Thursday, March 13, 2014

Poems by changming yuan



Here is the persistent pursuit of a bone chip

Hung right above the nose of the ravenous

Dog as it runs amuck, as well as another


Pursuit of an exotic seed by the west wind

That keeps blowing to catch, to throw it

Into the voiceless reality, and another pursuit


Of an innocent deer trying to gain an inch

Of freedom from the claws of an African lion

Or the pursuit of the sun by the legendary Kuafu


Who ran all the way along the Yellow River

To the very edge of the world, for a reason

No one has ever been able to tell, even today


And here’s another pursuit of a thin whim

shuttling around like a crazy owl in the jungle

A pursuit of a shapeless cloud in a forgotten sky


And another pursuit of quasi happiness you yearn to

Embed into the frame of a painting like Munch’s Scream

The pursuit that can be transmitted onto a colored screen


Like yin always trying to join yang, or vice versa

In a parallel universe, the pursuit of metaphors

Behind the thoughtnow more persistent than ever





You are really haunted by this letter

Yes, since it contains all the secrets of

Your selfhood: your name begins with it

You carry y-chromosome; you wear

Y-pants; both your skin and heart are

Yellowish; your best poem is titled

Y; you seldom seek the balance between

Yin and yang; you never want to be a

Yankee, but you yearn to remain as

Young as your poet son; in particular

You love the way it is pronounced, so

Youthfully, as a word rather than a letter to

Yell out the human reasons; above all

Your soul is a seed blown from afar, always

Y-shaped when breaking the earth to greet spring




from among thick clouds

like mountains of inflated cotton

high above spring fog, much

lighter than the snow of last year

a biblical dove flies, soaring around

as if unable to find a place

to perch on land, where reed flowers

grow tall in the fields of salt, where

ivories float around

in rivers of milk


while no pale surface is taking in any light

all colors gather into a blank filled with flour

slaked lime, or aging hair just to reflect

the entire human civilization




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

Seasonal Stanzas


Summer: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


Autumn: 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


Winter: 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


Spring: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


Changming Yuan, 4-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (Leaf Garden Press, 2009) and Landscaping (Flutter Press, 2013), teaches independently in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan (Poetry submissions welcome at Recently interviewed by PANK, Yuan has poetry appear in 709 journals/anthologies across 27 countries, including Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, London Magazine and Threepenny Review

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