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and making magic happen. Celebrating language.

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POETRY OF CHANGMING YUANPOETRY OF CHANGMING YUAN


China Charms: At Zhangjiajie
Photos of Zhangjiajie
China Charms: Visiting the Weisui Lake China Charms: At Badalin, the Great Wall
Rhapsody of Night Sky Lifetime Imperial Impressions: A Record of My Trip to Las Vegas
Double Solitude The Portrait of a Young Mountain Temporarily Floating
Siamese Stanzas: On the Highway Siamese Stanzas: Nostalgia Siamese Stanzas: Social Relativity
Collage of Voices Buoys: 40 Maxims/Paradoxes/Redefinitions Chinese Chimes: The Confession of a Calendar
Spring Sleep Message Unsent Ready for Retirement
Name Changing Human Culture Allenian Dragonmania
Dragon Drawing: A Cross-Cultural Contest Just A Quick Note Diphthongal Quartet
Uncertainty Flying over the Pacific Self-Revelation
Nine Paradoxes: A Word-for-Word Autobiography Will to Allen







China Charms: At Zhangjiajie

Slim, tall and sedate
In the fluffiest garments
Of no human design
Each hill stands like a female model
Trying to display her charm and dignity
As if in a grand fashion show or
Like a fairy maiden at a casual party
Lost in a game unknown to passers-by

Amidst the morning mists
Flirtatious expressions of summer hills
I indulge myself in fits of a lover’s impulses
To give every protruding rock a dry kiss
And every slender tree a huge hug

I cannot help feeling deeply embarrassed
When my allen asks: What are they, dad?







China Charms: Visiting the Weisui Lake

The same kinds of pine trees
The bushes no less bushy or brilliant
The same lines of mountain ranges
As irregularly handsome
The waters also composed of h2o
Certainly just as clear and clean
With even more lively fishes swimming
In leisure, and in this unknown valley

How come it has not become a costly resort
Like the famous louise lake there
At the feet of rocky mountains, for instance?







China Charms: At Badalin, the Great Wall

Among thousands of climbers
Like so many fallen autumn leaves
Drifting up and down along an embedding stream
Names carved with keys and coins
Weathered over days, years and centuries
So many lives have been lost
As witnessed by fewer and fewer worn bricks
Breathless, I spotted a foreign black woman breathing hard
With a pair of shiny crutches
Standing against the darkening sky
How could you manage to come all the way here
By yourself? I wonder







Rhapsody of Night Sky
A cosmic mirror
      Smashed into small
And bright dots of light
Most of them become
So stained with time
Until darkness grows
      Thick enough to glue
Earth with heaven
      With debris possessed
Still glistening high above
Among hardening silences






Lifetime
Between the spring breeze
      Brushing its green signature
On my forehead
And the winter frost
      Putting its fluffy seal
    On my naked chest
Is thus painted my whole life
      On a single rough page
    No thicker than a maple leaf






Imperial Impressions: A Record of My Trip to Las Vegas
07:38am    Through Peace Arch
    even a titan would strongly feel dwarfed
    the moment he crosses the broad border

12:07pm    At Sea-Tac
    sorry to have forgotten to remove my shoes
    to help make this only superpower a bit safer

19:56pm    In the Strip
    every angle offers a memorable photo for the camera
    as each building defines magnificence in its own way

22:22pm    On a Stratosphere Bed
    with fragmented dreams festooned with golden foil
    no poetry can be conceived above slot machines






Double Solitude

if i go hiking all by myself
i would be like a dying elephant
withdrawing from his travel group
to hide its own body in a distant limberlost

if i go to disappear in the heart of the forest
i would act like a living human being
trying to go hiking all by himself
along a much less trodden trail

both with too much loneliness







The Portrait of a Young Mountain
when I first see you
you are nothing more or less
than a muted mountain
      massive, mighty and monumental
a solid thesis statement
made by mother nature

then you seem to grow
      slimmer or slenderer
than your true shape
as I try to translate
both your body and spirit
      into an antithesis of artwork
with my brushes and palette

to authenticate your whole being
i look at you once again
      and find you no darker or brighter
than what you exactly were:
      a muted mountain

a simple synthesis
of you and me






Temporarily Floating

You are the opaque bait
He has put on His hook
To be kissed or swallowed
By certain unknown fish

Many trout are swimming around
You have no idea which one of them
He intends to take out of the stream
The only thing you hear is His laughter
Echoing along the tightened line







Siamese Stanzas: On the Highway
		  		tender 
		  		shines the night
		  		the moon looks
		  		foul and foolish
		  		when dreams
		  		come too close
		  	
on the fairy road				failure to turn right
we drive						we must drive
our newly painted jalopy			farther and farther
with changed tires				straight ahead
no less slowly					in the wrong direction






Siamese Stanzas: Nostalgia
that snowman					bigger than our childhood
we piled						at the vague foreground
has melted						as we try
into sunlight					to find the fine figures
before summer comes			in a vast landscape

				where a crystal glass
				of rich red wine
				reaches out
				returning
				as a cluster
				of emerald grapes
				to the rambling vine






Siamese Stanzas: Social Relativity
deep in an undiscovered mine		under the forked footsteps
the diamond feels sad				of numerous mountain climbers
about its light being buried			the rock is shining with smile

			 		as I stand
			 		at the very center
			 		of a whole universe
			 		so infinite
					its frontiers are 
			 		no farther than
			 		my closest neighbors
					if any






Collage of Voices
...did you
did you sight that
    last night
a miraculous mirage
    of sounds without bounds:
mishmash, hodgepodge-
      jingling, jangling
    tingling, tangling
chitchat, ticktack
      clink clank, claptrap
    riprap, syrupchirrup
hubblebubble, hocuspocus
like a symphony of cacophony
      a cantata by the dead
all woven into a fine line of the mind
    or a colored call
        did you hear that?






Buoys: 40 Maxims/Paradoxes/Redefinitions

Forty years of age means no more bewilderment.-- Confucius


  1. There is light in every dream we have in darkness.

  2. Pleasant or painful, all experiences are as good as cash saved for a long rainy day.

  3. The meaning of life, if any at all, is to create a meaning for life.

  4. All human relationships are merely a matter of words: the situation is always determined
    by how, where, when and what words or nonwords are uttered by whom.

  5. Money is as much a number-play to the rich as a death-dance to the poor.

  6. A house for sale is never a home, while a heart unoccupied is a hotel for rent.

  7. Freedom is the thin distance between the fleeing mouse and the chasing cat.

  8. Love may be 99% honey and 1% money, while marriage is definitely otherwise.

  9. True wealth is measured by the number of times you say no or take a shower.

  10. Birth throws us out into different times whereas death recalls us back into the same place.

  11. One most rewarding self-entertainment is masturbating with the idea of death.

  12. Those who carve their love on their chestbones often fall in love with those who throw their
    love together with their used lipsticks or handkerchiefs.

  13. This is not simply a grammatical game of changing the voice: every man loves a woman,
    but a woman is not loved by every man, and et cetera or vice versa.

  14. Many still very much alive are stone dead; many already stone dead are still very much alive.

  15. There are almost as many animals that have taken off their human clothes as humans that have
    put on their animal skins.

  16. Comedy can come without romance or finance, but tragedy has to do with either or both.

  17. Growth is painful because it means a series of deaths of our pasts, while death can be pleasant
    because it may result from a series of births of our presents.

  18. Misfortune is a peculiar privilege.

  19. In memories, roses always look fresher, while thorns less sharp.

  20. What we see or read has always been so edited that the truth remains only in the mind of history unwritten.

  21. You may have everything except disease or nothing except money.

  22. Humans are different from animals in that they wear garments, build walls, tell tales and eat each other.

  23. Remaining an outsider can give you a sense of superiority, transcendence and peacefulness.

  24. Every life is a work of art; however, not every work of art is a life.

  25. Only those determined to reform others can hope to be reformed.

  26. Art is a bizarre business of dying there or living forever.

  27. He is happy who is not afraid not to be rich, sexual, famous or powerful.

  28. Do some deep thinking about nothing every day, and you will stay healthy, wealthy and wise.

  29. We all have some questions for heaven, but heaven always remains silent.

  30. In this age of information, we are all fish swimming freely before the net is towed onto the boat.

  31. With the whole world becoming so crowded with salespersons, it is high time to invent
    new alien buyers for our hearts and souls.

  32. Good writing comes from the proper author from the proper place.

  33. Political correctness means to see to say nothing as if it were news.

  34. Democracy is a government of, by and for the few most manipulative.

  35. You may have as many futures as new beginnings, but you can have only one past and one present.

  36. Wisdom and religion are different in form but identical in essence: while religion is a ritualized social practice
    of wisdom, wisdom is an art of staying happy without having to be successful in a social sense.

  37. Many stars have already died long before their light reaches our eyes.

  38. Schooling is either an interruption or an intervention of learning.

  39. Mask is the only garment that will never go out of fashion.

  40. Like god who invented man to expel him from heaven, man invented money to drive himself to hell.







Chinese Chimes: The Confession of A Calendar

It all began with an animal race Emperor Jade called to amuse
himself and his earthly subjects...

Rat
yes, i admit betraying the cat as my only close friend
but i won the race, with my head rather than my legs

Ox
to honor my contract with the yellow sun
i eat green grass, yet give red meat to man

Tiger
as the only feared king of the thick jungle
i am afraid and tired of my own timidness

Rabbit
with my cagey ears held so high
i will not miss a sound of peace

Dragon
although my portraits hung lively above the clouds
no human eyes have ever seen my authentic being

Snake
the moment i sloughed off my old slim self
i forgot ever seducing any manhood in heaven

Horse
my body looks more masculine than a strong man
and my heart feels more feminine than a tender girl

Goat
when i bleat towards the passers-by
i never mean to speak in an other voice

Monkey
each time i try to find any lice in the corner of my mind
i act like the humans outside the fence with barbed wire

Roaster
with my wings plumed with the feathers of night
i can not fly but to crow loudly towards dawn

Dog
given my canine camaraderie and pack mentality
i feel at home before, among or behind soldiers

Pig
i spend all my lifetime wisely
to guard this single moment







Spring Sleep


between padded sheets
i envelope both

my senses and soul

and stamp my naked body

with a gear-edged dream

put into the big mailbox of night

and send my suppressed self

far away from home

to a strange place

unregistered







Message Unsent


for five million minutes
that is almost ten long years

i have neither seen your silhouette

nor heard or heard of your voice

but in the closet of my heart

i have been dusting your name

my most pleasant pain

and my most painful pleasure


for myriads of moments to come

be that as long as ten thousand solid days

i will never seduce my hand to reach you

nor even to search your silent site (if any)

yes, it is enough to simply assume

we are still in the same world

although a whole universe apart

your home remains in my soaked soul

and my soul remains your humble home







Ready for Retirement

no, no, a yard sale though
i have been putting up here
since the sun started to sing
but really i am no salesperson
by practice or profession
not even for a single day
(yes, just a loonie for that)

neither because it is beginning
right to rain or light to refrain
nor becasue i have sold out
all my priceable stuff
(no, this one is almost brand new)

but before the curfewed curtain falls
i need indeed to retreat
to the backstage of my life
where i can finally take off
all my clothes, masks and socks
to continue my boyish dreams
to be a poet, painter
or trumpet player
before i go to bed in my home
(sure, take it for free

     --if you really like it)







Name Changing

confucius once said
if the name is not right
the speech will carry no might
so my father created my name
by rearranging the sun and moon
vertically and horizontally
to equip it with all
the forces of yin and yang
dispersed in the universe

since i became subject
to a totally different grammar
all people have complained
or made fun of my name
so harsh and awkward
they conspire to seduce me
to adopt a familiar name
like michael in the mighty dialect

but to retain the subtle balances
in the wild world i wander
to hold my father's sunbeam
with my mother's moonlight
i fiercely refuse to change it
even though i often feel lost
when the sounds i hear
do not sound like my name at all







Human Culture

when i wake up
and open my eyes
i see all my dreams
bounced back from the frames

when i take a shower
and start to sing
i taste my song tart
behind the blurring curtain

when i strive to step
out of my humble house
i feel fences quarrelling hard
in the whole neighbourhood

when i visit around and
do some blind sightseeing
i smell blood stained
along the castle foot

finally i flee from this world
and hide myself far away
i still seem to hear
the glaring cries from the great wall

delicately hung is this earth
a bluish cage in the universe







Allenian Dragonmania

my younger son is the greatest fun
of dragons i've ever known as a chinaman
he could lecture hours nonstop
on various dragons' magic talents
he often insists that in his own room
everything is transformed from a dragon
once he asked me in loud resentment
why he was not born in the dragon-year

on a shiny night with his little might
allen shrieked all his way to my dream
confused, confounded and horrified
before he told me a fantastic tale:
a real living dragon in its authentic form
had thrown a visit through his window
confessing behind his mind's curtain
it had been deeply touched
by the tremendous tenders of affection
my son had made to him in private







Dragon Drawing: A Cross-Cultural Contest

	Even though born blind, each of the self-styled artists declares his or her version to be the most faithful
	representation of the real original Chinese loong, drakon, draco or drake…

The Original Chinese Model
	Paws like a tiger's
	Claws like an eagle's
	Scales like a carp's
	Belly like a frog's
	Neck like an iguana's
	Horns like a deer's
	Head like a camel's
	Ears like a bull's
	Eyes like a hare's

The Western Image
	Huge, scaly, horned, talon-footed, bat-winged, lizard/dinosaur-bodied and
	fire-breathing
        
A New Species
	Paws and claws like those of something between a tiger and a talon
	Scales like those of something between a carp and a lizard
	Body like that of something between a frog and a dinosaur
	Neck like that of something between an iguana and a python
	Horns like those of something between a deer and a bull
	Head like that of something between a camel and a hippo
	Wings like those of a huge bat and …







Just A Quick Note

Sorry
To have
Changed
The lock
Though
I had
Strongly
Wished
There
Would
Never
Be
Such
Need







Diphthongal Quartet
(for children and others)

hi the guy, dye the tie
I to my eye cry and lie
Why to vie and sigh in the rye?

Show or throw, a crow is no foe
No foe would go so very low
Flow the toe or owe a blow

How to tow, how to vow
Allow the bow for a pow-wow
Now to cow in order to row

Bake a cake, make a flake
Brake the snake for wake's sake
Take the ache off the fake lake







Uncertainty

When a deer was born
The sunlight thrilled the whole forest
When the idea looms
What view? A volcanic island

Will be the newly-formed
Mirage. With a morning glow
Trying to land
beyond the mindscape







Flying over the Pacific

From Vancouver to Shanghai
I lost an entire yesterday
From Beijing to San Francisco
My son gained a double today
As we keep flying across the globe
We find our tomorrows
Will never be the same

As between the east and the west







Self-Revelation

A few evenings ago, a monk in orange
Came to pat on my left shoulder
Identifying me in a muted group of
Stranger pilgrims journeying to nowhere
As the one having a doomed heart
Beating like a horse wildly running around
On a clear moon-cleansed night
And assured me I could definitely live
For at least another five years
But no more than ten or nine

The next morning, I conveyed this truth
To my wife, who readily shrugged it off
As just another quasi dream of mine

But I took it as an oracle or miracle
Because right then I became a Buddha







Nine Paradoxes: A Word-for-Word Autobiography

Born to a homeless family from one of China's poorest villages
But now living in the richest area in the world's "most liveable" city

Used to be considered a quasi-dumb boy incapable of talking
But making a living by talking myself to death for most of my adult life

Failed to pass every English test in a remote Chinese high school
But now holding a PhD in English from a Canadian university

A laughing stock because of my bad compositions in teenager years
But now having achieved my family, career and other stuffs through my writing skills

Always living like a puritan doing everything possible to maintain good health
But now seeing doctors everywhere for some genetically-carried on diseases

Desired to live a high profiled life as a political leader
But now living as a totally marginalized recluse

Published hundreds of poems in as many journals in 15 countries
But never won a prize to win over an established book publisher

Dearly loving my family, my country and my fellow humans
But never experienced a sense of being ever loved or even liked by anyone

Possessing a supposedly strong character with a high IQ and EQ
But could not even find a decent position in either Asia or America







Will to Allen

After I die, Son
Wrap my body with my poems
Put all my remains
In an e/cask, and send it
To a site that will
Never be on hiatus

By burying me online
You can readily
Trace my soul travelling
From one living screen
To another
As long as you have access
To the virtual space


Note: Under my influence, my 15-year-old younger son Allen Qing Yuan
not only enjoys reading poetry in his spare time but also has written
and even published some poems without my help.







Photos taken during my trip this summer (2007) --
Zhangjiajie is a world heritage park according to UNESCO,
about 400km away from my hometown.






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