Thursday, 4 December 2008

Coming of Posthuman Age

Teen boys lilt along the boardwalk
blankly licking pink cones
to make their father feel better.
Though a quiet little lie
it waved so many arms away
setting its aim over the years.
Innocence is a long novel to settle into
like canoe in a lagoon.
The two of us, we, we bought it
and must be ourselves and be good.
Every temptation has its price
and I want to hold the Kilimanjaro I know
even if it's stopped snowing now.
No one is the enemy. Who wouldn’t duck trauma?
After the show is over you drop the other off
and going home alone—tighten the back of your fist
so a mosquito can't budge, then close in.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Faraway on Mt. Yoshino

She felt each pedal of decay deeply.
We spent evenings ferrying snails and catepillars
off cycle paths in the arboretum.
Wherever we turned, the idea of gravity collected its props
but no one mentioned Bagdad;
even reruns of I Dream of Jeannie vanished
along with the space program itself.
Strands of daisies passed hands held for them.
The farther we thought ahead
visitors only folded the when and where
in homage to poets who’d prepared the landscape
not to worry about lumpiness on Mt. Yoshino
or objections from the audience
pushed faraway from any important gathering.
I made it in time with my string and paper cups to tug around
as long as the courtesy holds, the confusion of plum blossoms with falling snow
like the quiet theories of comings and goings,
points of light cratering, twinkling
until enough star-stuff gathers to fire up again
as ditches of eggs overflow in tadpoles
to gather in cups for the kids.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Wordsworthian Matrix

The boys are bouncing basketballs in the foyer
at lunch. Mothers watch daddy twirl one, stepping out of the math
not to lose the Viagra mortgage over a long haul
spilling over into whatever disaster is left for arguments.

Before the slowdown everyone and their butcher
was frenetic for a connection, not just salables
who feed us frenergy, garnering what we might be
had we been handed more than silver linings to fall through with.

Now, no matter how many flavors I’ve tasted
It’s not the same. The end zone is made of lime,
the soil moist with tater-bugs and possum droppings yields little,
pallid sprouts leaking back to earth illegally laced
undoing the slow genetics of glory days
before the law kicked in, patents lifting bodies from selves.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Bag of Senryu 川柳袋

Asaoka Shinji 浅丘真治 (Dean Brink 包 德樂)

Japanese originals with English translations

雑題 miscellaneous topics

The power out, holding hands going to the restroom.

Wearing a suit today, not going to the usual café.

In a lackluster world, how nice to see a thundering old man again.

While searching for excuses dropping bombs.

Though saying “god and country”
privatizing the army.

America can also sleepwalk into a “Dark Valley.”

In gaping holes dug in the desert
planting cherry trees

Sleepless night
meeting the squirrel on the roof.

Topic:「軽い」light (adj.)
Nimbly climbing
on the roof, in the raccoons hands

Topic:「迷う」 become confused
Meeting in the overflowing café, love blossoms.

Topic:「招待」 invitation
with only one of us


Sunday, 12 October 2008

Bait and Switch Rhizomes

Homer’s boss runs the reactor keeping us busy
while hiding hands one at a time in a washing motion,
a Dali machining into the firmament of landscape,
a slow, frazzled battle sleepwalked out of body.
Living gets old and lightheaded,
be the first to wave the white flag
boys off to compensate for better days and cheaper stuff.
Meanwhile, hunters fan out for greener pastures
in the circling food chain, and the sun
makes its getaway in the steady millions of miles.

The sawing by the café doesn’t bother me
as long as they are replacing rotted ties
on the public walk by the river.
I’m allergic to Genesis and cigarettes,
but they have a database I’ve always dreamt of.
I feel at home as long as tea is allowed.
Ongoing yard sales only go so far
and you turn to burning legs of tables
to roast marshmallows and other
comfort foods that are fun to say:
pork chops and applesauce, in the morning couscous.

(Appeared in November 3rd Club)

Thursday, 9 October 2008

You Can Feel It Fluttering By

A service worker at Mosburger
wears her cap low, undercover,
a temporary leg up from a friend
like my life at Fred Meyers
before I could be bonded to be a checker,
just a gopher: rushing pallets of Tampax
to Pharmacy, helping Barbara facing
Housewares, putting toys back in Variety
or gathering a steel dragon of shopping carts
to ride heavy and steady down the sloping parking lot after hours
scaring straggling customers almost getting my ass fired,
but always close to the beck and call of managers and a step behind their advances.

(October 9, 2008, Taipei and Hualian)

Saturday, 23 August 2008


In an earlier age immaculate wives iron sheets
and the hollowing process of laughter sets in to take on meaning
the way gravity is devoted to erosion, monitoring
and waiting for a common penetration, not of the heart
yet sniggering at some level beyond the residual
and found most fruitful or dependable remixed,
appended to us as natural as the edge of night.

Surrounding services are always on call,
whole blocks south of 38th street flagged for service,
flags decorating their homes and cars
foregoing the intricacies of generations for now
and the distance of things from each other.
Now at the cusp of our own foretold passing
the rising, warmer waters hold the earth
together like the hands of a god awash
with anger, the thick atmosphere focusing
the red sun colder and farther away
destroying its hydrogen, while we are always waiting
for the effortless increments of the out there
to wake us with more news to disperse us, going in fear.

(Tacoma, U.S., 2004)

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Solo Linked Poetry (dokugin renga)

The lawn boy frees them,
handfuls of dandelions
and a bucket
Waves leave lines on wet sand –
he pokes down pieces of glass

Soaring and diving
gulls hold flight overhead
drop mussels on rock

Walking through bunker ruins
an elderly couple took our picture

Fallen pine needles
between our toes on soft moss –
the orange moonlight

Edible mushrooms
hang from your hammock

Someone asked the time –
in the afterglow
thinking over your letter

When will you believe me when
I say they are only friends

Tender seeds airborne
weeds take root in damp cliffs
loosen slides

Mist harbors the coast for joggers—
a convoy passes on flatcars

Tossing last week’s bread
to wild ducks, after you left
for Bosnia

Mailman crossing the icy street –
out of coffee, I take the back door

Finally a letter
and grainy photograph—
such a nice haircut

Long nights up reading Whitman—
I’ll meet you at the station

Moon beams move over
the gray kitten by my feet—
crack in the window

Waving my flashlight in fog,
a possum sniffing closer

Tacoma billowing
chiaroscuro, turnover—
each breath around town

The smell of pavement after rain,
quietly draining into grass

Whiffleball batted
to the porch, a kid passes
it back down below

Talking with the former nun
a soap bubble floats in my eye

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Camping on Sunmoon Lake

He said it was all a test run,
next month friends would come for the real thing.
Our camp neighbored the clamor of cranes
dangling over a future gondola site
facing the hotel the dictator hand-picked long ago.
Guards still keep riffraff like us out except at teatime,
but there is talk of sending his long-interned body back
across the Strait. But talk is talk;
who knows, it might draw crowds,
squeeze a museum of tourists in our pockets.
It's the age-old dilemma—when is a friend driven
by necessity, when part of an automated grid
foisted on a polymorphous terrain
by sheer air power, having no bearing on willpower,
and that is where the others gets bogged down
on the periphery of advertised cities
while small shops with backroom launching pads
vie for a modest piece of the action.
The higher the prices the less convincing—
as if the wrong side had been propped up
and our suspicions turned on us before we knew it,
until...any moral fool could see...we had to get back
not only nature, with its solitary footprints
disappearing into another Green Island,
but to each other. Though hard to listen
with the gumption of paragraphs and connectives
interrupting the usual jingles with a smile—
lost in overrun territory drones seal the fate
of any wandering radar blip.
I tried to explain the humanizing wounds
throwing a wrench into the day,
but it was a script and it wouldn't take “no”—
forced me on a march in silence
on my own or find my own way home.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Poems for You (3) -- Long Summer

Can a couple call it a day over a lack of cuddling, rolling away
and leaving the other end ringing?
Some days I’d like to fall in love again
just to sidestep the roundtable that binds us —
we’re as bad as doubles — get under our skins.
Even if we did roll on off
the push-pull magnetism of each trial run wouldn’t last
as more sheaths of bewilderment would be taken away

while we are down here waiting,
overhead the holiday of hands roams high in the sunshine.
Sure it’s not all silly romance in the sense of bouquets
of roses spiced with baby’s breath and peonies —
those come at an even prettier price away from the outskirts
riddled with dim neon and gravel parking lots announcing lone guests.
So many exile themselves to the orbiting Money-Tree
we all try to avoid, always just paying off another addition
like the neighbor’s Methadone, your McDonald’s, my recovering
seas of sadness. Luckily we reside along ear-to-ear spectrums of sadomasochism
come to interrogate our puttering about in involuntary removal of whatever is blocking
the illusion of a highway leading into a perfectly horizontal horizon
with only a haunted anomaly or signs of visitations to guide us,
towers from a taller earth, before the floods came to clear the slate,
new hope and rainbows that even you might like me,
of a mind, drawing nearer an earful at a time, sneaking up this way
with one of us to blame, leading the way or pushed along like a doggy on the moon.

July 3, 2008

As the Moon Sets

Farmers stopped planting Brussel sprouts high in the new sunshine
and sandstone cliffs give way, a new glitch.
No one believes the current
letting us pass only one at a time
to the not-so-secret clothes-optional beach.
It’s not so sweet as is sounds there.
Near the wooded area, mostly men
drink Coca Cola and litter the logs loggers let drift ashore.
We must watch out for Mounties taking the trail
long into summer evenings
when the sun finally sets on the Pacific,
being part of a larger conglomerate
brought us here by way of the Hudson Bay Trading Co.
The locals left their totems standing on the beachhead deep in the park,
an excuse for long romantic walks.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Reportage Notes

By design enjoyable and personal in steps, up-to-date—
a place for brainstorming out of any room
a non-native handshake gesture, fumbled joy,
asides beyond ideas mapping voices to download
to keep the center gratifyingly empty, an other
world nailed down and cauterized
by cicadas by day, bats by night—
things couldn’t be worse
for the influx of harmless ants
though students rarely pick them up
for verbal consultation or have a good excuse
like having a blood transfusion appointment.
No emotions, no purpose besides facts
thrown together to please the form of the event,
no heart as if to care and respond—
pre-witnessed preemptively more cosmopolitan
and distant, unable to voice but a semblance
of the happy wedding, the sad car accident
the tragedy of the poor rags-to-riches-and-back story,
good restaurants along the Riviera, Macao,
sponsors die for, words of important people
objective being through others
and the dust that settles things
in depth, interview all sorts of dire situations
to resist this style—go out and talk with elderly people
which is good for both us and the elderly.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Not a Year after My Mother’s Passing

We are impervious to wormholes of rumor

carving seas, stormy minds adrift.

So many walk free in this state

terrified and posture. We are afraid

and garden. So many besieged

we are survivors. Our conversation

crosses the dead.

I am your eyes.

All is not well.

Send recipes.


Wednesday, 4 June 2008

逝水流年/Time Slip

poem by Dean Brink 原文/包德樂
translation by Min-Jen Chiang 翻譯/江敏甄





Time Slip

After smashing the tablets someone had to dig them up
later to scroll through all the millennial symptoms
and move on in the progress of our telescopes
until long-arriving light undid our darkness,
becoming more than just a movie,
the cave at the end of the proverbial tunnel
for a grand oneness to stub its toe
and the search engines to fan their cards
to dilute whatever us of us made it this far without collapsing.

All we can hope for now is a display of good taste.
But we still leave our toothpick flags on hostel maps
where the teen went down on a refrigerator
for chilled water. Don’t let father see that,
the mother warned. Trying harder, not to offend
callers, let’s recast the working girl a maid;
after all, it’s not about making that point,
any truth serum honing in on more
surely banned—my hands are happily tied
long as someone comes along and feeds me,
puts coins in to make me sing.
Without a song and a bucket where would I be
finding balance in the unwrapping of excuses—
what broke down, how distance is where the heart is?
Speaking of all that, hey, let’s fornicate
while we’re downloading. I know I said
it’s back on the wagon for me
but can’t live without her a rainy day.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

誠如電視所見/ As Seen On TV



譯按:「誠如電視所見」(As Seen On TV)是美國電視節目上推銷商品常見的廣告用語,更有以此為名的連鎖商店,只要在電腦上鍵入這一串字,也可連結至購物網頁,裡面販售五花八門的日常用品,不少廉價劣質品充斥其中。

As Seen On TV

The cat appears besides you as you open a book.
Off the camera it's off the cuff,
the training period seems complete for a moment.
Then you step back under the sweeping cameras of the boulevards
always around the corner, so many sins
to atone for, not knowing where to begin.
It is like in the ancient days, marching as the wheels to a palanquin,
it steers us until we’re rolled off in the shrubbery
and had our way with, lights off.
For years we had an itch and kept scratching it
until she left. Now look what we've done.
In the confusion, the fine restaurants
brought in plastic flowers.
There's only a row of nail salons to show for it,
and the pizza joint down the way
where we can always watch the automatic
piano and its rolls of ragtime.

香蕉共和國 / E Pluribus Bananas



譯按:原文之標題為E Pluribus Bananas,借自拉丁語E Pluribus Unum,意為「一來自於眾」(One out of many.),為美國政府立國之座右銘,自1782年起該字樣出現於美國國璽上,也普遍見於美元硬幣,除了宣示美國是由眾多州所組成的聯邦政府,也意指美國社會是一個種族和文化的大熔爐,每一個體對整體而言都同等重要。此處乃藉其原意諷喻美國意欲同一化世界的霸權思想,也對資本主義消費文化下所衍生的拜/戀物心理多所揶揄。

E Pluribus Bananas

Choosing the right pieces to surround oneself is an ongoing burden.
As you become your friends your furniture must become you,
stand for the real you, and something on each shelf
and wall so the friends feel friendliness.
Then striking poses comes naturally too,
people love you for the real you
and all the clippings and bookmarks to back it up.
These days fashion is brushed metal bending over us
from the steel toes of laboring hours
on up to the finest platinum barrettes on daughters,
yet the clean future foretold in sci-fi misses us,
the very moral impulse to tweak the onrush lost
in a dampening of fun, as focused hording,
while our main product - simple, disembodied gore –
is censored courtesy of servants embedded in a Westward caravan
ticking off each peak of bison leveled to pass further
from memories off camera, tossed
into the much-feared salads of history, kooky beyond all bearings
of automated feelers our men sent out last week,
counting sales and consumer confidence
after the prototypes were rolled out and spells roped them back in.
It’s anyone’s guess who quoted what; what said not important as
we - so far - always duck in in time,
jets angling favorite songs from hi-tech heated toilet seats
so that steering down here finds a modicum of comfort in all the effort.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Disneyland Forests

Rings abandoned the fishermen
as they rowed across the lake.
Soon there would be nowhere to go but home
where friends were hard to come by.
Commercials never mentioned how long
evergreens shadow residents in the season
walling out clear-cuts left high in the hills
to remember as they were,
cash to burn off others' repetitive motions,
seats of balance across climates
circulated over continents so that none of
the collecting plateaus in particular
opened to the winter sun.
Factories would have let some go
they said, so as to keep the keys
so no one thinking of reaching to sustain more
than contours on still waters
where surveyors measure the air
by how far we can see
and plant their galvanized Xs,
lay down the smiles, smiling for the day, divvying
as if the air were demonstrable and the sun was not landing.

Love, Play and Enjoy Yourself

As boys we were quite good,
pooling our chemistry sets,
living up to the president’s idea of going to the moon
so no one notices anyone falling off rocking fears
and the humdrum comes on strong.
TV had just unfolded angels from thin air
in the presence of beehive minds,
aunts patiently waiting in horned-rimmed glasses
and all of California prepared to slide into the Pacific
as if everything were already entangled enough so no one would notice,
dulled by a plot ticking at the end like sparklers held over the bay from a dock,
waiting for daylight to kick open leaf prints on sidewalks
preemptively calling the whole thing off over an offhand cold spell
after Jupiter swung around in line with Saturn
bringing back the old spheres piercing us
as we pick apart the spectrums of stars
and seem to have it made, even those just learning
not to laugh at church with its elongated shadows
for every mouth harp and kazoos we pull from lapels.
But as if the tipsy pastor were a holy fool
working mysteriously with reverse psychology and a model libido
kept corked, his Bunsen burner’s feeble blue flames
were enough a cue to hobble together sulfur and iron filings
into little pellets dropped in test tubes, stashed away
as we gathered the hydrochloric for when the time came,
following the formula for century gases in the World Book Encyclopedia.

Sunday, 17 February 2008


In their minds rickshaws still toe mud,
salts tilt athletic for the gold drive
hardest at bottom highest—
flush to the blank
forging silhouettes in every step
for the blood to bloom again
for the burbs not budging,
blurbs taken curling, aloft
stay, why not… for the suite,
the slim man and window
—hey that's rent—
lights the fuselage
hollows the skies
for a leaven landing
folding down the wind sock
a knock out of brick and walker cartographies.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Ubud, Bali

In Bali tourists overrun hideaways, beering each other in open-air gardens
then following us into empty cafes
as if one of us brought a badge of edibility to the mahogany.
They close in on our friendliness like lines of ants to breadcrumbs
in Hansel and Gretel; one says in a deep French accent
how the tiramisu is to die for,
how she would love to stick her tongue right down into the bowl
but for decorum—but the thought still slips out its crucible;
we’re all plagued by it now, tongues locked in mock hunger
given the high Euro. I hail from Taiwan now,
where we smile a tad more like locals,
barter to the last rupee and usually eat in local eateries.
An Aussie at the Internet café talks up his poverty (at home)
as an excuse for the frown motif, in charge, swiveling armor.
No one cares. The seriousness bursts
only in taxi drivers waiting too long for a gig.
A man my age in an azan cap eyes me
as if my friendliness meant I’d stolen something,
though I came with friends and have no interest in his women or men.
I want to be Moslem just to make him feel better,
but it is a Hindu island and I leave it to him to work it out—
maybe join me—in leaving America to the dogs,
lost causes, ideas that broke after too much petroleum,
old habits from bachelorhood and later nightmarish fads
like edible underwear, Pop Tarts,
or the convenience of quickie marriages
to make thinks all ok again
after Barbie walked by.
The world is smaller in the worst ways.
Laundry wires in from any hard drive.
The cameras have even made it into villages
with broken open sewer covers still to get to.
In the meantime, the general says now’s no time for elections.
Don’t worry; he is fine. Everyone should be so
important and watch the waiting,
build their gait up as well, more panic
and a gathering entourage to do things
while we work on our lists
when no one is at the nails.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Goodbye Old Friend

Goodbye old friend. I’m faraway now
and you still reach out with words to clip me and steer me
like a father with no wisdom, only fears
yet prone to pontification, a faux pas these days of ridiculous men.
Try making a muscle of your biceps or standing on your head,
anything to turn things inside-out for laughs.

I’m tired of pretending to hold your mind together
as it leaks memories that would destroy everyone I love.
You don’t need my pity; you are full of it.
Like a bomb that has been diffused by the rain,
your voice no longer sings. Blame the world,
say I am older, out of touch, be grandiose,
more spite. Time is always waiting
like a father, but I am faraway
now, goodbye old friend.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Not to Wander

If you breeze into a new town
new spirits breathe into you
and the longer you stay the deeper they burrow,
until you are praying at their altar
and find love after all.

If you turn it away and go on to the next town
the love will breathe you in
faster than the last,
quick to take the depths burrowed before
and yank an echo in the gut
pulling you back to the altar, vacated now,
all the demons soured
and pouring in.