Launch Of The Seventh Issue Of ASPZ


My poem Monologue will be published on this issue, that’s the third time my poems have been chosen for this magazine. Come listen to me reading Monologue if you are around Shanghai.

Read the full poem here

Time: 19:30 12th October 2018

The address :July’s Garden. No.4.Lane 71, Huating Road,Shanghai. 华亭路4号,上海




Ho fermo il core in petto.

Non ho timor: verrò!

(my heart beats firmly ,

I’m not afraid:I’ll come – Don Giovanni)


breathe in, breathe in ,

the dust, the smog, the sordid proof of being,

a dose of excitant in the air ,

a whiff of depressant that fumbles my hair ,

Is that how I am ? Is that how I smell?

Is that how I should proceed with my preparation

and advance to my beau de faire?


I see my black suit in its funereal solemnity

I see my bow tie batwinged to a silent mockery,

I do not think the old time remembers me ,

no, nobody sings ever more ,

as spring does not bring back the fall.


I, a sojourner in a strange town,

I, bound with forces that frosted my hair,

see the sun arise from my coffee mug

— each day!

but again, who would ever care ?


my sad reflection approaches in the mirror,

my sad determination voices the horror

the negation or sublimation,

from the man I should meet in one hour ?


I know these eyes too well.

yes I grow older now , each year ,

I speak wearing my heart sincere

on my frivolous lips;

I’ve seen life seeping away through my finger tips,

come ye my soothsayer ,

come and tell me

that the line of life continues somewhere.


It’s time to look at my watch and count

one two three, yes one two three,

should I reach out to the nonchalant door

and open to the falling agony ?


I could have bought a bunch of roses,

I could have talked to the petty peddler

I could have said with a friendly grin

certainly It will be a great year to come ,

to you , to me , to all who wander alone.

because I do not feel cold at all,

I feel the universe spiraling up above

with bits of decay and bits of reanimation

ready at last for the final transformation ?


In all, I am beside myself .

until I breathe myself out and away like

a diminished sound for an emaciated figure ,

will he notice ?will he take heed ?

will he be disturbed by the sweat down my hair ?


Ah, the clock urges me on urges me on ,

time to face my saviour in the throng.


-written 2016 revised 2018, to be published on the seventh issue of Shanghai Poetry Zine October 2018.








Three brooks merge into the distant bay, and off it 

some buildings come into view;

The moon half in her veil spills down her silvery light,

half the bay is lit, and half the world too.


In Autumn’s deep grove, a song is heard, 

a song in its local Wu dialect ,

and my heart that longs for a home , though suddenly, 

remembers that it’s almost time for another full moon.


Note: written on the mid-autumn festival 2018 ( 24th September, a typical day for family reunion when the mid-year moon in full ) in Chinese, in the style of ancient Chinese poems in rhymes, which is difficult to translate into English, well I’ve tried my best where the rhymes are missing, I supplement with clear-cut imagery.

The Bridge

Hovering like an open wound in the air,

the suspension bridge hangs reticent

above a loud river that cuts through the plateau.

A never-healing wound.

Beside it, like a pebble out of an ocean of greenery,

our village stands alone.


It was hardly a place at all in the 1970s

but some rickety huts 

built as a camp for men who came

for lumber, a nationwide need pressing

hard on their shoulders; 

My father was one of them, 

felling trees for the nation. One day,

a rhododendron tree obsessed him.

He built his house beneath it, 

discarding his axe. Nonetheless 

he loved going out in the wilderness, 

whistling a tune

learnt from the mountain wind.

The plateau favored him most; At every full moon,

lost souls from the mountains visited him.

Years later,

he was taken to the end of the morning fog

and never came back.

My mother worked in a power plant, where

she was awed by the electric mystique 

and worshipped the lightning.

An Yi woman taught her to cure with herbs and words.

She saw the symptoms of loneliness

and tried to cure it with fleece flowers.

In the woods tuberculosis caught her

and the breath of demons ran through her lungs.


In 1988, my parents met on the bridge and soon

married there on,

accompanied by lumbermen whose 

swarthy faces surfaced in my dreams

like bodhisattvas.

Then they moved to the flowers 

and gave birth to me.

That day, 

people came to my parents’ hut.

They had returned early from the sloped zone

of the woods above the clouds

and built a bonfire in the yard.


In the early 1990s a strange world suddenly rushed in, 

mercilessly, to the noise of mining machines.

Some withdrew deeper into the protective shade

of woods,

Some, like my parents, adopted a new tongue

and parted with their ghosts for good.

A concrete road was built by strangers 

who tamed the river in their wake.

Still I’d sneak out in the morning

and ride the bridge like a water serpent 

as it swayed in the wind and hissed.

Sometimes I leaned on the beam,

praying flags pirouetting above me, 

while the river talked, sotto voce, 

about men of the forrest, 

A cluster of forgotten faces, elemental now,

all of them…

The bridge was growing old, slowly, 

twenty years of silence.


In 1998 my parents travelled one week 

to a city which would not speak to them, 

or anyone smelling of damp moss.

They put me in a modern school, told me

to forget the ghosts and, secretly,

they returned to the mountain mist.

Several months later Hong Kong returned,

the nation was drowned in joyful tears.

While my mother, making a talisman

for her only son,

cried for a month.

They met only ten years after.

I grew up with the soil of lonely mountains 

and a touch of madness 

inside my veins; at night,

the quiet bridge cradled me to sleep, dreaming

a scratched moon from the plateau 

crashing on me.


Time halted there, locked in a memory 

of the past.

The new world rushed into a busy millennium. 

In the old, my parents were pale, frightened, 

unable to operate a phone.

The cracks between the two stretched out,

like the wound that was the bridge.

At one end were my parents 

and all the mountain ghosts;

at the other, me, facing the great unknown.


I have traveled the vast lands of China,  

looking for a place too late to understand 

yet too precious to abandon.

The wild plateau, polished now 

by a storm of footfalls, 

will receive me to rest,

while I walk with a heart winging high,

on that bridge again,  

where one generation of men walked before me,

towards home…