamic role
In the life of a family
You make a statement alive
By acting
Or simply

&Hyper Grammatical Poems: Pronoun

Like a stage play
Reenacting an experienced
Or un-experienced
Moment in space
A place in time
Before an eager audience
To make their daily existence
Less repetitive
Less cumbersome
Less political

&My Crow, My Other Life

Every morning, even before I open
My eyes, the little doors of the cage
My crow cannot wait to flutter out
Into the light-washed heavens
Striking its transparent wings into beating

Every night, even after I put
The cage back inside my cozy house
The bird still glides close to the moon
With its wings feathered with spirits
Forgetting to return home

Sometimes I wonder why
Day after day, night after night
It refuses to settle softly in its cage
Like a domesticated parrot

Were I it, would I?

Or you, once the cage broken
Would the bird return
Coo itself into sleep, dreaming

Of celestial freedom?


All creatures are naked
Except humans
And humans only

Wearing glass fiber
If not polyester

If not flax

If not fig leaves

Themselves always clad
By shade, by shame

The clothing species
Never showing their naked selfhoods
Ever since that first bite at an unripe apple


As the morning fog
Stalks away on its fluffy feet
All boughs
Unanimously agree
To take action
By bursting themselves
With dripping green buds
Little dimples
In myriads
Across the widely smiling face
Of spring

&Another Snapshot

A man is searching everywhere
At dusk
With a leash
Unleashed in his hand
While the dog hides itself beyond a fence

We grin from ear to ear
At our shared secret


After a prolonged hatch
In your lukewarm soul
It has finally pecked open
The big shell of winter

And will soon start to fly
Before its wings are feathered
With the morning glows
Of another spring

&At 161 West 49th Avenue, Vancouver

A whole dozen of tenants
In this unauthorized rooming house of mine:
One is a drug addict
Nosy and manipulative
Trying to play her dubious role
Of a tenant representative
And self-styled manager on site
Another has just broken his old hip
Ready to suit me
For an imagined fault on my ownership
A third has been using bed bugs
(God knows where she gets them)
As an agent to bilk every penny
Out the wallet of my kindness
A fourth has finally moved out
Tho his stuffs still piled up
Under my heavily abused sundeck
While others either unable to pay their rent
Or bug me constantly for their endless rights

With the tenancy act here more protective
Of evil tenants than of law-abiding landlords
I wonder if I should just sell this rental property of mine
Rather than continue living with it until I get the order
To shut down this inner house of mine
All mad inside out

&Within This Open Bottle

Every bee dies
While charging towards light

All flies survive
And even thrive
By fleeing into darkness

What if the bottle rotates?

&Bees vs Flies 

Within this open bottle
Every bee dies
While charging towards light

but all flies survive
And even thrive
By fleeing into darkness

What if the bottle rotates?

&In This Open Bottle

Every bee dies
While charging towards light

All flies survive and thrive
By fleeing into darkness

What, what if the empty bottle rotates?

&Let Me Let Be

Let yourself be an other
Let an other be your self
Let an other be an other
Let yourself be your self

&Vancouver Wants to Show Its Best to the World

In front of Riley Community Centre
They have just replaced the old garbage bin
With a big plastic bag
Fresh, greenish, transparent
Kept open by a simply but strange structure
Full of bits of banana peels, brochures and bottles

The content is never new
But the idea is innovative:
Who would expect us to openly display
Our dirty, ugly, messy wastes
While we celebrate the opening
Of 21st Winter Olympic games?

&Astrology of Shadows

The higher the sun
The shorter the shadow

The lower the sun
The longer the shadow

The fuller the moon
The thicker the shadow

The brighter the stars
The darker the shadow

&Sounds of the Ocean

Whining, whistling, whispering
Singing, murmuring, sighing
With myriads of tossing tongues

You just follow the earth’s rhythms
If not your own instincts
If not the tunes of the winds

Articulating yourself in an unfailing voice
You do not care if you have any audience
To begin (or end) with

Indeed, there is never a need for understanding
From either humans standing afar on the shore
Or fishes swimming close to your heart

&At Dusk in Dundarave Park, West Van

Strolling along
The overly trodden seaside walk
I find myself lost amidst human shapes
Constantly shifting
Into and out of one another
As they appear and disappear
Larger or smaller in size
Striving to linger one day, one month
Or even one year longer

Here and now
Within one of the bodies
A poem is taking shape, so is
A vision within another, so is
An evil plan within a third, so is
A bitter memory
A yearning
A bubble of consciousness

While I stop to stand still
Watching the vast sea view
Which is nothing but a view of the sea

&The Boy and the Gull: Erasure vs Disclosure

A chubby gull is pecking around
On the bare beach
Like a curious child
Hoping to find a magic shell

While a little boy is picking pebbles
Trying to throwing them into the ocean
Like a mischievous gull
Tantalizing a huge ironed monster

&At the Talent Show

Everyone of them is rationed
With a bowel of flour
Nothing more or less
Than a bowl of wheat flour

John baked it into plain bread
Jill baked it into tasty cookies
Joy made it into a birthday cake
Jake made it into a pizza
Jake tries to refine it into gourmet powder
And Joe will brew it into Dovka

They look and taste so widely disparate
Tho they all come from the same bowl of flour

&Dialectic Diary (1)

The waters always look murky
To those standing on the shore
Although they are truly transparent
Beneath a flying seagull

&Dialectic Diary (2)

Never has the light been so bright
It can melt everything
Even crow feathers, even the night
That will come to land
Sweeping all their way to the heart

I dislike the mountain during the day
Not because it blocks the view
Or spreads shadows, dark and thick
To the closest trees, but it is the soft gaze
Of a lonely walker that will
Focus on their dancing reflections
In the lake. You claim the light
Can melt everything, even a soul

Yet not the shadows, not the dreams
Not such shaded thoughts

&Inner Drought*

In this lower mainland, rain is the order
Of the day: while the drizzle moisturizes
Dreams and drama alike, storms have filled
Every crack and crevice with seasonal juice

But deep in your body has been a drought
Persisting ever since your birth, no plant
Grows green enough, no bird comes to perch
On a bough, all pipes and rivulets dry

Oh, for a rich rain to moisten and irrigate your
Inner fields, your cells, your nerves, your hopes
I would sacrifice my fatherhood, provided you
Could take a shower in the open, with your spine
Stemming straight like a strong young tree

*My 15- year-old son Allen has had a disc problem since 2008, which has resulted, according to traditional Chinese medicine, from the internal ‘dryness’ he was born with.

&Wishful Thinking

Breaking in great swells
You thunder against the rocks
Exploding into foam
Spewing white high
Up the barnacle-encrusted cliffs
Before you become too exhausted
To stir any more inner waves

&The Dream Catcher

Like a cat
Body coiled
Tan and tawny
Came with a big leap
Springing on
An invisible mice
Your only prey


On the beach of your mind
You have been using
Every grain of sand
To build a castle
Or even a whole city

While you could have kept it as is
Where gulls stalk and stroll
Leaving their footprints there
Before the waves erase them again

&Crows in the Sunlight

Soon after their dreamless roosting
The crows on the boughs begin to look up
Some ready to fly, some to land
Beyond the darkest moments of last night

Disturbed by their calls, a solitary squirrel
Climbing down the tree, crossing the fence
To a pasture no greener than the leaves
But there is certainly more sunshine
More photosynthesizing, under the golden film

As I walk past, neither the crows
Nor the squirrel bothers to notice my presence
Why should they be startled away? It is me
Trespassing a new territory between day and night
Where the crows hide their night-dyed feathers

&What Goes in the Front

You are someone else’s cat
Stalk, and you are behind your owner’s back
Jump, and you throw your kittenhood on desktop
Sit, and you watch the child toddling along
Your long whiskers stretch beyond your solitude

You long for nothing but this moment
You understand only what goes in the front
You meditate the way a cat meditates
You shrink into a thick pile of dreamy cloud
Ready to drift out of that locked house

&Picture Personified

You hate to be confined within a frame
And hanged up there on a dusty wall
When a lively picture is taken out of your life
You want it to fly into heaven like a bird

You would rather stay in a worn-out wallet
Where you can feel human warmth all day long

&I Love You

Is certainly the most abused utterance
Made by so many men and women
On so many occasions
In so many languages and dialects
It has become a meaningless euphemism
Of such as:
I want to fuck you
I want to talk dirty with you
I want to kiss you, touch you
Smell you, hear you, watch you
But if I say what I mean to say
You would be offended, scared
Disgusted, appalled, though you may well
Want to say exactly the same to someone else
So damn hypocritical

I fuck you

&Lesson Learned from Insomnia

One night when I noted philosophy
Tossing and turning constantly on the bed
I gave her a cup of warm milk
Instead of the pink pills she desired

Unable to go to sleep side by side
Let alone make love on such occasions
I moved to the guest room where I
Began to count all the sheep on earth

How surprisingly resentful she yelled at me
When I returned in a fragment of dream
The fact I did not suffer insomnia with her
Nor did I find meaning on a meaningful night

&Immaturity vs Immortality

If you know there is no air
Thus no wind, no weathering effect
On the moon, you would probably
Also want to take a walk
And leave your footprints there
Forever undisturbed

But as an earthy creature you can
Never untie the chains of gravity

Unless you find
How much more desirable to shout
To yell, to sing, to curse here on earth
Where sound waves can eventually
Reach the shore and beat the ear drums

A voice to be heard
An immature life under the moon

&The Unborn

The unborn are wildly shuffling among us, I believe
As we try to catch a plane or prepare a lunch
They are jumping, hopping, tripping like wantons
While they remain invisible even to ghosts

If they had been born, they would have proved better
Making all the prize winners in the world feel shamed
If only they had a chance to grow in broad daylight
They could have regrouped us all between hell and heaven

All this time, they are demonstrating, protesting against us
Their crowds snowballing, their shouts never heard

&America Deep in Debt at Everett

On the morning of March 3
I was driving south light-heatedly
Along I-5, as an invited reader to perform my poetry
To a friendlier post-bush America
When a gloomy-looking trooper (numbered 837)
Suddenly stopped me supposedly for my safety’s sake
I must give you – eh, a speeding ticket.
-Why me sir! I was just following the traffic.
But you are the first one I saw.
-Simply because I have a Canadian license plate?
If you were an American, I would do the same.

Lost in anger against such blatant discrimination
(Or bad luck?) I stopped protesting
While shaking my head all the time, peacefully

Oh, poor America! Look at this armed boy of yours
He is ambushing your neighbor like a robber
To help bail you out of your big financial shit

I thought, but never said so
For fear of getting another ticket, bigger or thicker

&The Privilege of Being a Poetry Scribbler

On the early morning of March 3, I was detained
At Peace Arch by American Customer Officers
For intending to sell my autographed copies
Or smuggling my poems in a book form

It’s illegal to come to America and sell your stuff.
-Yes, I understand, I understand.
You are not allowed to get paid for reading poetry.
-I will remember this, remember this.
Another officer could have refused you entry.
-Sure, sure, surely sure.
But you are excited about your poetry
Both my chief and I want to be nice to you.
-Thanks! May I know and use your name in a poem please?
It’s CBP Officer Eric Sachs, but don’t get me into trouble.

Knowing my Canadian passport would expire within six days
I drove fast to hell of a heaven, and heaven of a hell
While it was still valid

&The Triumph of the Eight Trigrams

The creative: yangyangyangyangyangyangyangyang
the clinging: yangyangyangyangyangyangyangyang
yinyinyinyin yinyinyinyin

the dragon: yinyinyinyin yinyinyinyin
yinyinyinyin yinyinyinyin

The receptive: yinyinyinyin yinyinyinyin
yinyinyinyin yinyinyinyin
yinyinyinyin yinyinyinyin

&Defining Situational Irony

The cat bullied by a mouse
The dead tree standing in full bloom
The gold mine snoring underground in a remote corner

The big breast suffocating its lover
The fire truck burning in flame
The optometrist becoming blind
The cooks holding a hunger strike
The hockey player scoring against his own team
The survivor dying of thirst in the sea
The patient feeling cold on a scorching summer afternoon
The greatest story never told to the world
The junklines published widely under a renowned name

The police officer murdering a witness
The wicked egoist elected as a national leader

&Dialectic Diary 3

Like an agitated oriole
Flying from branch
To branch to branch to branch

Your yellow-stained call
Echoes from soul
To soul to soul to soul

&Dialectic Diary: 2010:04:07

However winds blow
All waves keep pushing forward
Towards the shore

Only the light rays at sunset
Retreating to the ocean’s heart
Like a flock of pigeons
Returning to their cage

&The Unseen

Most ignore such things
As dirt, rock or trees
That make up the collective pronoun
The pronoun is all

Before you open your eyes
All is there
And there you may perceive
Your whole world in them

Out of their shapes
Their colors, their textures
Their statues

You construct an open garden
To concentrate upon
That patch of nature
Never confined to the human mind


Is the shadow of feeling
You can readily find
Right behind your soul and body
Wherever there is light

So, stay away from night
From darkness

&In the Human Mind

Is there a hidden mirror
It can reflect every physical object
Or non-physical being
Such as a soul in the dark
Or an unknown idea bubbling
Beneath the swamp of consciousness

But it can reflect nothing
When covered with
The dust of emotion
Even in broad daylight

&On the Recycling Day

One neighbor took out a blue box
Full of cat skulls and dog legs
Rather than glass or plastic bottles

Another carries out a yellow bag
Containing human bones, mostly children’s
Instead of magazines or paper products

A third pushed out a green bin
Filled with failed evils and devils
Where there should be leaves and twigs

Behind every house in a neighboring back alley
The garbage truck is placing a big time bomb


The man chops off his own head
And tries to barbecue it with human hair
In the slaughtering square

The woman cuts open her own chest
Takes out her heart and uses it
Like a gas pump
To add all her blood to the fire

While the volcano is vomiting violently
Its lava smashing onto every creature
Running around wildly

&Father and Son

A little cloud in the sky
Makes his son want to fly

Feathered with hope
They try to ride on a paper bird
To join the spring winds
That keep blowing the curious cloud
Until they can see together
All the secrets of summer
From up above so high

&Blue Origin

All the blue of the oceans
Is a gift from the sky

All the blue of the sky
Is a gift from the sun

Is all the blue from the sun
A gift from the human eye?

&Fengshui Associations of the Five Elements

Fire: South, summer, hot, bitter
Red, gaiety, pulse, tongue, a;
Water: North, winter, cold, salt
Black, fright, bones, ears, e;
Wood: East, spring, wind, sour
Green, anger, tendons, eyes, i;
Metal: West, autumn, dry, pungent
White, worry, skin/hair, nose, o;
Earth: Centre, late summer, wet, sweet
Yellow, thought, muscle, mouth, u

&Sexual Slogans

A steak a day keeps the court away
A touch a minute keeps the body in spirit
A lie an hour keeps the chief in power
An injection a night keeps the mind light
A dinner a week keeps the heart freak
A honeymoon a month keeps the government at arms length
A trip a season keeps the dog in reason
A chef a year keeps the house dear
A wedding a decade keeps the couple off headache

&Seascape: Four Haiku
photo 12 may2, 10

however winds blow
all waves keep pushing forward
to the shore only

photo 19 may 2, 10

light rays at sunset
Retreat to the ocean's heart
together with gulls

photo 2 may 8,10

a daring spirit
trying to stir the whole sea
with its tiny beak

photo 16 may 8, 10

in grace and leisure
you dance with a raging storm
to the blue descant

&Unsung Bird Sings

With a yellowish voice that unsung bird
Can’t be tone deaf
Must hear the whole forest
Like a chorus
Singing trees, singing bushes
On hillsides, singing grasses
Singing rocks
Like drums beaten by raindrops
How galvanized you feel
All melodious – the clouds, the stars
The unheard music of earth

Every note is fresh, no sound is an echo
This dawn, the light has
Swept all the air waves onto the horizon
Above the thick night, above the opaque dreams
Arises a rainbow of whistles, trills, gurgles
You sing, not to defend your territory
Or to attract a mate
But to celebrate morning glows

&The Tree Spirits

No doubt, they never knew when, how
Or why they were doomed
The previous generation of earthlings
Have long disappeared, tracelessly
Except for some thinning memories
Hidden in earth’s heart, or drifting
In a corner of an unknown world

But we are different: we make
Metals and plastics besides books
To survive the judgment day
Land collapses, ice ages, nuclear wars
Or alien strikes, although they may eventually
Weather away with the sun

Then will come a monstrous ant
Followed by swarms of tree spirits
On the second day, the ant gives them all shapes
On the third, the spirits begin their earthy lives
On the forth, the ant flies into the outer space
To prevent evil from returning to earth

On the land used to be tree stumps
Debris of all man-made products
There are now only trees growing
Growing silently in the moonlight
Above deeply buried human souls

&Talking with the Dreamless Man

Every creature, even a goat has a dream
But this man has never had one
Never knowing what a dream is or does
Just as a man born blind
Has no idea of color

A dream is a place you go to
When you fall asleep at night
So –it is a washroom?
A dream is all the crazy things
You do on the bed in darkness
So –it is masturbation or sexual play
A dream is an other life you live
While your body remains mostly still
So –it is fantasy or imagination

To dream is to be human, you know
So – I am not a human?

Of course you are, only dreamless
--Isn’t it real-is-tick?

&One Way to Stop Worrying

Below the hiding stars the night storm
Is raging against the whole world
Beyond the city’s dream is a little jalopy
Driving forward at full speed
Through the darkest moments

No one knows where it is heading
But it must have a destination
The destination must be close to a freeway
Accessible to every driver
Even though the storm hits the car harder
Than during the day

Then there may be a hill slide
And a flooded stretch ahead
And a twister or thunder strike
But before the day breaks
It will come to a bridge
Sooner or later

&Man vs Woman: A Brief Sexual History

No man is perfect
Yet every man wants women to be perfect
So, their feet used to be bound
Now their faces surgically shaped and reshaped
Their eyelids doubled
Their breasts raised
Their skin ironed and chemically treated
Their subcutaneous fat removed from their bellies or waists
Their legs made longer on high-heeled shoes
Their entire bodies perfumed, clad and decorated with all fashions
As if they were full-sized dolls

Just as god made man in his image
So has man been making women after his likeness

&Me & Sand

On the beach of life
I am a grain of sand
Too light to build a castle
On my tiny senses
Too heavy to fly high
With the west wind
Too stubborn to flow afar
Along the currents

Yet how I long to be
Solid in body
Liquid in heart
And gaseous in spirit
Like a true grain of sand

&Ideal Realm for Zen

Right before the mid-autumn moon
Becomes full, or
Cherry blossoms begin
To bloom

Or better to be within walking distance
To Mecca
To Elysia Fields
Or to Peach Flower Village

&Like Birds, Like Humans

All doors are man-made
Even those in hell and heaven

Behind every door
Is either a home
Or a prison cell
More often both
Than neither

The only living space without a door
Is a nest or the sky
Both for birds
Neither for man

&Content Words

Amidst the waves sits still a stark noun
Like a coral island in the east sea
Looming in and out in the star light

Through the trees runs a little verb
As if to flee from one valley to another
In case the sun’s arrows should hit it too hard

Above the clouds thunders a series of adverbs
Their sounds too loud to produce an echo
Even in a great hall of fame

Beyond the skyline drift some adjectives
Ready to fall with last year’s narration
Greyer than the greyest patch of history

&The Poetic Persona

He never calls himself a poet
(a title too high-sounding to be self-styled
Or too much abused to be meaningful?)
But he cannot wait to peruse his own piece
(and his piece only) each time he receives
His contributor’s copy from a print magazine
Something he can hold in hand, something
Smelling of ink, something ready to make a noise
When he flips through the pages
To locate his own (again) among bio notes
All in third person, all bubbling
With self-pride, self-expectations

While he is eager to show his heart-hammered work
To his wife, his sons, his students
Even salespersons or strangers who happen to drop by
With one of the few associates he has
(Who shares neither interests nor understanding
Not to mention the sense of achievement)
He believes in the entire issue, perhaps
The whole literary world, only his printed words
Truly stand out --he never says that
Because no one can hear him even he does so

How happily he would die on the spot
If only he could write one single original line
(like ‘The meaning of life, if any at all
Is to create a meaning for life”) that might
Become a cliché in the future
Both near and far

&The Title of a Collection

First songs of an Other
Last True Poems
South China Cicada
Yellow Comedy
Chansons of a Chinaman
Immigrating to America
Waiting for Canada
Apocrypha of night
Epilogue: the Journey of the Heart
Post Modern Stanzas

&Cyclic Creation

Just as He created man
In His image
Long after man invented God
After his likeness

So did an egg
Hatch out a chicken
Well before a chicken
Laid down an egg

&He Saw a Woman He Admires

He saw a woman he admires
Serving a fellow citizen at the adjacent outlet
In a passport office the other day
She did have an eye contact with him
But that was not what she had intended
Nor did she have any afterthought about him
While he was overwhelmed with the urge
To tell her he admires her, loves her
Tho not coquettish as cover girls or movie stars
Her posture is certainly graceful
Her smile more than a professional show
Her eyes soul-grabbing, tho she had no idea
About what was going on in his mind
As she checked the name, dob, emergency contact
And every other detail on the application form
Submitted by another citizen, who is so lucky
To obtain a passport from this young woman
Did she notice my excitement?
Would I ever have a chance to see her again?
He will be haunted by such questions
Wherever he travels with the passport
Issued from the building where she works
Although she never knows there is a stranger
Who longs to tell her he loves her, admires her

&Pine Tree

Sitting on a boulder
Like Thousand-Hand Thousand-Eye Guanyin
You reach out all your deeply tanned arms
Pointing all your evergreen fingers up to the sky
Not to take in moisture from the surrounding mists
But to give out the freshest air you could

With eyes held in as many hands
You are witnessing the sounds of the world
Still, in spirited stillness

&If, If Only… subjunctive mood unsubjugated

I would jump madly with joy
I would go to the depth of limberlost to die an elephant’s death
I would charge forward with my car as if it were a super tank
I would tattoo the words on my butt and nake-run wildly in broad daylight
I would fuck my love to death at a bare hilltop
I would blast myself into a million bloody pieces
I would nail the president on a swirling swastika in front of a Buddhist temple
I would shoot like a burning comet beyond the milk way
I would cry my whole heart out and all my tears dry
I would stop the earth from rotating for seven days to recreate the world
I would put God in a blue cage before hanging it on Babel Tower
I would drive all spirits and ghosts back into their human shapes
I would roar like a whale pushing the sound waves three thousand miles away
I would…

&Swirling Swastika: a Zen Poem


&Shadowed, Shadowing

Shadows are shimmering behind the sheds
Shadows are shrinking towards the sea shore
Shadows are shuttling between the shameless and the shameful
Shadows are shifted and shattered with shades

Shadows are sharpened, shredded, shaved, shackled
Shoved, shoveled, shortened, shut, sheltered
Shrouded, shouldered, shelved, shipped

Shadows are shaped
And shaping


&Still Chrysanthemum

You are always amazed
Why chrysanthemums bloom
Without feeling
At their spots of growth
While they are identified by color
White, yellow, pink, red, orange, blue, purple
Petals powdered
With the coolest rays
Of the mid-autumn moon

You are stricken by their very graciousness
Each hiding behind its jade-veined fingers
Yet each refusing to budge against the chiseling frost
Still and proud

&Marble Days

You believed when you were weak
Hard were a man’s bones and heart
His days were so tough to soften it was to break
You imagined them like sweat
Frozen into marble
I know, pretty round stuff
Marble balls, the kind many boys toy indoors
On a cold evening

&Sunsetting above the Sea

Like an all-faced fisherman
Too excited about a long day’s catch
The sun eagerly drags its net of light
Bigger than the universe itself
Onto the thickening skyline
Leaving behind nothing glittering with fish scales
In the shadow of night

&Words, Only Words, Nothing but Words

Arranged in her order
They are not just politically correct
But richly colorful
Like rings of diamonds
Suitable for the crown only

Put in your way
They are nothing but clanked clichés
Rambling weeds in the fields of paper
Or scrambled eggs in a dirty bowl

&Another Difference

Listen, the TV guys are now
Talking about Iranians, North Koreans
Russians, even Chinese
As if they were not barbarians
As if they were not demons

So don’t say again
There is no progress in our American civilization

&Imperial Standard

All this time
You say this
This, this, this, this, and this
But you are doing that
That, that, that, that, and that

Aren’t you a politician
Or a spokesman
For dear Uncle Sam?

&royal route to / Short Cuts to Celebrity

Put on the most fashionable clothing
Try to use Ipod, Ipad or Ipal before all others
Take a picture with the president (dead or alive)
Eat a dinner with Buffet, Hawking, Clint Eastwood
Get an autograph from Tiger Woods, Oprah, Bill Gates
Stay in the same hotel as Steve Jobs, Rush Limbaugh, Jim Wales
Better to get some smell when Brad Pitt, Miley Cyrus or Angelina Jolie
Happens to be farting around


Fall, fell, fallen, falling


As they all disappear
Into a shrouded fairy tale


Before we are born we sit for long
Between blood and flesh within the human skin
Of others, though we are part of them
And so are they part of us. They are moving
But their walking, running, jumping, turning and shaking
Do not affect us as we sit still
Meditating like a Buddha
In neither language
Nor signs
Nor images


It’s disappeared

The history
Flee afar
From the centre



Then will be nothing
To support
Or break, no

Thing but
Plants, such
Future as you plough

Present. Why not
Eradicate some days
Here, many

Roots holding beneath
Their feelings



Then will be everything
To support
Or break, every

Thing but
Plants, such
Future as you plow

Present. Why not
Eradicate some days
Here, many

Roots holding beneath
Their feelings

&The Fengshui Rule for Yang Residence

Don’t live in a grotesque-looking house
At the bottom of a valley
With all doors in straight lines

Above all, don’t dream in a legless bed
Right under a chandelier
However exquisite

Or you would be haunted by a devil

&The Fengshui Rule for Yin Residence

Let your body be buried
On a wooded ridge
Higher than all houses

Let your soul squat
At an evergreen treetop
Watching the rising sun

(Better like my grandma
Too poor to have a coffin)

Then one of your offspring
Will be a statesman
A maneybag
Or a literate star

(Like me)

&Unidentified Female Outcry: A Politically Correct Complaint

I is a female
I is a coloured minority
I is disabled
I is a 100% naturalized voter
I has many years of volunteering experience
I speaks the official language without a foreign accent
I comes from a much less privileged family

But why am I not chosen yet
For the position
For the fame
For the prize?

&X Missing: Provincial Proverbs

Affection blinds season
Beauty may have fair flower, but ugly roots
Caesar’s wife must be above suspension
Drink only with the luck
Enough is as good as a beast
Fire that’s closest kept burns most in the fall
Good face is better than a good base
Handsome is as handsome buzz
Injuries are written in glass
Jill has every jack
Knowledge is no burden
Love is full of beer, love is without season
Money is often lost for want of honey
Nature is above nurture
One man’s feat is another man’s shit
Present to the eye, present to the kind
Question for question is filled with air
Reward and punishment are the calls of pity
Slow but sure wins the face
Trust is the mother of defeat
United we band, divided we call
Variety is the spice for a wife
Willows are weak but never bend for good
Youth never lasts for peril
Zeal without knowledge is a runaway source


With neither dignity
Of a canopy
Nor myth
Of an aureole

Your cap is simply too small
Your stem too short
Your geared-bones too tender
Yet your fleshy body has inspired
Myriads of umbrellas
To shield gods and humans alike

Against rain or heat
Against history


With your hair-like roots
Holding the earth so tightly
You stand straight
Even during a summer storm

Thin as your body
You keep an open mind
For all secrets of growth
Between your heart-ringed joints

Despite your slim leaves
You are full of spirits
Ever so clean
Ever so green

&Listening to the Prosody

Another freshly-fledged bird flies
From bough to bough to bough

Another summer storm thumps
Over ridge over ridge over ridge

Waves pushing waves forward to the shore
Colts running wildly as if in a race
Raindrops beating against the roofs at midnight

An old man digging potatoes in a foggy field
A young girl taking notes in a lecture hall
As some unknown fingers begin hitting the keyboard

&Fragile, Archaic China

They listen to you
Which china are you talking about?
They wondered

Which china are you talking about?
You certainly know
If you please… one accosted you
Which china on the rise? He demanded

You are referring to the ‘sleeping giant’ in the east
The fattening hog to be slaughtered and divided
The country with an elephant’s body
But a chick’s heart

All china out of fashion, he commented
Shrugging his non-colored shoulders
But which china? He persisted
Really antic stuff? China made in Jingde Town?
You really like china?
Blue china? Ming china?
Or perhaps Song china?

You coughed in good will
You realize something
China is interesting to see
Only for its long history

&In No Sense, Or In A Sense

You are
in ascent;

I am to have
inner scent;

She is already
in a cent;

Aren’t we all


Between your smiles
I walk a mile

Behind your glove
I fall in love

In the middle of creation
You have to eat

To gain popularity
You’d better pop

&Single Last Sale: A Parallel Poem

You’ve long since sold out
Both your sweat and blood
Now you try to sell your heart
Though nobody wants it

Some say the blood is not red enough
Others find the chambers too narrow
Still others think the coronary arteries
Stained with too many feelings

You peddle around, chanting aloud
From street to street
With your heart still fresh
Beating like a frog in your hands

You hope to sell it for a glass of water
Just to cool down your burning voice
So you do not have to sell your soul
Like all other hawkers in the market
Well satiated, but hardly heart-felt

&At Fraser River Park: Off-Leash Dogs Welcome

One dog is chasing a crazy vampire
Another jumping high to catch a flying heart
A third licking at the wound of a deformed cat
While two are dancing with ghosts as if in a quartet
Three biting at their owner’s shoulders
Four howling loudly towards the bleeding sun
Five sniffing around baby limbs scattered along a ditch
Six listening attentively to the roars of an unseen volcano
Seven shaking a dragon’s saliva violently off their bodies

As more are driving humans and hyenas alike
Into the river, a river full of dog shit

&Poppies: A Parallel Poem

Each pair of round lips
Cut right in the middle
Bleeding so boldly
In a foggy field

Nobody to kiss
Nobody to talk with
All like blood-skirted pasts
Painted thickly close to the heart

Changming Yuan
1550 W 68th Ave
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6P 4V5

Feline Perspective

With the world’s bluest eyes
The cat can certainly see
Deeper, wider, farther, clearer
Than the sky
Even in total darkness

Is it all because the cat has eaten plenty of
Rotten fish or mice?


as spring greens from ear to ear


A seagull glides
Its motionless
graceful glide
Above a million freshly foamed waves

From this realm
You hear the gull
As all birds are

Little is definitely impossible

&The Lucky Seven

You yearn to live with a woman
Who truly enjoys hiking hand in hand with you
Along a much less trodden mountain trail

You yearn to live with a woman
Who looks down upon those in high office
Though you may or may not have some privileges

You yearn to live with a woman
Who feels at home in a rented narrow basement
As much as in a grand private mansion

You yearn to live with a woman
Who shares the pride of your meaningful name
Even it is not known beyond your threshold

You yearn to live with a woman
Who never understands why people are so eager
To buy the most fashionable watches or handbags

You yearn to live with a woman
Who respects you in the closest intimacy and
Complains nothing in total ignorance

You yearn to live with a woman
Who cares about you as much as you her
Both before and after making love with you

&The Death of a Chinese Widow

In a remote Chinese village
On a forgotten winter night
A 38-year-old poor woman
Tried hard to sit up noiselessly
Put aside rather than on her padded clothes
Crawled out of her frameless bed
And resolutely drowned herself
In a broken wide-brimmed water jug

Behind herself she left neither worth nor words
Except three teenagers who had been
Bullied and looked at with slanting white eyes
By their fellow villagers
(who bore the same family name)
Ever since their father died
Of an untreated disease
13 years before

Years later, her children understood
Why she killed herself
In a water jug on that night
Many years after she had been suffering
From a painful
But not fatal disease

Years later, her only son told me
Why my grandma
Chose to drown herself almost naked
On that cold night

&Twilight Hanyang County

Twilight Hanyang County
My father was eight
Yes, as young as eight
Maybe only seven
Burning with sweat
On his way to nowhere

In front of him a wild fellow dog
(He was a dog according to Chinese zodiac)
Was grumbling angrily with hanger
While dry grasses and leaves
Were swept from field to field
And rain clouds too heavy with dusk
Sacking down towards bald hills

Dying of thirst and heat
Both caused by an unknown fever
He dragged himself close to a pond
Smelling of rotten reeds and water buffalo shit
There he drank to his full
Wrapping his legs with fresh mud from the bottom
To keep himself cool for the night

The next morning he would continue
Wandering around outside his fatherless home
Like a premature vagrant

&Life within a Digitalized World

  1. 000000
  1. 0
  1. 0
0 1 000000 10101 1
1 1 0 0
1 0 10 0101
1 1 0 0
010 01 10 01010 1 0 1 01 01

&Within the Cyberspace

Birth is a wonder
Death is a hunter
Nothing is in between
Except a number after a number

&Confession of a Police Officer

Father, I know this is not a proud thing to do
But I really enjoy hiding myself
Somewhere in a dim corner
To catch a poor guy never known to us
Changing lanes without giving a signal
Speeding a couple of kilos over the limit
Attempting a left turn under a yellow light
Or simply looking unlikable to me

You know, father, it is always safer
Always more fun and more comfortable
Always bossier, and certainly more profitable
To give a stranger guy a ticket, a handsome fine
Than to catch an evil devil , an armed robber
A cold-blooded murderer, a violent drug addict
Even a drunkard costs me more skills
More brains, more guts, more strengths

It may be a bit too cowardly, too mean or wicked
Too ruthless or mischievous on my part
I know, but we just cannot help it, father

&Worldly Affairs (7): A Chinese Portrait

Freedom or no freedom
Democracy or no democracy
Human rights or no human rights
That’s never the question
But give me face
Big face, full face, thick face
In front of all others


Behind their backs

&Butterfly Being: Zhuangzi Revisited

Neither a human
Dreaming of being a butterfly
Nor a butterfly
Dreaming of being a human
But simply a moth egg
Attached firmly
To a yellowish leaf
Within the human mind

Or perhaps the other way around
Am I?


Like a brilliant butterfly
It has a most conspicuous fluttering flight
Though it used to toil within a cocoon
And before that
It wormed
And wormed
And wormed
With its whole eerie body
In the mud
Like the mud

&Fortune Cookie Fortune

Good fortune
Bad fortune
Always delivered
Within a crispy cookie

Cheap wisdom
Costly instruction
Always served
By an angel waitress

White plate
Black message
Always digested
In a Chinese restaurant

To eat your fortune
Before reading the message
Or to read the message
Before eating your fortune
It is all a question
Of if you would like
To eat out in the downtown
Of your heart
Or prepare your own meal
In the kitchen
Of your home

&My Hyphenated-Being

Half of me is a Chinese Canadian
Half of me is a Canadian Chinese
Put together without a hyphen in between
I am at once a Chinese and a Canadian

While awake, I am a Canadian Chinese
While asleep, I am a Chinese Canadian
While neither awake nor asleep
I am neither a Chinese nor a Canadian

Inwardly, I am a Chinese Canadian
Outwardly, I am a Canadian Chinese
Between my skin and heart
Am I a Chinese or a Canadian?

&Sun Shooting: An Other Beginning
Ancient Chinese myth has it that the world has ten suns to begin with …

Origin of Suns

They are sons of God of Heavens
Each with an all-faced body
Each has a heart
Where dwells a three-legged golden crow

They are sons of God of Heavens
As wild as so many bears bursting with fire
Playing non-stop, lolling and wallowing
In the heavenly river of stars

Until one day they go crazy
All jumping high in the sky
Refusing to return home
And take a break at night

First Shooting

When Hou Yi shot down
The biggest sun
With his red bow
And white arrow
Little happened:
With nine suns still playing
In the front yard of heaven
The earth was full of heat
Like the living room of hell
Drought in the plains
Fires on the mountains
All men and women had to
Hide themselves deep in caves
For the cool air

Except there was a butterfly effect of hope
Sweeping through the human minds

Second Sun Shooting
Ancient Chinese myth has it that the world had as many as ten suns to begin with …

With one enormous arrow
Hou Yi shot down two suns

The moment the souls of
The three-legged gold crows
Drift out of the bodies
Night begins to fall down
Although not so dark
Not so long
Not so cold yet

Third Shooting

At an unseen moment of glaring spot
With his enormous five-arrowed bow
(Newly made by the five most powerful tribes
From the five-colored rocks
Left over by Nuwa after the Creator finished mending the sky)
Hou Yi squatted straight
Aimed high
And shot down
All the other remaining suns
Except the brightest, the most handsome one
He left for the human world
To disperse earthly shadows

Ever since then, even Nuwa does not know
Why Kua Fu has been running
After the sun, Xi He’s only son
In an endless and tireless pursuit
From his tribal home near the Wei Lake
To the Yellow River (whose water
Fails to quench his thirst), flowing down
Right from Heaven to the distant wasteland
Beyond the North Sea, where he never means to stand
Where he is fated to fall

&Word Politics, Winter Olympics
According to Global Language Monitor, the following are the top three names, phrases and words that were used most frequently in 2009.

Anger and rage

Climate change

The narrative
The Great Recession
Barack Obama

&A Matter of Life and Death

Each time he suffers from insomnia
He imagines himself retreating
To a jungle, like an African elephant
Going away to die somewhere
In the rain forest of distances
And he smiles in dark amusement

When he gets up the next morning
He feels as if he were a cicada
Just sloughing from a painful
And ugly old self for a new call

He has died numerous deaths
Each with enough dignity
Although still living
A wild dog’s life in broad daylight

&Looking at the Bay

Myriads of fish
Live to die
Die to live
Under the one and the same surface
So ever wavy

Except a few
Jumping out
Only to splash
Into the water again
Leaving no trace
Behind their tails

The bird happening to fly by
May have seen
Or heard the few
But not the gods
Not the trees
Standing afar
On the shore

&Double Life

Embedded within
The small screen
Is a whole world
That engulfs
All living spaces
Beyond the human mind
That is ready to engulf
The words, the signs, the pictures
Dead or alive
On the screen
With just one single click
Of the mouse

&Free Verse Found Online

Cage: Law or Marriage

A structure for
confining birds
or animals, enclosed
on at least one side
by a grating
of wires or bars
that lets in
air and light

Mirror: Eye or Picture

A surface
capable of
reflecting sufficient
undiffused light
to form an image
of an object
placed in
front of it

God: Hero or Man

A being
conceived as
the perfect
omniscient originator
and ruler of
the universe
the principal object
of faith
and worship
Changming Yuan
1550 W 68th Ave
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6P 4V5

&Codisil to Allen Qing Yuan*

After I die, Son
Wrap my body with my poems
Put all my remains
In an e/cask, and send it
To a site that will
Never be on hiatus

By burying me online
You can readily
Trace my soul traveling
From one living screen
To another
As long as you have access
To the virtual space

*Under my influence, my 15-year-old younger son Allen Qing Yuan has not only begun to write poetry but also had poems appearing in a number of literary magazines.

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