Thursday, September 1, 2011

Changming Yuan - Two Poems

Fragile, Archaic China

They listen to you
Which china are you talking about?
They wondered

Which china are you talking about?
You certainly know
If you please… one accosted you
Which china on the rise? He demanded

You are referring to the ‘sleeping giant’ in the east
The fattening hog to be slaughtered and divided
The country with an elephant’s body
But a chick’s heart

All china out of fashion, he commented
Shrugging his non-colored shoulders
But which china? He persisted
Really antic stuff? China made in Jingde Town?
You really like china?
Blue china? Ming china?
Or perhaps Song china?

You coughed in good will
You realize something
China is interesting to see
Only for its long history.

Worldly Affairs (4): A Zeugma Sketch of Uncle Sam

Every time you stage a play or an election in your own yard
You cannot wait to shake hands with your audiences and their wealth
No matter whether it is the passage of a new bill or an old dilemma
You excel particularly at manipulating public will and private property

With your weeping eyes and hands
You keep waging war and peace far beyond your boundaries
While you kill non-Americans and their hope together
To turn all others and othernesses into biblical dust

More often than not, your selfish intentions prove
Much more destructive than your smart bombs
Your invisible fighter jets strike far farther
Than your visible arms of peace effort

You are simply too great for a small criticism
Too super-powerful for a weak opposition
Too democratic for a totalitarian competition
And too single-minded for a double standard

Changming Yuan, author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and co-author of Voices from the West Coast (2011), is a three-time Pushcart nominee who has poetry appearing in Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Carcinogenic Poetry and nearly 380 others worldwide.

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