Thursday, 4 December 2014

[archived]: Metaphysical Poems by Changming Yuan ©





                                                                  Changming Yuan
Table of Contents

1.      Directory of  Directions
2.      My Crow
3.      South China Cicada
4.      Bow and Arrow
5.      Fossil Fish
6.      My Crow, My Other Life
7.      Name Changing
8.      Dancing with Crane
9.      Sowing after ‘Digging’
10.    Ischemia
11.    Me and Them
12.    Single Last Sale
13.    Day & Night
14.    Uncertainty
15.    Light vs Shadow
16.    Butterfly Being: Zhuangzi Revisited
17.    Replacing
18.    White Calls
19.    The Worn Worm
20.    Chronometry
21.    Wintry Vision
22.    The Crow and the Butterfly
23.    Chameleon
24.    The Unseen
25.    Secret Spirit
26.    If U Can’t See Me, I Can’t See U
27.    Drawing the Dragon
28.    The Mouse, A Mouse
29.    Like Birds, Like Humans
30.    Within This Open Bottle

 Directory of Directions: A Module Poem

North: after the storm
            all dust hung up
            in the crowded air
            with his human face
            frozen into a dot of dust
            and a rising speckle of dust
            melted into his face
            to avoid this cold climate
            of his antarctic dream
            he relocated his naked soul
            at the dawn of summer

South:  like a raindrop
            on a small lotus leaf
            unable to find the spot
            to settle itself down
            in an early autumn shower
            my little canoe drifts around
near the horizon
            beyond the bare bay

West:   not unlike a giddy goat
            wandering among the ruins
            of a long lost civilization
            you keep searching
            in the central park
            a way out of the tall weeds
            as nature makes new york
            into a mummy blue

East:    in her beehive-like room
            so small that a yawning stretch
            would readily awaken
the whole apartment building
            she draws a picture on the wall
            of a tremendous tree
            that keeps growing
            until it shoots up
            from the cemented roof                  

My Crow

As an ancient Chinese saying goes
Crows everywhere are equally black
But this one in the backyard of my heart
Is as white as a summer cloud
I have fed him with fog and frost
Until his feathers, his flesh
His calls and even his spirit
All turned into white like winter washed

My crows wings will never melt
Even when flying close to the sun

South China Cicada

no human ear has ever heard of you
      cloistering yourself deep in the soil
silently sucking all sounds from roots
      for more than thirteen years in a row
      until high up on a summer painted twig
you slough off your earthly self
            pouring all your being in a single song
            before the sun sets for the yellow leaf

Bow and Arrow
For a whole decade of
Delays and detours
You have failed after all
To find the golden bow
Yet you still hold this arrow
Close to your heart
Ready to draw it
As straight as a day dream
At the setting summer sun

Fossil Fish
not every fish can
    transform into a fossil
not every fossil
    can be found fulfilled
yet unfortunately favored
    by the formidable fate
i am a fossil
that used to be a fish

to avoid being drowned
    in my own blue dreams
i swam, swum, and swimming
with the weeping wind
            against the sweeping waves
until at a hot moment of spot
    i became fossilized

my skeleton is my story

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?

Name Changing

Confucius once said
If the name is not right
Language will carry no might
So my father created my name
By rearranging the sun and moon
Vertically and horizontally
To equip it with all
The forces of yin and yang
Dispersed in the universe

Since I became subject
To a totally different grammar
All people have complained
Or made fun of my name
So harsh and awkward
They conspire to seduce me
To adopt a familiar one
Like Michael in the powerful speech

But to retain the subtle balances
In the wild wild world I wander
To hold my fathers sunbeam
With my mothers moonlight
I fiercely refuse to change it
Even though I often feel lost
When the sounds I hear
Do not sound like my name at all

Dancing with Crane
I show her how to move her steps
But shes much too timid
Worse still, she cannot coordinate with my movements
Although she dances with me, to an unheard melody
Its her own music shes dancing to

She likes the way I hold her
Even lets me kiss her shoulder from time to time
so richly white and velvety
But she always keeps me at bills length
Each time I come closer
She backs off with a glaring scream

What have I done so wrong?
What is in her mind?
Jumping off the stage
She shows her best, which is a scarlet crest
Like plum petals blown onto the wall of west
I beg her to return
So she did, but only to depart from me again

Outside the spotlight
She begins to beat her wide wings against my blue wishes
Her eyes sparkling, as if saying to me
I have my neck and legs
Both too thin and too long to be your partner here
In this cage-like hall
Worse still, shes much too timid

Sowing After “Digging”
Above an empty sheet of paper
      With lines like the thin ridges
In an open fallow field
My snug pen squats
      As if waiting in ambush
Below my window, my fathers shaking shadow
      Is shrinking slowly but surely
Into a focus constantly adjusted
      By the noon sun of spring 
As he scatters some strange seeds
      Over the soil like salted brown rice
He has been preparing since last winter

By god, the old man enjoys sowing
Even more than his old man

My grandfather died at the age of 29
            In a hilly village in central china
He had cast every drop of his soiled sweat
      Onto a field not belonging to himself
It is said that he reaped little in autumn
Nor did he really care about reaping

Like a bridegroom planting his plump sperm deep
      In his brides virgin field on a mid-summer night
I am now sowing, with my pen


In my line of people, especially on my father’s side
There never seems to have been ample blood
Running within the arteries behind our Chinese chests
No matter how warm-hearted we actually are

As in the case of my father, who used to
Accuse me of being an ill-hearted teenager
My heart muscle is imbalanced
As one side is less infused with blood
Than the other, thus causing palpitation
Short breath, and a strong sense of
Tightness, heaviness or tiredness about life

To diagnose my cardiovascular defection
Neither an echo nor a stress test is needed
For I am keenly aware of my own doomed
Arteries that have been clotted  
With too many syllables
Voiced or voiceless 
And to make all these sounds flow out of my heart
Is already stressful enough

Nevertheless, I will keep pumping out these words
All so blood-soaked

Me & Them

First, they looked but without seeing
So, I began to yell in a yellow voice

Then, they listened but without hearing
So, I cooked according to a Chinese recipe

Still, they smelt but without tasting
So, I melt myself into spring water

Finally, they touched but without feeling
So, I began to tattoo words on my own heart

Single Last Sale

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

Day & Night

The day has no ears
The heart but a myriad
The noises glare
Where life’s grievance begins

The night has no eyes
The mind but a myriad
The shadows collide
When your spirit bites at the light

Just as the shadow beyond the light
Is fictional, and fictional is
The word on the paper or screen
So is this hand also fictional
That writes from the heart of the night?

All the feelings swarmed together
What I meditated, flows
I wonder if this life of mine
Is posthumous before the birth
Of a refracted metaphor?

Light vs Shadow

Was it the shadow?
Was it the shadow beyond?
Was it the shadow beyond the shadow?
Still fell the thick night,
When the heart blocked the light.

Yes, it is light!
It is light within!
It is light within light!
Loud sweeps the morning glow,
Where the mind has no shadow.

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 leave
Within the human mind

Or perhaps the other way around
Am I?

Running short of bulbs
I planted some root words instead
Along the fence
In the backyard of my mind

All winter
They seemed dreaming under the frozen soil

When the last dews fly away
You will see certain three-colored tulips
Blooming aloud
Towards the early summer sun

White Calls
How many times
Have you lain in thick darkness
Imagining a white crow
That you wish to see
Or rather to be

Not until the other morning
Did you hear a wild bird crying
Like a persistent knock
At the door of your heart

Beyond your curtained window
Beyond your curtained dream
It was a crow hammering all its white yaws
Right into your soul
Resonating with your truer selfhood

The Worn Worm

This is a transparent creature
      Gnawing at the tiny roots
Of my withering senses
Before it becomes a chrysalis
      Buried deep in my hearts soil

Then it tries to climb out
      Sucking all the fresh dews
Held long in my staring eyes
Before it begins to beat
      Its blue wings against the frog

Then it will fly away
On a cloudless day

I kissed your morning
With mine, and held
Your night closely with mine too

Between your spring and autumn
I lay my summer
Deep in winter

From your January through February
To your March, I wrap your April and May
With my June and July

Within your August
I use my September or October
To caress both your November and December

And right from your moment
I suck my whole year

Wintry Vision

Two little crows
Popping up
From nowhere 
Try to
Establish themselves:
Two truths
On the skeletal tree top
Yawing fiercely
Towards the sky, the wind, the buildings
The fields and the entire afternoon
All so fluffy white
In jade-toned snow

The Crow and the Butterfly

you like the crows in your backyard
other birds are much less plain
but they fly too high
or too far for your heart
stranded here

you envy the butterfly in your frontyard
The most beautiful
thought also most lonely
As the spring sets
under her floral wings

            -- when it looks in a mirror, what color does it have?

changing your skin color
with light
or emotion

they know it for sure

but isnt it
their eyes
with their minds
their hearts
their tongues
longer even than yours

we are actually colorless
arent we?                               

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  

Secret Spirit

for years I sought light in darkness
with my eyes open wide as my mouth
I called, I sang, I prayed, I pleaded
for rays that might come down from above

now I seek darkness in light instead
with my ears closed tight as my eyes
yet I cannot find a shred of my soul's
shadow, even in a midnight dream

If U Can’t See Me, I Can’t See U
            (sign at the back of a truck)

Outside the picture, if you can’t see me, I can’t see you
Under a pile of words, if you can’t see me, I can’t see you
Behind a big truck, if you can’t see me, I can’t see you
That is, since I drive in front of you
If you want to pass but can’t see me in
My driver’s seat, or in my front rear mirror, you are
In my blind spot, so don’t follow me too closely, don’t
Try to pass me, but stay calm behind my shadow
Otherwise you would kiss my big ass in a bloody way
And so, when you communicate
Wait and make sure you see the right person first –
That’s for your own safety, pal
When you are cursing, singing, dancing, playing or fighting
It’s best to have the real person in view:
If she can’t kiss you, you can’t kiss her
If you can’t put up with me, I can’t put up with you
If fame can’t grow out of you, you can’t grow out of fame
If money can’t find you, you can’t find money
If the politician can’t trust you really, you really can’t trust the politician
Look, what I point out is, if you can’t see me, I can’t see you
Whether it is in a book, at a cemetery, on a plane, or behind a truck
Drive safe, you asshole.

Drawing the Dragon 

There was a contest
For the most faithful representation
Of loong
(Or the Chinese dragon)

In England

An inflated Satan 
Or was it Sua proper
Came to squat among
The letters

Then stroke by stroke, again
It rose right
Each slate of white


The Mouse, A Mouse

if the little mouse became
as boundless as the sky as it wishes

the sky would become
as free as a cloud

the cloud
as powerful as a wind

and if the wind became
as unshakable as a wall

the wall would become
as penetrating as a mouse

and the little mouse
a mouse                   

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