Saturday, April 16, 2016

Five Poems by Changming Yuan

Jingzhou Pepper

     Grown in my native place, the ancient Chu Kingdom, where Mao Zedong and Qu Yuan were born and raised, the Jingzhou Pepper is the most tasteful pepper in the whole world.

Too fat
Too skinny
But perfectly in a unique shape
Each is
Just hot enough
To make you
Either a revolutionary like Mao Zedong
Or a poet like Qu Yuan

Last Visit to My Native Village

So, my closest classmate Zhu Zhuogui
Finally died of his old disease
My best work/playmate Siyan
Killed himself with a fat bottle of dichlorvos
Even my first girlfriend Zhou Yeqiong
Is somehow dead; now I find myself
A total stranger amidst my own fellow villagers
And their direct offspring
While the calls of frogs and cicadas
The odor of water buffalo shit
The taste of zahujiao (fried rice with shredded chili)
The tenderness of cotton flowers
And nodding ears in the rice field
Are all as familiar as last century

Divided Soul

Also, my soul has split into two halves;
One still remaining
Within my body
The other flying afar
Like a satellite of our world

While both are singing aloud
Within an immortal entanglement


Sitting on a park bench
You saw a lost crow as lonely
As you were, whose dark shadow
Was fading into twilight, bit by bit

Like your soul
Shredding into pieces
Now drifting along the skyline of
Vancouver West

Departing:  For Liu Yu

Ever since my father's departure, I have found it
Unbearable to see my beloved mother.  Indeed
I cannot stand even to think of her while she cooks
My favorite dishes in the kitchen of my newer
House in Vancouver West, or smiles at my son and
Chats with me over my boyish nastiness at the border
Of my dream.  Indeed, I feel both my body and
Soul tightened, my voice choked with sorrow
And pain, each time this evil thought props up at the
Backyard of my heart:  with my father gone forever
My mother is now living a posthumous life among us
As her aging and fragile life is fading at the edge
Of our wishes and prayers.  Mom, are you still there?

Changming Yuan grew up in rural China, began to learn English at 19, and published monographs on translation before moving to Canada.  With a PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver, and has poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry, Best New Poems Onling, Threepenny Review and 1109 others across 37 countries.

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