Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Poems by Changming Yuan

Y: Yellowish 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

Looking towards the East


Looking far beyond the horizon

in the ricefield of my soul

and amid green leaves

I see ears and ears, full ears  

of golden verse


picking up a pen, I run to

reap the midsummer

of my fatherland, together

with my native folks

and store it in the barn

of my mothertongue



walking around

around the corner of a back lane

used to carry my yellowish identity

as carefully as if it were a big piece

of glass, through which I could see

others or myself, only if I chose

to do so, but on a hasty afternoon

I tripped down, and

smashed it into hundreds of

small and sharp pieces; since then

my shredded selfhood has become a big

public nuisance, a traffic hazard

as it glistens glaringly under the sun, cutting

tires or human feet, from time to time

as if in a snakeland



seeing the strange belts

like little mouth masks

hung on bamboo poles

I often wondered:

what kind of clothing was that

so funny looking

in front of almost every straw-thatched cottage

but you boys don't bother about that

until one of my aunts told me

on a showering afternoon


it was only until I began dating

with a girl in a major city, so close

to beijing many years later

did I get to know them  

to be no other than menstrual rags


(a taboo of female blood?)


although they actually looked

more like shrunken flags

than thick masks


that's all I remembered about my boyhood

my native village, my motherland


[reflecting afar from canada]


far beyond the horizon

in the ricefield of my soul

amid green leaves

reach out ears, full ears  

of golden verse


pick up a pen

reap the midsummer

of your fatherland, together

with your native folks

and store it in the barn

of your mothertongue



my destination was preset

you will receive a parcel from China

by express.  It turns out


all too expressly, and

the sender was my parents

       who had wrapped themselves

inside already



no, no, no

no more do i want to be

a chinaman, brown-visioned

with all my yellowish

outlooks, yellowish sentiments


nor do I intend to be

a red-skinned big-foot

with my ancestors' vast land

all occupied by foreign devils


nor a rising black star

with evil pale-faced memories

nor a big white boss

with all his politically correct dollars


rather, I prefer to be a tiny rock

sitting still at a hilltop, on the roadside

watching, observing, or even

whistling when there is a wind blowing hard


Changming Yuan, five-time Pushcart nominee, and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013),  grew up in rural China and currently tutors in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan (Poetry subs welcome at editors.pp@gmail.com). Recently interviewed by PANK, Yuan has poetry appearing in Ballad Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Threepenny Review and more than 700 other publications across 27 countries. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails