Poecology

Issue 2

 

 
 

Nicholas YB Wong

 

An Incredibly Brief Morning Directory to the City

 
 
 
outside subway stations | hunchbacked elders
          gather | wanting not
 
 
the sense on jasper mountains
 
 
but sour newspapers we’ve read in trains
          peach petals float | rubbish sells
 
 
news expires after transits
 
 
there are other skies and earths than those
          in mortal postcards
 
 
how many times have their roses bloomed
 
 
none perhaps | poverty finds its way to populate
          in this world of fair trade:
 
 
selling second-hand papers begets a few dollars
          for a pack of yellowed cabbage
 
 
that they munch for meals like hamsters
 
 
where to have michelin dim sum | how to cross the harbor
          when the harbor’s getting smaller
 
 
so mighty is the creator’s work
 
 
how to tell it’s morning when no one sleeps
          at night | when there’s no window
 
 
where you sleep | in a coffin room as it’s called
 
 
a practical rehearsal of finality
          hair fringed on forehead | face against
 
 
four dark walls | greet the termites and wood lice
 
 
greet this city that has sprung | the year
          is sinking west | over an alien land they roam
 
 
their footsteps silent as all the world thinks only of beauty
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 


Sources of italicized lines:
Li Po, “In the Mountains: A Reply to the Vulgar” translated by Arthur Cooper.
Li Po, “Remembering the East Ranges” translated by Arthur Cooper.
Li Po, “The Ballad of Ch’ang-kan” translated by Arthur Cooper.
Tu Fu, “The Waterfall on Lu Mountain” translated by Arthur Cooper.
Luo Binwang, “On Hearing Cicadas in Prison” translated by Liu Yiqing.
Wang Bo, “Farewell to Vice-Prefect Du” translated by Xu Yangzhong.
Wang Wei, “A Song of Xi Shi” translated by Wu Juntao.