Ale Trail

Ale Trail

ale trail low dip rooftops
sink a little more in the sun,
the spun wooden beam bending arches
hold up pint tables and wine tasting couples,
but not this bunch on the train.

the lost lotus tattooed man,
symbols on his forearm,
is a military man with charity bands
around his wrists. His partner's summer jump suit
lumps on the floor of the carriage, chewing gum clad
and muckied with dandruff mud from the soles
of old souls; flakes of turf a carpet for her hem.

at the back, and keeping quiet,
are the nicotine teens tucking into another
nicorette, a trendy alternative to the Wrigley's
we all remember.

the ale trail low dip rooftops sink a little more in the sun
as the train ploughs on a little quicker than timetabled.

What Happened To Flight MH17

What Happened To Flight MH17

all we know is that four Russian men,
each wearing their own set of purple rubber gloves,
are carrying a family man off of a field of maize
to note him down and give him a label later on down the line,
adding him to the maze of lost names and cancel-
the-phone-plan phone calls going to be had by
distraught cheeks and dry eyes.

Remember When There Was A Borders In Leeds?

Remember When There Was A Borders In Leeds?

It's when the backstreet cut-through-ginnels
of hide and seek and first kiss corners
become just another diversion to work,
or back home, or to their house warming, to his 26th,
or to their baby shower for a baby yet to be born.

It's when the bus routes and train connections
that once made you a teenager wiser than your wildest years
become just another winter bleak nightmare,
late to work apology, the second that week.

It's when the Borders in Leeds and its four
floors of paperback cd singles
got bought up and turned into a one floored
Poundland, where the only cd singles were
PC games from 2003 and the paperback books
were washed up Titchmarsh how-to-garden novels
now down to 75p.

It's when that tree, the tallest one in the village,
got cut, chunked and chipped into bags
to make way for two new houses instead
of the one perfectly good one that stood there before them,
that I thought it's time to change the address of my bank
and find a new dentist and leave for another place that isn't here.

Wetherspoons On A Wednesday

Wetherspoons On A Wednesday

On Wednesdays, on the warm days,
Wetherspoons open up their patio-pavement-windows
to let the draft beer drift out, and the railings
are up, concreted in so the punters stay in a little longer,
with their threadbare wallets and loyalty card schemes
tucked at the front in front of their bank cards and various licences.

Because Aquarian visionaries all need a place to drink,
as do the cut-out-coupon regulars that flock in,
so do the girls in leather dresses with
their khaki boyfriends in tow like mooring rope thrown over and tightened to hold.
Noose-necked skinny jeaned lads arrive early to make the most of the before-five-lunchtime deal,
the college collective waste an hour with sour shots and pints,
resigned men in suits and proper-shoes unwind with empty glasses and safe-for-the-internet free wi-fi,
new staff join the old staff ranks of glass collectors and button presses
whilst the trained-up managers take an hour off from their no work at all work.

Marpole Rain - Changming Yuan

Marpole Rain - Changming Yuan

Marpole, Vancouver: for Liu Yu

It rains a lot in Vancouver
Often does this rain remind me of
The days when you sojourned here
With my family, after Father left all of us

While walking in the rain, you would
Recall, under my big umbrella
How you once waited in a drizzle
With me in a broken basket on your back
To cross the widening river, not far
From our village when I was crying hard
For a large spoonful of flour soup (you were too
Weak and too hungry to produce any milk)

Seeing you do nothing about my hunger
The ferry man asked, Where is its mom?
I am his mother!  You replied, tears rolling down
With the raindrops on your childish face
How old are you then? – Almost 17.

It is raining again in Vancouver, and beyond this rain
Your voice echoes aloud on the other side of this world

- - -

Changming Yuan, an 8-time Pushcart nominee, grew up in a remote village and published several monographs before leaving China. With a PhD in English, Yuan currently tutors and co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Since mid-2005, Yuan’s poetry has appeared in nearly 900 literary journals/anthologies across 29 countries.