Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Radio Interview with Allen and Changming

between 9:10 - 9:50 pm last night, we father-son comraderie in poetry had the honor to be part of a radio show called "World Reading Series," which is broadcast to 55 countries. here is the link to the site and audio::

htttp:// - World Poetry Cafe Radio Show - CFRO 100.5FM [Canada; 21 Jan 2014] 

although both of us felt very nervous (changming is by nature a very anxious and private person, while Allen has been suffering from bad inflammation of his tonsils these few days), the experience is highly rewarding. the following are the 3 poems we each read during the show::

3 Poems by Changming Yuan


There is a long wait of the passengers
For the detouring and delayed bus
And the wait of the wintry grasses

The wait of the legendary lion king
Before it preys upon a real baby zebra
And the wait of the summer sun deep in the nightmare

The wait of the orchid on the window ledge
The wait of the diamond in an unknown mine
And the wait where you stop and watch

And there is a wait of this darkness
Which you are going to compress into words
A wait that is to spread out thin on the blank paper

Unlike winter stars holding their light in light-years
The wait after you finish writing
And the longer wait then

[Note: first published by several magazines, and later included in Best Canadian Poetry (2012)]

Kinship: For Yuan Hongqi
Yes, we are father and son, but so often
Did I doubt this simple small biofact:
We could never say more than three short
Sentences to each other when we met, nor
Did we meet more than three times per year
Before I managed to flee a thousand miles
Away from you, and later ten thousand away
From your village on this world's other side

Like other Chinese fathers, you never said
You loved me, gave me a hug, or touched me
Unless it was a cutting pinch in the arm
Or a heavy hit on the butt, (always in surprise)
While my peers kept bragging aloud
About their great fathers, grandfathers
I looked down upon you, not because of
Your slight stature, but because of your
Smaller personality, constantly calling you
"A Buddha outside, a Devil at home"
(Of course behind your back), so I used to
Feel guilty, fearing I could never shed
Any teardrops when you die, just as every
True Confucian son is supposed to

Unlike me and my son, with a big store of
Co-memories ready to share, to cherish
We were born enemies, karma-determined
In our former lives, just as you had explained
To my mother, (who would be busy filling
In each new crack on our wall, with a big pail
Of muddy mixture every time we met)

Yet ever since your death at the dawn of 2012
I have been haunted by your image, kindly
Smiling, and even sobbed my heart out
While dreaming last night: are you there, Dad?

[First published in and nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Prize by Mobius: The Poetry Magazine]




她總是擰著個大桶, 隨時在你我之間的



American Free Speech: ‘Kill Everyone in China’

During ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! aired on 29 October 2013, a 6-year-old boy  proposed to ‘kill everyone in China’; in reply to the wide protest against such verbal violence, the White House recently claimed, "the principle of protected free speech is an important part of who we are as a nation." 

Apparently, it is not the tiny guy
But his big parents
Who would very much like
To kill everyone in China

No, it is not even his parents
But his teachers, the picture
Books he reads, the movies he watches
The computer games he plays, and
The media bombs he hears constantly
That encourages him to do so

On the other hand, it is not the yellow-skinned
Yellow-hearted Chinese really
But anyone that has a hue different from a wasp
That may turn out more civilized, less hypocritical
Or as innocent as the little angel sitting at the ABC’s
Round Table that Uncle Sam and his dogs of war
Aim to kill, destroy, wipe out from the earth

Just to get rid of any debts they owe
To you and me

3 Poems by Allen Qing Yuan

Traffic Light

Green, Yellow, Red

Yet again I missed the light
What could have been
What should have been

My chance to burst to
The frontier of the background
Defining the jagged shimmer
Of the tender life force

But I wait, pondering
Is this a pre-carved destiny?
An aim, beyond ambition

Green, Yellow, Red

Banana* Blues

I’m bluer than blue
A branch thicker than the root
A banana unlike any other fruit

But my growth has been severed and burned

Like a scale with weight it cannot measure
The music of my white soul
Is melancholy, oppressed
Singing without words
Confined within black bars

I’m bluer than blue
A composer without compositions
A conductor without a baton
To even guide himself

The song beats away as
I’m singing my blues

Chasing the Pacific Star

Air gyres crowd into the boy
As he dashes through the clouds of hope

Surfing on a wish
He descends to the touchy ocean
A salty breeze gushes from underneath
A spring of refreshing motivation
The flaring sun eagerly follows him like a bright shadow
Intimidating mountains forcibly rise, but are capped
From the serene, misty horizon
Where a bleached bird loudly flaps its wings away

Upgrading his life board,
With exhilarating dreams
As he dashes through the clouds of hope
Chasing the Pacific Star.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Annversary: More Poems for Yuan Hongqi

jan 2 is the second anniversary of my father's death. here are a few more poems i have written for him, most of which have already appeared in literary outlets, such as Far Enough East, the Germ, Eskimo Pie, Black Petals and Malaysia Poetic Chronicles::


                        my destination was preset
you will receive a parcel
            by express.  It turns out

all too expressly, and
the sender was my parents
        who had wrapped themselves

                        inside already

My Photo

Tightly embedded
Within a metal frame
Is my colored soul
Sitting high 
Against the wall
Like a stuffed owl

I know how I will be spending days and nights
Of my posthumous life there
Watching my children walking
Into their little rented room
Or out of it

Father’s Soliloquy: For YCM

The other night, before the cock crowed, or
The crow cocked out of darkness, a yellowish
Shape stalked in vision, as in blank verse
‘Mark me,’ it says, sounding almost exactly
Like my late father. ‘Lend thy very serious
Hearing to what I shall unfold.’ Suddenly alerted
I got up among figures, between dream and sleep
‘When you were a teenager, I hated you so much
For looking at me always with your eye whites
Giving me an ugly face each time I talked to you
So much so that I cursed you numerous times in
My dream for being such an unworthy son; I often
Doubted if you were my own flesh until you grew
Into a normal loving adult, making me feel guilty
All my life; also, I was suspicious of your mom
Betraying me, not only in heart but also in body
I almost caught her making love with some guy
On our own bed - -You still remember that small
Apartment we used to live in? Among all my dadly
Secrets, these two I want to reveal to you first
Next time, I will tell you more about the limbo
Between hell and heaven, with the lightest word
Which might harrow up thy spirit, burn up thy
Blood…’ now the cock crows, and I must vanish

Walking with Father: For Yuan Hongqi

One thing I forgot to mention, Dad
Is I intentionally moved either before
Or behind you, each time we happened
To be walking together. That way, you could
Neither pinch my arm not slap my face
So readily; otherwise, you would have to
Embarrass yourself if you ran forward
Or waited to do so, as you tried to
Educate me in anger. Since my departure
From my home town beyond the pacific
How often have I hoped to walk again, just once
Side by side with you, getting or offering support
Whenever either of us needed it

But now I could only follow your footprints behind
Step by step, while you wait to beat me in heaven, smiling

Inviting My Father’s Spirit

Rarely did we get along, Dad, before
You gave us all up, and seldom
Did we even talk, so you never
Knew how I really felt about you
As a father, in particular, about your
Grooming habits: each time you
Returned from your office or trips
You skinned us off and washed all
Our clothes, sheets, towels, mops
Cleaning furniture (including
Every foot’s bottom), polishing
Lamp covers and cooking utensils
Though you often forgot to put them
Back in good and tidy order; true
I learned to love your cleanness
But never the way you were so busy
Doing all this like an old woman

Now you are taking a long break
Up there, (where everything is
Supposed to be perfectly clean); do
You enjoy watching me doing
Such things down here to keep
My home and heart both dust-free

A Lost Memoir

One more thing I never told you, Dad
Was I always believed you to be an
Extra-ordinary father, but in a highly
Embarrassing way: each time you saw
Me hanging around with my buddies 
You kept saying this like a big broken
Gramophone: “Follow Chairman Mao’s
Teachings; Follow the Party’s
Lead,” just as you drove me crazy
By trying to convert me into a true
Communist like yourself, even
When we happened to be eating
At the same table. Still remember?
You once forced me to kneel down
On the hard ground until I finished
Reciting Mao Zedong’s “Three Old
Essays.” It was then I began to defy
You blindly, to follow no other than
My own heart, in a boyish rebellion
Against your fatherly dictatorship
Against any other form of tyranny

Twilight: for Liu Yu

My heart muscle contracts, excruciatingly
Like an overly-wound spring, ready to break
Each time I imagine my mom walking alone
Towards the dusty evening, while she used to
Go downstairs first, waiting aloud for my dad:
‘Grandpa, what are you still busy doing there?
It’s time to take a walk outside, along the moat!’

Now without a companion, my mother does not
Have to wait or hurry for anyone, but how she
Just misses the days when her shadow and my
Father’s became longer and longer, side by side
As they strolled slowly, until the sun set lower
And lower above the blurred horizon of autumn

My Father Yuan Hongqi's Tomb in Lianhuadang, the village where I grew up

In the summer of 2007, my parents, my younger son and I went to my father's
native village to pay tributes to my grandparents

in the summer of 2007, my father and my younger brother stood beside my
Grandma's tomb in Shisanbao Village, where my father was born

in the summer of 2007, my father and i visited the Three Gorges Dam in Yichang

my Father, my poet son and i visited the Yangtze River at the Yichang, 2007