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

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