Naming a Nation

featured in the poetry forum May 12, 2010  :: 0 comments

At birth, we were given pet names
In school, we begin to have formal names
For some fame, we choose our own style names
Among friends and relatives, we are known by our nicknames
In the literate world, we use our hao or pen names
While we try naming ourselves with all glory and dignity
Foreign barbarians give us unnamed names:
Mangis, Chinks, Chinamen, Chinkies
Chinoiseries, Nuocs, Shina, Chinees
Ching Chong, Coolies
Even blue and grey ants
And so they call us names
In open defiance against Confucius
Our master teacher, our saint, our sage, our literary god
(O poor guy!) ever so obsessed with the Chinese idea:
A proper name for a proper identity

The Making of a Best Poem

July 9, 2009  :: 0 comments
  1. A: a worthy arrangement of worthless words
    B: a public print-out of private puzzles
    C: a rational repetition of random ravings
  2. A: mailed from a good address, better school-associated
    B: including a good bionote, better award-winning
    C: signed with a good name, better recognizable
  3. A: received by a well-circulated magazine
    B: read by a well-connected editor
    C: recommended by a well-established publisher
  4. A: the magazine is in the right need
    B: the editor is in the right mood
    C: the publisher is of the right kind
  5. A: published in the perfect year
    B: included in the perfect section
    C: presented on the perfect page
  6. A: selected by a poetry lord, somehow intrigued
    B: voted by an expert reader, somehow over-reading
    C: chosen by a guest editor, somehow idiosyncratic


featured in the poetry forum July 9, 2009  :: 0 comments

when I am scheduled to die I shall stop dreaming and play
with a brown bear that lolls and wallows in a stream
and I shall climb onto a tall pine tree in the zoo
and roar loudly like the lion king towards the rolling autumn sky
I shall sit and help myself to a pile of deeply fried foods
With my mouth wide open and make all the eating noises I can
Jaywalking, trespassing and even running a little red light

You can give up your names and masks
And throw away all your clothes and manners
And stop caring about whatever others say or do to you

But we worry about our bills and savings
And concern ourselves with what is going on
Within sight or beyond our living rooms

Perhaps you can put a bit of everything on rehearsal now
And refuse to do whatever you would rather not want to
Since you are scheduled to die shortly, anyway

The Worn Worm

July 24, 2008  :: 0 comments

This is a transparent creature
Gnawing at the tiny roots
Of my withering senses
Before it becomes a chrysalis
Buried deep in my heart’s soil

Then it tries to climb out
Sucking all the fresh dews
Held long in my staring eyes
Before it begins to beat
Its blue wings against the frog

Then it will fly away

The Peril of Watching Too Much TV News
[Written in response to CNN’s misguiding report on the rioting in Tibet, which took place on March 14, 2008]

July 24, 2008  :: 0 comments

If you watch too much tv about what is going on beyond your living room
You go quite mad
That’s what marco polo used to say every time he saw someone
Watching the big well-washed mouth yabaaing in front of a bigger camera
All their reporters and editors, none of them a true fly on the wall
With their freaky bias and nancy ways of looking at others
Selecting and shuffling words and pictures about evil soviets
Demon chinese, civilized lamas, angel-like looters
Humans biting dogs, johns’ caps on jills’ heads, and the deer called a horned horse
All of em juggled and tripping over one another in your little fragile brain box
Well, it’s a bit like unleashing a whole century’s illusions out of the corral
To stampede right over your ears and eyes
All those colored or uncolored lies
Whirling around inside your poor skull
Beating up storms of yellow hatred
So overwhelming you cannot see or hear with your own senses
The real other world which is just the real other world
They claim to be the bars helping cage the most ferocious among us
Yet they are more ferocious than the crowned lion preying around in the jungle
Listen – what I say is
If you believe everything cnn reports about their edited worlds
You go quite mad

Towards a Broader Highway

July 24, 2008  :: 0 comments

Is it an old bumpkin again
Driving a jalopy ford pick up
Unable to speed up on a highway
Or some mrs billionaire sitting behind the wheel
Of a s8000 mecedez
Too careful with her fancy life
Somewhere in the front?

Surely there is no accident
No police patrol or even a red light
You fuck, you dumb shit, why do you
Have to drive so stupid slow
On such a gray Saturday evening?

You dumb shit, you shouldn’t do this, people
eager to press horns on you, to zigzag, to
Switch on and off their highbeams to protest
Against you originating such snail traffic

All of us have to drive at this speed you set
Even tho a red toyoto cannot wait to make love tonight
A blue mac to have a good beer all by himself
And a white shadow to meet her death by the weekend

You fuck, blocking this long single-laned traffic
If only I were driving a crazy tank or a frenzy bulldozer
That I can crash your stupid soul, crush your snail car
And clear the way to my destiny in the twilight

Chinese Chimes: Yin + Yang

July 23, 2008  :: 0 comments

the light soaring spirit…within…the heavy metallic matter
the budding summer dawn…beyond…the withered wintry dusk
the hot and hard sunbeam…through…the cool and soft moonlight
the thin snowflakes…along…the thick ink
the shiny plane…around…the dark dot
the transparent palace…from…the muddy field
the chasing eagle…over…the submersed slab
the boundless southern sky…above…the fenced northern earth
the dry poetic voice…at…the wet narrative pitfall
the male…with…the female
from and towards……the imbalanced balances…

Chinese Chimes: Ch’i, Or the Original Breath

July 23, 2008  :: 0 comments

neither the hindu prana
nor the Christian holy spirit
i am the authentic source
of light and energy
the force of vital life itself
that you cannot see
touch, taste, hear, or feel
but you can always map
my omnipresence
with the clairvoyant tentacles
of your spirited soul

like air, like water
like air married with water
i am constantly flowing
from yin to yang
or to yin from yang
through and around everything
seeking mixed smoothness
and becoming balanced
although in the depth
of my selfhood
contains an infinitesimal seed
ready to grow
into my own antiself

unworldly, beyond words
i do not even have a shape
but I do have a nickname
as lao zi used to call me
am DAO

Harsh Harmony

July 23, 2008  :: 0 comments

the night is tender
the moonlight tenderer
and the water the tenderest
but the mind is tough

the wall is hard
the nail harder
and the hammer the hardest
but the hand is soft

Modern Behavior

July 23, 2008  :: 0 comments

All I want from this life of mine
Is to give a meaning to one line

I wish to publish my work in a world of no air
Where there is neither wind nor sound bare

Like Neil’s footprint first left on the moon
It will never disappear any earth time soon

Should I care more about the viewer’s feeling
Than my ancestor who did the cave painting?