Poems // Shīpiān // 诗篇

concrete waves
breaking meekly against
the feet of mountains

(Hangzhou)

patches of white blossom
push their way through
coniferous canvas;
the mountain shows its age

(Zhangjiajie)

my hands look more manly
today; older, rougher
as if i’d wrestled the ocean
or carried my world
in them – nomadic traveller

(on a train somewhere)

out of the vat this stony face
butcher lifts hunks of bleach white,
slaps it on the grill and torches
the rest of the fur off. there’s another
on his smoke break, bored out his skull
by whatever it is his phone’s telling him.

the only eyes not yet blank
and emotionless are those
of a golden retriever,
waiting his turn.

(Yangshuo)

teaching ceilidh in the midnight
streets of China, drunk enough
i could be back home all kilted up
amidst a sea of tartan and
familiar voices, but i’m here
just eight of us drunk on Tsingtao
and laughter; rosy-cheeked and
happy, gāoxìng, joyeux, fröhlich.

(Chengdu)

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