poems by Changming Yuan

A Love-Thought: for Qi Hong


This yearning burns my marrows into itchy bubbles

Till… my innermost being evaporates

With the hot air of feel

As stupor overwhelms me

As if hemlock I have drunk

Or meditation that has carried me far away

While my thought sails with the wind

Like a ferry boat left empty

Swinging by itself in an evening storm




The Lawn Looks Lush: for Qi Hong


The lawn looks lush & fresh after last

Night’s rain as he imagines her going to bed


Across the Pacific. He browses avidly online

Mostly in his mother tongue, imagining her sleeping


Against another hot & humid night in Zhuhai. He reads

Poems sent to him, imagines how she would touches his big


Forehead like a wanton when they meet. He does stretching

Exercise in front of his tall window, imagining her hair falling


Like autumn leaves in his neighborhood. He eats wudong noodles

For lunch, imagining the hometown dishes she will cook for him alone


He goes to pee after taking his nap, imagines how she may rise to greet

The morning glows, imagining him getting lost in his imaginations about her




Whale-Drawing; for Qi Hong


He sent her a photo of a whale splashing back

Into the waves of the Pacific, asking her to draw

A picture to use as his wechat head image. &

For a long time she had no idea about how

A whale’s call could reach as far as a thousand

Miles, even beyond a whole continent, but

Only to be heard & understood by a fellow

Whale at 52 hertz, much less about how its tail

Looks like ‘Y’, the letter his name begins with, &

The title of the best poem

He has ever written

Until he tells her how he has been a human-whale

Swimming lonely against the currents of life, &

How she’d better portray him as Mobi Dick’s relative

Returning to the wild of the sea, with her pencils, in

Her eyes & heart, & how to avoid copyright issues




Returning to Hometown: for Qi Hong


1/ Jinzhou, October 7: an Episodic Sonnet


After celebrating your father’s birthday, you

Went out of your way to see my mother in

Jinzhou as my shadow wife, rather than in

Any other dubious capacity. Though you

Stayed there for 15 minutes only, you left a

Handsome red envelope containing all the

Filialness of a Confucian son on my behalf

Indeed, I may not survive the Pandemic, nor


Might she hold long enough for me to cross

The Pacific again, but your ad hoc visit gave

Her the best comfort from a daughter-in-law

Yes, she felt sorry she did not take a photo with


You, but I assured her to commemorate the

Meeting in a foreign language as she wished


2/ Zhuhai, October 8: a Lover’s Stone


No, no, no, you should not have had a thief’s

Conscience when you went to see my mother

On my behalf, for a heart-stealer is no thief

In the first place

As for the gift of a big stamp

Jade, it was given not to you alone, but to both

Of us, which you can cut into two, one to

Carve into an artist’s seal for you, the other

A poet’s signature for me. More important

From the same piece of jade, they can produce

Gold-like artworks, if used together

Like a philosopher’s stone




Atmosphere for the Recovery: for Qi Hong


1/ In the Climate


Longing of love is a climate of heart

A definition by degrees

Warmth sweating into serenity

Lines of thought bloated into starkness

As if our whole worlds have been woven

Into the one & same artwork


2/ Empty Your Lungs


Exhale hard

Exhale every bit

Of darkness

In its gaseous state

Like the malignant cell

In your lungs

Until your feel is burning with desires

For a fulfillment of lighted air, then

You will feel fresh & lighted

As if gaining a new birth inside out




For Qi Hong: Setting off Once Again


How come I seldom dream, you once complain

But before returning to Songzi, where we grew

Up together, you did have one, & one in which

You run after me to catch a last bus at twilight


You ask me to interpret this dream, hopefully

Like a fortune teller or Freudian psychologist

& all I have to say is it is an auspicious one

For any fast moving vehicle in a dream means


A solid progress in life. Given the way I led you

Closely hand in hand, we’re meant not only to join

Truth in a Platonic relationship, but as a true

Couple eager to get onto the bus to happiness




Towards Reunion: a Periodic Sentence for Qi Hong


At a fairyfly-like moment

On a bushy corner of nature

Preferably under a tall pine tree

In Mayuehe, our mecca or the hilly village

Adjacent closely to the bank of the Yangtze River

With myriad tongues from my hungry innermost being

Each eager to reach deep into your heart, where my soul’s

Fingers could caress every single synapse of your feminine feel

Between the warmth & tenderness of love, across the Pacific & the Pandemic

I’ll join you


poems by Changming Yuan

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