Tuesday 5 November 2013

3 Poems by Changming Yuan

2013: Snakeland

Black is this year, both because the ominous
Number floods the world with America’s QE3
Snowden’s dark secrets, and war threats from
Obama, the Nobel peace prize winner, and
More important, because this is the year of
Snake, the most difficult year in my entire life
When I have been bitten by 3 vipers; one has
Run away with a piece of meat from my heart
Another trying to strangle me into a slow death
And the third still waiting to swallow my hardened
Body with its young and ambitious mouth, all
Sloughed out of the attractive terror of white

Siamese Stanzas: Snowflakes

                           as little noise
                           as much leisure
                           as possible
                           you came
                           to perch
                           at this cold spot of time
                           like a pale word
                           fallen on the wasteland

merely                                                       to melt
a voiceless being                                        soft and quiet
never heard                                                before you
yet ready to                                                vanish
herald                                                         tracelessly
the glaring                                                   in the green
thunder                                                       wind
summer                                                      time

30 Monolines
           Man becomes established at the age of thirty -- Confucius

1. The meaning of life, if any at all, is to create a meaning for life.        
2. This is a graying age, where white is turning black while black white.
3. There is light in every dream we have in darkness.     
4. However pitch-dark the entire night is, it can never turn a single snowflake black.
5. There is no distinguishing between black and white, for the color of life is grey to begin with.
6. A house for sale is never a home, while a heart unoccupied is a hotel for rent.
7. Freedom is the thin distance between the fleeing mouse and the chasing cat.
8. Love may be 99% honey and 1% money, while marriage is definitely otherwise.
9. Pleasant or painful, all experiences are as good as cash saved for a long rainy day.
10. Birth throws us out into different times whereas death recalls us back into the same place.
11. No rules are created for their creators.
12. In this age of information, we are all fish swimming freely before the net is towed onto the boat.
13. The more high technologies, the more low minds.
14. Many still very much alive are already stone dead; many already stone dead are still very much alive.
15. On the stage of life, we may not be able to choose the play, but we can choose the roles to play.
16. Comedy can come without romance or finance, but tragedy has to do with either or both.
17. Growth is painful because it means a series of deaths of our pasts, while death can be pleasant because it may result from a series of births of our presents.
18. Misfortune is a peculiar privilege.
19. In memories, roses always look fresher, while thorns less sharp.
20. What we see or read has always been so edited that the truth remains only in the mind of history unwritten.
21. God died long ago; heroes have all disappeared; and here is man left standing alone.
22. The bird flies as high as heaven, but it has to return to the earth to make a nest.
23. Remaining an outsider can give you a sense of superiority, transcendence and peacefulness.
24. Time is the most meticulous makeup master of all.
25. Only those determined to reform others can hope to be reformed.
26. Parting is painful; even more so is having no one to part from.
27. He is happy who is not afraid not to be rich, sexual, famous or powerful.
28. Do some deep thinking about nothing every day, and you will stay healthy, wealthy and wise
29. We all have some questions for heaven, but heaven always remains silent.
30. Like a silkworm, I have contributed all my silk to the human world. If it does not care, why should I?                                                                  


Changming Yuan, 6-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013), grew up in a remote Chinese village and published several monographs before moving to Canada as in international student. With a PhD in English from the University of Saskatchewan, Changming currently tutors in Vancouver. Interviewed earlier this year by PANK, Changming has had poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry (2009; 12), BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Threepenny Review and 749 other literary journals/anthologies across 28 countries.

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