3 Poems by Yuan Changming

Homelanding

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 there

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



Fragmentising: Another Free Sonnet

To be a matter when there’s no question
Or not to be a question when nothing really matters

To sing with a frog squatting straight
On a lotus leaf in the Honghu Lake near Jingzhou

To recollect all the pasts, and mix them
Together like a glass of cocktail

To build a nest of meaning
Between two broken branches on Ygdrasil

To strive for deity
Longevity and
Even happiness

To come on and off line every other while

To compress consciousness into a file, and upload it
Onto a nanochip. To be daying, to die



Pondering Plasticity

Sure, I would paint my skin
Into a colorless color, & I would dye my hair
Wear two blue contacts, & I would even
Go for plastic surgery, but if I really do
I assure you, I will not remove my native village
Accent while speaking this foreign tongue (I began
To imitate like a frog at age nineteen); nor will I
Completely internalize the English syntax &
Aristotelian logic. No, I assure you that I’ll not give up
Watching movies or TV series, reading books
Listening to songs, each in Chinese though I hate them
For being too low & vulgar. I was born to eat dumplings
Doufu, & thus fated to always prefer to speak Mandarin
Though I write in English. I assure you that even if I am
Newly baptized in the currents of science, democracy &
Human rights, I will keep in line with my father’s
Haplogroup just as my sons do. No matter how
We identify ourselves or are identified by others, this is
What I assure you: I will never convert my proto selfhood
Into white Dataism, no, not
In the yellowish muscle of my heart



Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. Currently, Yuan edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include 10 Pushcart nominations, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry and BestNewPoemsOnline, among others.

Ryan De LeonComment