Monday 11 November 2019

5 Poems by Yuan Changming


Having nothing better to do, I kill
Time by looking at a traditional
Chinese painting on my iPad

Much enlarged, it appears like
A plain sheet of rice paper
Smeared with ink. I view it

In the presence of bonsai; I
Drop several thick strokes to the floor
Of history, leaving a few fine lines

Behind the sofa, & failing
To catch a colorless corner
Between black and white

It is a landscape newly relocated
Into my heart’s backyard. Then I sit
On my legs, meditating about

No light in the picture, no
      Shadow of anything, no perspective
As in hell. Isn’t this the art of seeing?

If ever at all, if only once
If you were
     To have such a chance

Just keep driving
    Drive forward
With no need to take a shoulder check

Despite so many beside you
Despite so much ahead & behind –

Along this new broadway, your car
(Like your body or thought)
Will adapt its shape like a stream
Of water running its own course
From past to future, amidst
Programmed sapiens, through
The flow of data

Until at the meeting point
Between yin & yang
                      Between 0 & 1
Between time & space

Loss, Lost, Losing

            Last month it was my cellphone
Last night, my back head, where was
Implanted a wrong chip. & last
Moment I found my mind missing

Going back along the way, I tried
To retrieve it from my rage against
A rude fellow driver. Then in a fit
Of joy about the first child I had.
Followed by a deep regret… until
I got confused between memory &
Imagination, the former stored in
The left chamber of my heart, the latter
In the right.

           When it was over-
Whelmed with joy or bitterness, I
Cannot tell which is my true past
(Or my possible future) as it over-
                   Flows from memory to
Imagination; perhaps, with my protobeing

The two might be somewhat identical, or
                  Other (than) wise (?)

Hocus Pocus

This [bread] is no other than
                                               Jesus’ flesh
This [horse’s open mouth] is
This [word] has
                            A magic power
This [fish head] brings
                                      Courage & posterity
This [fluid] cures
                             All diseases
This [sequence of syllables] drives away
                                                                   All evils & devils
This [ritual] ensures
                                     Good weather & good harvest
This [hat/hood] guarantees
                                             Purity, loyalty
This [flag] leads right
                     To paradise
This [man] is
                       A living god
This [statue, foiled or not] is
This [chip] will transform us
                                                 Into superbeings

So long as man is in his story
All is well that believes well


O yeah! There are still sapiens on Earth. Often do we remember & feel more than proud that only we SuperSapiens exist, we the most sophisticated & most exquisite human-robot compounds. It is true that from time to time we cannot help recalling one or two of them, like Shakespeare & Einstein, but that’s when they pop up unexpectedly from the back of a chip as a couple of forgotten algorithms. Their story tells them they are much more developed physically & intellectually than chimpanzees, while in the heart of history the latter is at least spiritually far more respectable. Since sapiens have proven good for nobody, nothing but a sub species of waste wasting endless earthly resources, how can we rid our planet of them in such gargantuan crowds? -- To genocide them once & for all, or just to wait for their total self-destruction?


Yuan Changming started to learn the English alphabet at age 19 and published several monographs on translation before leaving his native country. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently lives in Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. Writing credits include ten Pushcart nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-2017), BestNewPoemsOnline and publications in 1,596 other literary outlets across 44 countries.

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