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Guest Writer: Poems by Changming Yuan



Here is the persistent pursuit of a bone chip
Hung right above the nose of the ravenous
Dog as it runs amuck, as well as another

Pursuit of an exotic seed by the west wind
That keeps blowing to catch, to throw it
Into the voiceless reality, and another pursuit

Of an innocent deer trying to gain an inch
Of freedom from the claws of an African lion
Or the pursuit of the sun by the legendary Kuafu

Who ran all the way along the Yellow River
To the very edge of the world, for a reason
No one has ever been able to tell, even today

And here’s another pursuit of a thin whim
Shuttling around like a crazy owl in the jungle
A pursuit of a shapeless cloud in a forgotten sky

And another pursuit of quasi happiness you yearn to
Embed into the frame of a painting like Munch’s Scream
The pursuit that can be transmitted onto a colored screen

Like yin always trying to join yang, or vice versa
In a parallel universe, the pursuit of metaphors
Behind the thought, now more persistent than ever



walking around
around the corner of a back lane
I used to carry my African identity
as carefully as if it were a big piece
of glass, through which I could see
others or myself, only if I chose
to do so, but on a hasty afternoon
I tripped down, and
smashed it into hundreds of
small and sharp pieces; since then
my shredded selfhood has become a big
public nuisance, a traffic hazard
as it glistens glaringly under the sun, cutting
tires or human feet, from time to time


[black beauty]

coal, ebony, charcoal
crow, graphite, lactrodectus
chinese hair, african skin…
what do they all have
in common? – they are not
a color; rather, they are an absence of light
which becomes weaker and weaker
as stars keep moving farther and father
away from us

filled with light
within their dark shapes
they are quiet, but cool
solid and profound



Not to overstate this
But for hundreds of times
I have imagined myself
Leaving for the Congo basin
Like a dying elephant
So that I can bury myself there
In total obscurity and oblivion
As if I had never come to this
World. Yes, I am really haunted
By this suicidal whim
Not because I am tired of
Suffering from this unbearable
Loneliness, anxiety
That makes me a living dead
But because I long
For that ultimate dignity


[quit it tonight, jesus]

Come on, jesus
I know you are always busy
Writing your program for
All the lives in the universe

Admit it that you
Simply hate
This code monkey
Business of yours; why

Not quit it tonight, but
Let each fate write its own program
Why not come out of your little castle
Walled with biblical pages?

Bored as you are, jesus
Why not just quit it tonight?

Poems (c) Changming Yuan

Changming Yuan
Changming Yuan
Changming Yuan, a 9-time Pushcart nominee and author of 7 chapbooks, started to learn English at age 19 and published monographs in translation before moving out of China. Currently, Changming edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver, and has poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, London Magazine, New Coin, Threepenny Review and 1219 others across 38 countries.

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