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.

First Ride Home

I was sixteen when the truck broke down 

and parked despondently inside a mountain.

 

It was early winter.

I felt I was tossed into a vortex when the truck stopped with a screeching sound.

The headlamp was still on, like desperate eyes looking hard into a shroud 

of darkness and confused.

No stars, absolutely no stars;

They had fallen into the gaping mouth of the mountain,

waiting to be fished out by the invisible hands of a late morning.

Terrifying silence came, seeping in through the windshield.

It forced into my lungs and grabbed my heart, the stench of the night air.

I gasped.

 

The driver was fidgety, trying to call someone, 

No signal, he said and discarded the thought of rescue.

He was grumbling something unclear while he killed the engine.

His words lacerated the night.

 

I took the sleeping bag he gave me and crawled in, knowing

home was still far, far away…

Or in a good dream.

 

A Fateful Night

I drink tonight, to the city that weeps.

A toast it shall be,

from the lips of a man who loves truly

the vast lands of China.

— she deserves better;

But it doesn’t matter now, does it?

Salvation comes to those who need it not.

 

An old woman by the garbage dump—

A black dog with a severed tail— 

Everyone is drifting into the endless night.

It comes early now.

I Must Praise Your Body

I must praise your body; 

It’s like the earth’s dark soil

spoiled by the tropical sun, redolent of harvest,

I bury my eager hands into your fertility,

and bring out the rich greenery.

 

I drink from your lips the nectar of life; spring

is in your saffron-colored perianth.

My body is burning,

from my loins to my eyes,

the battlefield of virtue and sin.

 

I’m a proud man, broken by you.

The vengeance of love bends me;

The pain of love crushes me;

And forgetfulness saves me.

A Death In The Sun

Man speaks your name like a burning anathema,

and picks up your body where 

butterflies of newspapers circle above you.

 

The yellow sun is in your hair,  the darkened color 

of tamed waters.

The warm yellow sun—

The quiet yellow sun—

 

Your death rides a black van;

Your death, more real than life, comes at five o’clock, 

in a wedding tuxedo.