TEXT poetry


Yuan Changming

5 poems


Towards Taoism

With a storm
With a gull
With your breath

Goes the thought
With a vague vision
Beyond the bogland

With your heart
Hawking aloud in the wild
With dripping blood

An unformed concept
A shoal of consciousness
Bubbling with feeling

With a photon
With a quantum
With your mind concentrated
On a twisted other



Standing straight against the frozen sky
Your skeletons are the exquisite calligraphy
Of the season

Your name is writ

Not in water
But with wind



Among the mixtures of
Seven primary colors, the painting
Gives rise to a swirl
Turning fast enough
To send you up to a little cloud
Like the Zhuangzian Peng gliding through
The serenity of autumn sky

Neither the bird nor you cast
Any shadow down as the earth
Keeps rotating as leisurely
As any other day beyond the black hole

When you return and stand on a
Hilltop, the painting is still
Unfolding itself, but the bird has
Vanished high up into another universe


Directional Denotations

South:  not unlike 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

West:   like 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 wraps new york
            with mummy blue

East:    within 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

North:   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 


Karma Casting: a Wuxing Poem

1 Metal (born in a year ending in 0 or 1)
– helps water but hinders wood; helped by earth but hindered by fire
he used to be totally dull-colored
because he came from the earth’s inside
now he has become a super-conductor
for cold words, hot pictures and light itself
            all being transmitted through his throat

2 Water (born in a year ending in 2 or 3)
– helps wood but hinders fire; helped by metal but hindered by earth
with her transparent tenderness
coded with colorless violence
she is always ready to support
or sink the powerful boat
                        sailing south

3 Wood (born in a year ending 4 or 5)
– helps fire but hinders earth; helped by water but hindered by metal
rings in rings have been opened or broken
like echoes that roll from home to home
each containing fragments of green
trying to tell their tales
                  from the forest’s depths

4 Fire (born in a year ending 6 or 7)
– helps earth but hinders metal; helped by wood but hindered by water
your soft power bursting from your ribcage
as enthusiastic as a phoenix is supposed to be
when you fly your lipless kisses
you reach out your hearts
                        until they are all broken

5 Earth (born in a year ending in 8 or 9)
– helps metal but hinders water; helped by fire but hindered by wood
i think not; therefore, I am not
what I am, but I have a color
the skin my heart wears inside out
tattooed intricately
            with footprints of history




Yuan Changming, nine-time Pushcart and one-time Best of Net nominee, published monographs on translation before moving out of China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include Best Canadian Poetry, Cincinnati ReviewBestNewPoemsOnline, LiNQ, Threepenny Review and 1289 others across 39 countries.


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Vol 21 No 2 October 2017
General Editor: Nigel Krauth. Editors: Kevin Brophy, Enza Gandolfo & Julienne van Loon
Creative works editor: Anthony Lawrence