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Manoa 15.1 (2003) 161-164

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Six Poems

Shang Qin

Tree Mid-Tree

the at-the-eyelash tree much happiness
at mid-look, the tree in the fog
at the fog's finger a stirring earlobe
the earlobe's toothgap so the tongue sticks out
the at-the-nose bridge tree true peace & calm
at mid-sniff, the tree amid wind
at wind's skirt hem stirring short whiskers
the short whiskers at the lip so the nose sticks out
the at-the-hairline tree much radiance
at mid-weep, the tree in the rain
at the rain's foot & leg stirring cheekbones
the cheekbones at the temples so the long hair sticks out
at mid-eye there are little stars in the fog
at mid-dew, at the slight tremble
at mid-ear there's a small river in the rain
at mid-wind, at lowered tear
at mid-hand there's fog in an armbend
at mid-hair there's wind in between neck and collar
there's rain on the face
there's dew at the nose bridge
there's a stream in the valley
there's a road at the stream bank
there's a tree in the woods
there's a heart on the tree
at mid-tree at mid-tree
at mid-tree, there's a tree extreme regret [End Page 161]
tree among tree
tree amid tree
that tree mid-tree ha!

Stand Sign

This is just fucking nuts! How could they repaint the bus-stand
sign the color of a papaya? As I reach the stand, shouting, I can't keep
from thinking this. Maybe they only have circular signs like this in the
suburbs. Or maybe, in the Transit Authority, there's a poet.
After all, what comes and goes is not what you are waiting for; the one
you wait for, as usual, doesn't come. I would need only stand this
weary body of mine against the signpost to see in the dark of the eyes
a vividly empty, opalescently new vehicle roll out.
I don't know why the bus-stand sign gets lower and lower, nor why it
incrementally evaporates with my body following, unceasingly sinking
up to my back, touching the horizon line, when at last my beautiful
daughter brings me around by saying: Ba, the sun's already behind
the mountain.

Translations by Ryan T. Scott Nance

Flying Garbage

written on Earth Day, 1998

A gust rises.

First, a piece of old newspaper overturned, yesterday's news, today's history, sent to the other side of the street to be trampled on once again; then a plastic bag with pink stripes, almost transparent, floating up to the sky, brushing the high-rise of Taiwan Electricity Company along the way, people following its stumble with their eyes; now it heads south along Xindian Spring, breaking up a flock of pigeons before it enters the mountainous region of Five Streams, causing a falcon to take flight and survey in alert while avoiding in haste the clamors and sighs of humans, animals, cockroaches in the bag.

The garbage bag continues its journey toward White Cock Hill, vermilion clouds write giant characters in the western sky. [End Page 162]

Flying Tears

Empty mountain, no man in sight.

In the dense fern shrubs, an electric saw growls impudently, squirrels screech among the high branches, bats spread out their fleshy wings, the white tips of their noses tremble more violently than the quaking boughs, the dragon claws of twigs and branches, the phoenix wings of canopies of the trees, all dance frantically in fright, aslant in the howls of the electric saw. Time, one century, three centuries, one thousand years, turns into sawdust dancing in the air. Time, one millennium, two millennia, falls down with a clap of thunder. The past falls down, the future falls down.

Bright green blood flows from the broken grasses. Carrying tiny umbrellas of white down afar to sow seeds of sorrow.
Dandelions are flying tears.

Clover Bombs

A clover that had escaped the scorching sun...


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