Archive for July 2014

Wakefield, Where Are You Going?

Kids are riding around on BMXs bigger than themselves,
and they're dodging married couples and
soon-to-be, but not nearly ready, other couples
whose six months together is enough of an indication
that marriage is the way forward.
At the traffic lights, by the music shop
that used to be a charity shop and before
that another charity shop, is a man
in this year's car of the year; he's an Italian looking
man, with an Inter Milan rear-windscreen-sticker
stuck at an angle because he was in a rush that day,
though he's probably from Wakefield, or the surrounding
area at the very least, and he's got tattoos peppering his right arm
in no particular order, though the ones by his
bicep are slightly faded at best so maybe they're
in chronological order.

Turn the corner and there's the teen palace
of large TV HD screens and shops selling percentages
off, though they're still making a profit regardless
of the red price tags and discount website jumbled-numbers-in-a-row receipts-

passing now, and in a rush, is the yellow dress girlfriend
with a left arm of army dedication tattoos holding hands
with her military, brunette number two, boyfriend. Her
brown bag is the only distance separating them before he goes off,
goes forth on another tour.

Albums & Cards

Photographs fade faster as the summers get longer,
so keep the ones you want-
those wedding bell sweet sounding chimes,

those Turkish coastal lines-
pristine, pressed and bound somewhere safe, 
file them and order them in chronological order,
sure up the shelves with extra struts.

It's been done before
and it'll be done again,
but not as well as this,
not as well as them.

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.

Bus Stop Boy

Bus Stop Boy

It's frozen and he's fallen to his knees;
it's less in degrees than it is in
fahrenheit and the light of the
afternoon sun is incandescent at best.
He, and the bus stop, are barely visible and the
battery on his phone is red and in single digits:
the screen brightness turned down and
he's wiping infant tears from the gorilla
glass, scratch proof and now one number lighter.

He's already missing her wide brimmed hat and
her wardrobe that matched.

Starters For Mains

Starters For Mains

The bench outside the shop looks out onto
a day time bar that sells cider to 16 year olds,
and the pothole in the road that divides both establishments
has yet to be surveyed, fixed, driven over and repeated.

There’s a girl drinking a cappuccino waiting for her boyfriend
in the sun at the end of the bench,
and she's a smile perfect for a picture shame no one's
around to take one for her, though maybe a selfie'll
be pencilled-in on their afternoon off together;
him with his awkward pout
and her kissing a cheek she'll remember
over grown up tables at reunion events when looking back
over mistakes made and lessons learnt.

The bench outside the shop looks out onto
bar stools and stilettos, the out of work,
lunch-on-me, women dine themselves with wine and
starters-for-mains because the company card wont stretch to
the all you can eat option, in fact the company card is just her debit and
the meal will be reaped back through expenses once this month’s
rent has been taken.

The pothole in the road that divides both establishments
has yet to be surveyed, fixed, driven over and repeated.