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Changming Yuan


A few evenings ago, a monk in orange
Came to pat on my left shoulder
Identifying me in a muted group of
Stranger pilgrims journeying to nowhere
As the one having a doomed heart

On that clear moon-cleansed night, my heart
Was beating like a horse wildly running around
As he assured me I could definitely live
For at least another five years
But no more than nine or ten

The next morning, I conveyed this truth

To my wife, who readily shrug it off
As just another quasi dream of mine

But I took it as an oracle or miracle

Because right then I became a Buddha

Keeping Hands Full
You are always grasping, my friend
Says my therapist
You must learn to let go:
Whenever your hands are not full
You want to get hold of something
Or indeed anything
Now a bird in your left hand
And a bunch of flowers in your right
Thats why you are unhappy all this time
Because you do not have more hands
To grasp more things
Like green backs, purple ribbons
tall titles, soft sex and charming children
If you empty your left hand to catch the ribbons
You became unhappy about the departure of the bird
If you put down the flowers to take the greenbacks
You feel unlucky about the loss of beauty
But if you let go
Just let go
Whatever you are grasping
You can get happiness whenever you can
Since your hands are free

Secret Spirit

for years I sought light in darkness
with my eyes open wide as my mouth
I called, I sang, I prayed, I pleaded
for rays that might come down from above

now I seek darkness in light instead

with my ears closed tight as my eyes
yet I cannot find a shred of my soul's
shadow, even in a midnight dream

Changming Yuan, 3-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman who published several monographs before emigrating out of China, currently teaches English in Vancouver and has poetry appearing in Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Cortland Review, Exquisite Corpse, RHINO and nearly 400 others worldwide. <>