changming yuan | five poems

Y: Yellow Musings

Gold, lemon, butter, rapeseed flowers:

Pre-positioned, you function to lead
A whole column of evils like the peril
Bastards, bellies, dogs, fish, guts
Journalism, heels, even men and pups

After words, you will become as noble
As imperial, as royal, or as Chinese
As the color itself. That’s the difference

Between a noun and an adjective
Between Chinese and English


If you could, would you become a fish
That can swim, freely in the water, but without
Being able to touch the horizon? —I don’t know

If you could, would you become a whale
The king of the ocean, the ocean of words
For instance, the most powerful? —How powerful?

You wait for all other words to feed you
Like planktons, or swallow other fishes like similes
Metaphors, because you are big. –Yes, very big

If you could, would you become a blue whale
Whose calls and songs can reach afar, far
Beyond a civilization? –Who can hear me then?

Manipulating the Time

If on a Sunday afternoon
You really have nothing
Better to do, try this:
Fold every quarter of an hour
Into an airplane, a rocket
With the front page
Of new york times
Or china daily, and set it off
Far into the twilight before
Headlines begin to fade, complaining
About being bent, the same old stories
Crying out of pain, and all the innocent
Words falling apart, like children
Bombed by a killer monster flying by

You Were Born

Beside an old thick y-shaped poplar stump
At the foot of Mount Big Wok Top
In a village, on the other side of this world

You were born in a jalopy Ford pickup
Whose driver was a stranger to your clan
Who had had too much of a horse’s urine

Among ashes of an unknown nuclear war
That had destroyed a whole civilization
Based on antimatter, anti-electrons, anti-souls

Actually, you were born in a growing bubble
Rising from the bottom of a lake, like a new idea
Floating on the water, as invisible as your breath

From under a rock protruding into a vast field
Full of wild poppies, where autumn whistles
Aloud, as if to greet heaven, you were born

At the Vancouver Harbor

Fully loaded with feelings, some
Thoughts are approaching, slowly
Others waiting at a close range
And still others sneaking away gracefully
From the seashore
All like bulky barges

Except a few whims
Looking so deplorably
Small in figure, but keep
Creating fierce foamy waves
On the windless evening, as they
Shuttled around
Like tugboats

Changming Yuan

5-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013), grew up in rural China and currently tutors in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan (Poetry subs welcome at Recently interviewed by PANK, Yuan has poetry appear in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Threepenny Review and 730 others across 28 countries.

0 Replies to “changming yuan | five poems”

  1. A fine sequence of poems Chamgming Yuan with a facile
    ease of literary gestures freely descriptive and glowingly
    euphoric and metaphoric of nature.
    BZ Niditch

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