by Kurt Cline
“They have a saying where I’m from,” she tells me
(referring to Tainan, in the south): “Lovely face: unlovely fate.”
She with her calloused worker’s hands & gentle Kwan-Yin smile.
There are many fates follow us down the road I suppose
And many fearsome faces. Maybe I could save her
Maybe she me But now I must wander
To a fate I know not what
To make amends one last chance
& leave this one upon whom gravity
Has left its lasting imprint. Who always thought
I was so smart. “Really???” she’d inquire.
As arm-in-arm we navigated the underground metro station.
Spikes on the walls & everybody’s
Ready to explode Bomb always going off somewhere
All this devastation impossible to understand
My own mind a time-bomb nevertheless
Maybe she healed me in spite of myself. “The simple life,”
She always said, “is the happy life.” She with the job
Of a day laborer while I a college professor
Summers off to write poems—this might even be one of them—
And generally engage in arcane research
Yeah I could show you the stunted homunculi in my alembics
Voluminous treatises philosophizing how bitter a human may grow & how distorted
Unable to get up from his chair & wondering if this
Is or was the present or the past. Or which would be best.
And even if I must leave this uneasy tropical amusement park
Even if tomorrow I depart… words here pray
For this dignified lady of disrespected circumstance
May she find that simple life And the dignity due her
Give her something (someone) she can love
She would sit by me while I read a book—
Seemed like we were so different
“Maybe someday you’ll write a story about me,” she said.
God Bless You, Yang Li
You could see in his eyes he
Wasn’t the same. Flying back
Wasn’t easy the rain came down
Tapered off continued its onslaught
A man feels like this inside
Wanting to talk to someone
A shy man
Bright as the sea
To have her
But where is the world?
Thoughts are thunderclouds
Seen out the window
The world is long things moving fast
No one can see how it looks.
When they are left alone with themselves
People begin to understand. Enjoy
The sunlight & see how it is
Out there are lovers making it
Better for the ones who don’t.
A kid on the train looking at him
‘s’if something out of a cartoon.
Times are lonely. People do care.
The world isn’t a lover it’s a friend
A bent wheel that just keeps rolling.
Those who understand know
It only gets better. The world to turnaround
The world. Today isn’t the same day.
A good time to hear. New history to play.
There are so many ways
Make the sun a little happier
In the sky. Look up! It’s on its way:
Car pool around the nation.
Moon-rise silvering the sea.
In sign-language we parted.
Thanks for this life!