Two Poems

by yuan changming

"Clopener" by Jonathan Reinert |  ISSUE FIVE

"Clopener" by Jonathan Reinert | ISSUE FIVE



Standing straight against the frozen sky
Your skeletons are the exquisite calligraphy
Of the season

Your name is writ

Not in water
But with wind

Karma Casting: a Wuxing Poem

Believe it or not, the ancient Chinese
5-Element Theory accounts for us all.

1 Metal (born in a year ending in 0 or 1)

–helps water but hinders wood; helped by earth but hindered by fire

he used to be totally dull-colored
because he came from the earth’s inside
now he has become a super-conductor
for cold words, hot pictures and light itself
          all being transmitted through his throat

2 Water (born in a year ending in 2 or 3)

–helps wood but hinders fire; helped by metal but hindered by earth

with her transparent tenderness
coded with colorless violence
she is always ready to support
or sink the powerful boat
                      sailing south

3 Wood (born in a year ending 4 or 5)

–helps fire but hinders earth; helped by water but hindered by metal

rings in rings have been opened or broken
like echoes that roll from home to home
each containing fragments of green
trying to tell their tales
                 from the forest’s depths

4 Fire (born in a year ending 6 or 7)

–helps earth but hinders metal; helped by wood but hindered by water
your soft power bursting from your ribcage
as enthusiastic as a phoenix is supposed to be
when you fly your lipless kisses
you reach out your hearts
                      until they are all broken

5 Earth (born in a year ending in 8 or 9)

–helps metal but hinders water; helped by fire but hindered by wood
i think not; therefore, I am not
what I am, but I have a color
the skin my heart wears inside out
tattooed intricately
           with footprints of history

Writer's Bio:

yuan changming, nine-time Pushcart and one-time Best of Net nominee, started to learn English in Shanghai at age 19 and published monographs on translation before moving out of China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver; credits include Best of Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17), BestNewPoemsOnline, London Magazine, Threepenny Review, and 1,319 others across 40 countries.