Monday, 5 January 2015

[archived]: Poems by Changming Yuan © - 2/2013

To Mars: A Modern Sonnet 

How do we love thee? Let us count the ways:
We love thee to the very limits of high-science
The boundaries of technologies, the frontiers of
The human conscience; in particular we love thy
Art of work on a mother feeding her baby in a
Shelter, a sheep boy driving his little herd to the
Valley, or a crowd of country lads celebrating a
Wedding. More important, we love the way thou
Help us to get rid of all extra food processors
In the human shape: the poor, the sick, the weak
The old, all wanted or unwanted others, above all
We love the way thou have become a real game as
Bloodily vivid as a movie on a vast colored screen
Thousands of miles far, far away in an other world

The Moment My Soul Becomes an Electron

I find myself lost in a space of dark densities, where
The sun wind keeps blowing hard in all directions

Travelling as fast as light with other fellow electrons
I recognize few of them as my former acquaintances

Before swarming into antennas, sensors, end users
We all slough off our clothes made of digital codes

As we fill in every blank with our shapeless bodies
The whole world trespass into a parallel universe

While resurrecting at every switch turned on


Before you change your heart
And throw away the old one

Nothing your new heart is hating
Will depart or can be skinned off

Before your laser-cleaned pupils sprout
In your eyes, all foreign stains returning

Nothing your new eyes are attracted to
Will arrive, forgotten to shed tears on

Thinking for Too Long

You realize you have lost all your directions
Besides a shoe lace

You see, then will reach the spot to break free
From your skinned shape

Meditation is the clothing you have been wearing
As a doer, the practice of Initial Thoughts

Therefore, you keep thinking for seven days
It can be anything that is nothing
But the Initial Thoughts

Whim in, whim out
Penetrate into the wall
Around your selfhood

When Burying Me: for Allen Qing Yuan

First, remove all my clothes and masks
That I have been tired of wearing, skinned off
The tattoos on my chest, my heart, my soul

I have kept as my secrets. Then send me
Into the resomator like an alchemist, with the
Words I have used most often, the images

I have created and collected in my mind
Burn me as the Dao God did the Monkey King
With the purest fire from hell, from heaven

Tongues of blue gas, or red electricity
Sizzling, I will enjoy being kissed first and
Last, by my own words, my own metaphors


If you could, would you become a fish
That can swim, freely in the water, but without
Being able to touch the horizon?  --I don’t know

If you could, would you become a whale
The king of the ocean, the ocean of words
For instance, the most powerful?  --How powerful?

You wait for all other words to feed you
Like planktons, or swallow other fishes like similes
Metaphors, because you are big. –Yes, very big

If you could, would you become a blue whale
Whose calls and songs can reach afar, far
Beyond a civilization? –Who can hear me then?

Free Sonnet: Cybersburg Address

In the 1950s, our uncles brought forth
A civilization, conceived in electronics
And dedicated to the cause that all
Machines were created to be equally apathetic
To humans when a message was sent
From a lab at some campus, which can
Think logically, but not respond emotionally:
Whether you like it or not
This semi-being would never speed up
A moment even though you are dying
Nor will it slow down when it is to crash
Neither a smallest smile to hear
The great news, nor a smattering of
Sadness over the loss of your dearest
It keeps working at the pre-determined pace
Always indifferent of the people
By the people and for the people
Until we all perish with the earth

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

Where You Were Born

Beside an old thick y-shaped poplar stump
At the foot of Mount Big Wok Top
In a village, on the other side of this world

You were born in a jalopy Ford pickup
Whose driver was a stranger to your clan
Who had had too much of a horse’s urine

Among ashes of an unknown nuclear war
That had destroyed a whole civilization
Based on antimatter, anti-electrons, anti-souls

Actually, you were born in a growing bubble
Rising from the bottom of a lake, like a new idea
Floating on the water, as invisible as your breath 

From under a rock protruding into a vast field
Full of wild poppies, where autumn whistles
Aloud, as if to greet heaven, you were born

Untitled 1

Detour can turn out
A real short cut
To your destiny
With final findings
More refreshing
More fascinating  

Notes from Extraterrestrial Civilizations

1/ God is nobody
But a superman
Who has come among us
From an other civilization
That may have gone astray
In a different space of time

2/ The human face
On the Mars is meant
To tell that we have
Detracted ourselves
To see it crying afar
Beyond our own world

3/ Hollow as is, the moon
Is an alarm clock
Hanged closest to us:
It will never ring
If we fail to set it
At the right time

Inner Harvest

In the little backyard
Of my soul’s residence
Grows a plum-apricot
Tree that bears so much
Fruit every mid-summer
I can treat more than
Passers-by, more
Strangers than I could
Have sold it
Through the neighboring
Market in case it might
Fall and rotten
During a nightly storm

Modern Times

God has long been dead
Hero has also vanished
All supermen and superwomen
Are returning to their own worlds
Except animals that are left alone, lonely
On this shrinking planet, like the hooligans
On the street, like the villains at the corners
Of the office, like the distressed, disabled, dislocated
As presidents, prime ministers, legislators, judges
And, given enough time, we are going to prove that we
Are all no more or no less than earthlings, who will destroy
This little blue ball, or be destroyed here, unless the few lucky
Ones are able to depart from our home world, somehow, sooner than later

Should You Allow

Should you allow us to live, let it not like robots
Running and working around the clock, to give you
All the comfort and convenience available to human
Masters. Should you allow us to live, o let us live
With the kind of freedom you enjoy, the equal rights
And democracy you are talking about so aloud
So that our tears and sweat will become less salty
Than our blood, our eyes less murky than our visions
Then even the food and products we make would warm
Your hearts. Don’t try to make love with us only to fulfil
Your sense of conquest, or beat us mad, containing us
Whistling your dogs of war upon us when you have
A nightmare. True, like robots we may not be entitled
To your human rights, but even a cornered robot rabbit will bite back
Someday, somehow, like a treaded cobra, like your fore fathers


Sunrise or sunsetting
Whenever the sun invades into the vision
Of the human eye, there are always shadows
Moving slowly, like water overflown
From the Styx into all the cracks and
Crevices of the ground, like the darkness of
Last night shredded into myriads of patches

Patches that can be used to wrap dreams


Is an artificial universal wind
That keeps blowing steadily
Towards the abyss of autumn
Where all leaves and branches
Even uprooted stumps and trunks
Will become decomposed

The Origin of the Cosmos

Is nothing but a cell
Of nothingness
That divides into time
And space, the two that began
To produce everything
With or without
Shape, light, or weight
During its initial fission


Borderless is dream
Meaningless is life
Neither is worthy
Unless each finds
A solid expression
In a thought process
Under a stroke of
The painting brush
Behind a line of words
Or around a note of music

a modest request: to Gregor Robertson
            (This is an open letter to the Mayor of Vancouver, regarding the City Hall's plan to re-designate Marpole neighborhoods into a high-density zone)

Dear Sir, Your Honor, Mr Mayor, we have been
living in this city and paying property taxes for
the past 17 years (without a single minute of
delay), because we love it as one of the world's
'most liveable' realms, but now you and your
colleagues seem to be committed to downgrading
our environment by changing many districts, our
Marpole in particular, into huge hords of hords
of rowhouses, townhouses, courthouses in an
unfair, unwise, unjustifiable, unpopular fashion
as many of my fellow denizens have called your
heed to; meanwhile, with an almost guaranteed
term in office, you are showing no understanding
of our concerns (though we are all your voters)
let alone sympathize with our loss of quiet enjoyment
of tenancy in the area; most blatantly, you have
remained so arrogant as to turn a deaf heart to our
protests, not even to have enough democratic
courtesy to answer our greetings, our letters
emails, phone calls, as a polite stranger would
readily do to a fellow human in the wild wild world

nevertheless, we give you the benefit of doubt, as we do
god, honoring your good intentions, expressed or hidden
but on behalf of my distressful family, tenants and
neighbors, i am writing this in hope of getting a reply
a simple utterance from you. yours most sincerely
most respectfully, mike yuan, a fellow vancouverite

                                   -- are you listening at all?


Textured with
Presented in the shape of
All female tenderness

As smooth as sleek
As fantasy, where, and whereby

Man go

Entering Adulthood: To George and Allen

The most important tip for you, Sons
Is to forget all the tips any father
Any book, any computer can give you
About this world, but just remember
This: the moment you step
Out of the boundary of our little home
You will have to remain
On high alert, even while dreaming
What you will cross is a snakeland, where
There is as much sunshine, fresh air
As many blue skies, green leaves
Fragrant flowers, handsome
Human figures, as cobras, mambas
Taipans, adders, kraits and vipers

Y: Yellow Musings

Gold, lemon, butter, rapeseed flowers:

Pre-positioned, you function to lead
A whole column of evils as in the yellow
Peril, bastards, bellies, dogs, fish, guts
Journalism, heels, even men and pups

After words, you will become as noble
As imperial, as royal, or as Chinese
Yellow. That makes all the difference

Between a noun and an adjective
Between Chinese and English

Notice to End a Tenancy: for Steve Mondor

Hi there, I am publishing this short poem
Not because I truly need to bribe you
Into moving out of the house of my heart
(As you proposed – I am not sure if you
Meant what you were saying), but because
I want to voice my tribute to the way
You have served 2 terms for the country
We both love, and kept fighting against
Posttraumatic stress disorder we both hate

Indeed, by becoming part of my poetry
Will you give me more time to focus on
My poems as you on your customers’ cars?

Power of Poetry

Although a little
Shabby shelter
Mostly for myself
Sometimes for
My family or friends
My poetry has become
A public hall of fame, where
Even a total stranger
Even the most
Dangerous snake
Would try to
Find tenancy, just
As would those 
As famous as mayors
Presidents, and hey
How about you
Dear Sir/Ma’am?

Across the Land under the Rule of Law

All rules and laws
Are the stout fence
Around our residence:
It is a great deterrent
To every respectful passer-by
But no more than
A wall made of mid-air
To a blatant trespasser


Probably in one of your dreams
Probably at a relocated zoo
Probably on a less trodden trail
Probably between two words
Probably behind the shadow of an arrow
Probably before making a u-turn
Probably after entering an office
Probably from a moving picture
Probably under the morning glows
Probably beyond the autumn lake
Probably near the melodies of spring birds
You may be bitten by a snake
Poisonous or otherwise, and
Since then, you would be
Strangled to a slow death
Like me or her

Y: the Aptonym of Changming Yuan
            If the name is not right, the speech will carry no might – Confucius

Changing or charming
My given name is so often
Misspelt (as my family name
Which is sometimes mispronounced
Intentionally or otherwise)
That the language has definitely
Failed me in this foreign tongue, just
As Confucius warned me
As early as two thousand years ago

Unlike Fairbank
The tremendously rich banker
Unlike Cherish Hart
The particularly famous cardiologist  
Unlike Jack Armstrong
Probably the greatest baseball player
Unlike Laura, my loyal lawyer
Or Dennis, your dandy dentist

Indeed, we have long
Forgotten the true name of
God, so our language is
Bound to go nowhere
Except a few rare
Cases for or
against aptonym

Small vs Big

Most of the time
I am so small
As a nerve cell
Embedded in my
But sometimes
I grow so big
As the whole
Universe, where
Each of my
Self-cell becomes
A star in a
Distant sky
Or otherwise

Mirror vs Water

Both can collect
As much light and
Imagery from beyond
Their frames, while
The mirror stores
Everything in its shiny
But skin-deep surface
The water keeps all
Its reflections murky
Deep in its heart

 Outside the Zoo

A hen party is held
Around a sitting duck
While there is a bull meeting
Where you can see the elephant
Getting the goose when it tries to tell
The difference between the sheep and the goats
Farther away, a black snake falls down
Neither fish, flesh nor fowl
Smelling a rat somewhere
As you are being showed the lions
Ready to take the bull by the horns
Until the cows come home

While learning about birds and bees
I feel ants in my pants
The cat’s got my tongue
Hey, I do not mean to chicken out
Or clam up on these dog days
Rather, I would try to be an eager beaver
Hold my horses
When I have a cow
That’s what a little bird told me
About how they made a beeline for
Pigging out
Before it rains dogs and cats

Sometimes in Life

There are days much longer than months
Weeks as everlasting as forever, and
Months even shorter than hours
When you feel envious of every other
Human being, when you prefer not to
Have been born, or would rather be anyone
But yourself, when you are going through
The kind of hardship only you know how
Unbearable, or the kind of happiness
which you wish to eternalize or
Terminate at this moment
In your life, but still, you have to 
Face, to feel, to flee or fight

Personality Overdrafting

Born with a deformed heart muscle
You are as timid, introvert and cowardly
As a little quiet chick, but all your life
You have been trying to play tough, forcing
Yourself to be tough-minded, tough-bodied
Like an iron fighter rooster in the legend
Until now your worsening ischemia
Drives you into your old premature selfhood
With cardio neurosis, trembling, all
Thanks to a tenant, a sociopath, a rattlesnake
More evil than Satan, whose greatest joy
Is to destroy you as a petty landlord
Of a rental property full of foreign words


Just as the moonlight
separated Li Bo
from his drunk shadow,
no other than his other self,
the only human figure
who could understand him,
so the darkness of last night
has compressed all the words
and metaphors in my writing
into a single sheet of paper, which
I can use to wrap my inner being, flying it
into the morning glow
like a folded paper dart
towards the setting sun  

To a Tenant of My Heart

Wondering how all little cherry flowers
Have changed into large hairy leaves
In front of my residence, I felt bitten as if
By a vicious viper in the shape of a
Handsome human, like a tall mountain
Of darkness collapsing, falling upon
My slanting shoulders; no, more like
A true snake never letting off its teeth
On my body and soul, while trying its
Very best to strangle me into a slow
Death, here in the westside of Vancouver
Where neither the 9-1-1 professionals
Nor the tenancy arbitrators can, or
Even will rescue me as a home owner

The Jiujielity of Liknonomics

Together with fengqing
Damas use all
Kinds of guanxi to
Go and look, never
Afraid of chengguan
Or shuanggui as they
Explore every geilivable
Dollar issued by chinemerica, like
People mountain, people sea
Between them: we two who and who?

Yes, no money no talk!

My Fortune Teller Says

According to the eight Chinese pictographs
Set right at the moment of my birth
My original being is actually a huge body
Of water, predetermined to move
Around like a strong stream, with an
Ambitious and transparent heart, I was meant
To find great joy in traveling through woods
Absorbing metal elements along the way
Until I join the western sea, but I should
I would lead my inner selfhood
Out of my small rented room
To the Fraser River Valley Park
To let it play with other dogs
Running and jumping wildly
Catching the ball each time I threw
Into the air, the tree shade, the ditch
The bank, the water, and sometimes
The ridge, where it sometimes stopped and stood
Looking beyond the horizon, as if to join the wild
Becoming one and the same with the little could
Drifting freely around, under the western sky

Genuine Genesis

Created in holy His image
Adam was in fact a gay
Who loved Satan more than himself
While Eve’s sexual partner was also
The handsome serpent, the real
Father of all her children

Equally noteworthy, it was not
Satan who seduced the woman
To taste the apple, but the first man who
Forced her to eat a whole onion
Because he admired its layers
Of layers of skin, so inspiring 
As clothes and masques he would like
Each and all of them three to wear
To explore, even to die with


Hidden in the backyard of
Every heart is a corner of hell
Walled with human feelings

Once you demolish the building
You will readily find heaven
Right above the ruins, which
You may never hope to see, touch
Hear, smell or taste, but where
You can relocate your inner being

And live happily ever after
As long as you choose to

Y10: Be

You had been before

You were, and since then
You have been, although
You could, you might, you would or
You should have been, now
You are, and shortly
You are going, to be or not to be, of course
You can, you may, you will be, but if
You must be
You are to

Be-come, which is being


Through the kaleidoscope of
Your mind, you will find the very most
Beautiful scene, where you will see
Neither brilliant colors, nor changing shapes
Nor graceful lines, nor even bold light
(Of course nor shadow or darkness)
But you can gain a good and solid peep of heaven
In a little cloud between sea and sky, or
Unknown trees beyond the valley, on the hill


Here are the semi-finalists
From all groups participating in
The first contest of sounds:

Firing of guns, cannons and missiles made by Lockheed Martin 
Tingling of a stream running from Himalayas
Singing of orchids in an Emei valley
Humming of a female being fucked on the beach
Giggling of black toddlers
Chanting from a Buddhist temple
Chirruping of birds in Yani’s light music
Thundering steps in Beethoven’s number nine

Hark, the world champion of sounds


How would it smell
If we put together in a library
All the essentials of
The French wine made 5 centuries ago
The Maotai from the Tang Dynasty
One hundred perfumes
Ten thousand flowers
As many Chinese as French or Italian gourmet courses
The air from the deepest valley in Tibet
The purest eggs and perms of Nobel prize winners
The tears from the most excited love-makers
Perhaps some freshest paper bills from the Federal Reserve

Then, and there we would feel like throwing out
As if thrown into heaven, or hell


Sweeter than honey
Sourer than green apricot
Saltier than tears or blood 
Bitterer than spleen juice of a bear
Hotter than Mexican chilly
Juicier than watermelon
Crisper than newly fried chips
Is, is this love, unfulfilled or unreturned
Something like the left-over from
The feast held in Eden last year


While hiking in the wild
I picked it up on the trail
Hard like a diamond
Sleek like a mirror
Tender like a cherry bud
Soft like rubber mud
Cool like glacier water
Hot like larva
That I tried to manipulate into a word
Hoping to wedge into the little crack
On the ladder standing high
Against the Babel Tower

The Death of a Poet

Not to emulate Empress Wu Zetian
Who made a unique Chinese character
For herself, an all-powerful name, by juxtaposing
The sun and the moon or, rather
Yin and yang together, right above
The sky, the entire human space

He killed himself just to add
One short line to the English canon
By pumping out a couple of words from
The innermost blood clots
Behind his Chinese chest

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

The Kite

When still a village boy
Far beyond the pacific
Often did I run as fast as I could 
Against the southern wind
To keep my kite high in the sky

Now swinging around, ready to fall
Like the paper bird I used to fly
I saw no-one but my own shadow
Trembling non-stop on the ground

The Portrait of an Artist

Unlike the monkey in a zoo
That enjoys picking lice
From his own untidy fur
You prefer to use the short beak
Of your inner being to peck out
Every worm in the old apple tree
Still growing in the front yard 

We Are All Bats

Self-confined in a huge cave
Walled with our own ignorance, and
Blind as we are, we navigate in darkness
Detecting directions with our sonar of shriek
While trying to fly like real birds

Although we are earth-bound mammals
Although there is a whole open sky outside

Life Cycle

We all begin as tiny eggs

As we grow, we slough off our
Tattooed, tabooed selfhoods, and masks one
After another, using our little spike-
Like hairs to deal with our environments
While crawling slowly along the way
Until we become totally self-confined
Within the enclosures of selfhood, where
We pretend to meditate like Buddha
As if to prepare to become a butterfly
Fluttering freely in heaven, like Zhuangzi


No, it was
It is not a bird
That has just flown by
But a leaf
A spectre
A whim about a bird
That can actually
Never fly away
From your heart
Flapping like a bird


Just calculate this:
How much blood
She has to shed
Every month
Every year
To retain her femininity
During her lifetime, even
In peace, while all you men
Have to shed
Sweat only

Before the Harvest

All crops
Live in soil
But this little
Plant can
Grow in the air
Or without
Even sunlight
Like a dream
Like a god

This Is Not Lovemaking

Keep your eyes closed
Say nothing, baby
Make no sound, yeah
Stay still, honey
That’s more like it

Oh yeah
Oh yeah

Now open your heart
As wide as your legs
And let me in

Does this hardened idea hurt?

Protest Unheard

I was born a bird, and
There is no doubt about it

But day and night
They keep me
In a huge crowded cage 
Feeding me
With all kinds of compounds
Full of additives
Making my body far heavier
Than my wings are wide
Until I am butchered
On an assembly line

Never have I seen
What the sky
Looks like

Nor do I ever know
How to fly


As we keep eating
All kinds of gmos, drinking
All kinds of formulas, inhaling
All kinds of pollutants, taking
All kinds of chemical compounds
We are changing, developing ourselves
Into a brand new species
A new generation
Of earthlings

Although we still remain
In this ridiculous human shape
Although we are
No longer nature-developed
But self-made scientific man

Although without either usage problems
Or grammatical errors, your life
Is a long-winded sentence, rambling
Along, with too much redundancy

So, if you keep editing it, you will find
It is actually not a sentence
Not even a phrase, but a singular
Proper noun, which is capitalized
But holds no meaning on its own

Until one day, your death will add an adjective
To this noun, often misspelt, mispronounced

First Touch of Femininity: For Chen Yeqiong

I do not remember how it started
No am I sure about how it ended, but
It was on almost every evening
Of that summer, you would answer
My secret signal by waiting there for me
Beside trembling reeds, on a sandy dune
Wrapping my entire boyhood
With your girlhood, tightly
While I buried all the 13 years
Of my life between your bloated breasts

Although we both held our breaths
In nervousness and tranquility
We had no more urge
Than to take a break
In each other’s teenaged tenderness
Saying not a single word
Not even knowing how to make love
But just letting the breeze flirting with our feeling
Between sleep and wake. That’s as early
As half a century ago, on the other side of
This world, until now you find yourself called
Softly, in a foreign tongue after your death



How about having another glass
Of wine, which I brew myself
Out of all my pasts?

Bottoms up!

A Modest Request

Give me a thin page
And I can use a metaphor
To lever up
The whole earth (soaked
So deeply
In human tears and sweat)
Still dripping blood
Down towards the depth
Of universe

First Potluck by Robot Families

What a rich and grand dinner party here:
Look, this jug of wine, brewed with the
Human perms and blood, is brought
By the Vines; this huge plate of tongues
Of the sexiest women, is presented 
By the Crows; this is a bowl of fried penises
Of teenage boys, looking like wishbones
Of aging eagles. There are also well-baked 
Nipples of virgins; barbecued buttocks of
Kings and emperors; steamed brains of
Nobel prizewinners; pickled hearts of poets
And painters; prepared respectively by
Mr Hog, Ms Cucumber, Dr Rice, etc.

Yeah, they are all homemade dishes; none
Of them is a GMO, nor cloned or stem-grown

What If…

God is nobody but a little lucky survivor of
The last generation of earthlings, or a lost
Envoy dispatched by another civilization; man
Is actually a chimpanzee in frame, a hog
In tissue, and a frog in heart; the whole
Universe is no larger than a concept being
Formed in the brain of a mouse, whereas money
Is no other than a null number, fame a fading
Name, power a petty tower, and love a lust
In glove; indeed, what if there is a parallel
World where your other self is stalking you like
Your shadow, where you can become a god
In your own right; most important of all
What if you are it; what if now is then?

Looking at Each Other

I enjoy looking into the eyes
Of a dog, which show far more
Friendship than those of a
Fellow human, which I’d look afar
Away from, as they are always
Full of alert against me, against
Any other body, even a spirit 

Exchange of Vision

Jumping into her gaze
Like a naked village boy
Into a local autumn pond
I see her vision full of
Fishes swimming around
Among dangling grasses
Along folded sunlight

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

Memo to Yuan Hongqi

Another thing I forgot to mention, 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 great
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

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Sir/Ma’am, this is just to confirm
That though without a visa, this little paper
Dart bears the authentic signature of
My truer self, and set free according
To the laws of the virtual kingdom. If
It happens to fly through your shared
Space, or above your private site, I hope
You would be so kind as to let it pass
Instead of burning it. Please feel free to
Contact me at your end of the line, should
You have any concerns or questions.
Yours truly, Words Worth Digitalized


All waves of water
surge towards the shore, even
    if they are originated
in the heart of the Pacific

Each light wave
is trying to conquer darkness
    at every boundary between here and there

except the waves of my song, which may never
reach any wall to produce
the faintest echo

Private Talk: for Yuan Hongqi

Show yourself, Dad, I know you are around
Always trying like a true angel to protect
Me; let it be like those days when I was still
A teenager, but I will tell you all you wanted
To know about my feeling; for instance, I don’t
Like you to force me to recite Chairman Mao’s
Quotations, and I hope you would put Jin Yong
Rather than Karl Marx under my young pillow
Yes, let it be as if we were both younger, healthier
Suffering from no ischemia, our family curse
But having plenty of blood flowing behind our
Yellowish chests; let it be that we have no secrets
As father and son, and work together to help
Our offspring survive and succeed in this degrading
World, so full of snakes, snares and snobs

Praying: Hallowed Be Your Name

All the gods created already
Or yet to be created soon
Powerful or powerless
I demand you! All the

Spirits and spectres
Drifting around here in both
Yin and yang worlds
Visible or invisible
I demand you – stars so numerous

In the entire universe as
The cells in my whole body
I demand you all, all of you
To join me in this foreign tongue
To pray, if ever praying is meaningful

For my fellow beings as a race


Blese be the man that knows my word’s worth
And curst be he that disturbs your bird’s birth

Shakespeare’s Definition of Man Recalled

Thou subtle, perjur’d, false, disloyal man!
Thou art like a toad; ugly and venemous.
Thou art a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward.
A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.
Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.

You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian!
Go, prick thy face, and over-red thy fear, Thou lily-liver’d boy.
Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch!
You starvelling, you eel-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, you bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish–O for breath to utter what is like thee!-you tailor’s-yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck!

There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.
Thou poisonous bunch-back’d toad!
Thou art unfit for any place but hell.
Thou are pigeon-liver’d and lack gall.
Your virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese.
Thine face is not worth sunburning.
Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage.
You are as a candle, the better burnt out.
Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade.

A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.


All my peers prefer to be grown-ups
So that they can smoke cigars, drink
Whisky, stay online as long as they like
Except me, for one, I’d rather remain
Young as I am now, knowing nothing
About reason, law, politics, money, sex
My parents and uncles and aunts are
Talking about all the time, pretending
To be happy, changing their faces like
Their clothes; oh yeah, I wish to continue
Working with these jigsaw puzzles, trying to
Find the missing pieces. Even if i fail to find
The right thing for the right place, nothing
Really matters, nobody really cares. Anyway.

How Old Are You?

While every child yearns to become a grown up
All adults wish to return to their childhoods

Except me; would you be as young
Or as old as you really are?

Getting Newly Old

The other night, we were still imagining
How to grow old together, wondering what
Else to do besides making love in bed

But now, both of us have become really old
Older than our parents when we were young
Younger than our children as they get old
While you feel wind-dried inside out, I find
Myself softened at both ends. Indeed
In a cold night like this, isn’t it nice
To have someone to stay close enough with
And keep each other warm on this bed

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