Zhang Yuan

It crouches 

              deep in the garden.

 

A bizarre phantasm in a still

aluminum jungle;

 

A wound where

memory 

            flows and stops 

the air, thwarted 

by the refracted light 

             of modernity.

 

A hundred years—

worms, 

            wars, 

humans,  

            guns,

emperors

            paupers  

built

           demolished

re-built

            preserved now

in the name of a billion RMB

gentrification.

 

The same, 

its terracotta redemption 

when time confiscates the iron-trace 

of humanity.

 

*Zhang Yuan, or the garden of Zhang, is a renowned residential house built early of the last century in West Nanjing Road, Shanghai, now an area for bars and cafes.but news comes this garden will soon be demolished for a new shopping mall.

November, 2018

The sad blue sky’s clear dusts grope their way down 

toward the city,

The asphalt roads glimmer like ice.

Red lights dim, like eyes deprived of sleep, 

trying to understand the great mystery of the morning.

                      

An old man stands at an empty phone booth,  

looking at his map

on which a thousand places are marked,

                                                   with no names.

His walking stick dangles on his arm, 

a compass uncertain of the south, where

the sun throws a shadow.

  

Soot-colored silence,

a black cat,

jumps into an open window, the curtain tied back and knotted.

An army of houses stand vigil on the first day 

                                                   of a lunar winter 

Car Crash On Fuxing Road

I came out from the subway, 

a sense of loss 

began 

to surround me.

People gathered around the exit, 

did not give way.

I hardly knew them, 

I did not understand 

their dialect.

But some words, like birds

escaping 

a horrifying storm,

came to me 

with the sound 

of Death.

 

It was eight in the evening,

rodents began to crawl on the street;

Cameras perched on a branch

and blinked.

A police car 

parked like a corpse

beneath.

A Winter Prelude

The red-brick wall shines like a giant lamp post 

when the grey sky drops down, almost touching the earth.

The parasol trees seem to bend and break under 

such a weight; listless leaves hang like flags 

that announce a final defeat.

 

The sun shuts off its droning engine and looks away 

from thick leaden clouds.

Along the boulevard men walk in packs, looking,

almost huddling together, 

for the warmth of a man-made fire.

 

Winter comes too early, rubbing its nose

on the windowpane where frost begins to gather, eating its way

through the aluminum frame.

The door is shut tight , inside the quiet room

a thin chrysanthemum half-blossoms.

 

It’s not the end of a life circle, this seasonly change,

nor is it the beginning for the less fortunate.

Another breath of the wind comes to all either way,

only colder,

bringing another form of transformation,

if not with a rose, with a dagger.

 

But the silence that hovers above this city is louder 

than the talks of many smart men, 

who see the great enigma of life in the cafe 

where black espressos are brewing.