five

 

 

Poem 8



When I was a child
my elders taught me
that there are 24 hours
in each day
But 24 hours is
afterward too
Is a springtime
The flower opened
I look similar to yesterday
Except that I am open
and my petals
are starting to fall
O excuse me!
For a moment
I thought
I was a flower

 

 

 

Poem 9



At dawn
a leaf falls onto the windowsill
I can't be sure
Yesterday
I was a poet
Or
a blossom
or box
of cookies
and today
I am a man
looking at a blossom
on a box of cookies
and the leaf
that now
has come inside
to sit beside me

 

 

 

Poem 11



You do not go to sleep?
Kunming morning
The sunlight is brilliant
In fact
it is so intelligent
that no one can understand it
You ask it a question
in Kunming
but the light
has gone away
to be the late night
in New York
where the answer
is waiting
I tell it
Bare ray
Go to New York
Illuminate my friend

 

 

 

Poem 16



At the time that shoes do not walk,
Whose feet?
The feet go off on their own
Without a body.
The shoes go off on their own
Without feet.
The walking goes off too.
Hey, walking, wait for me!

 

 

 

Shoe Cloud



I the good elephant saw you
resting in the air over the jungle
The spring squats down on the lawn
Ties her shoes
The same shoes the clouds
were wearing last year
Your dream walks into my sleep
as soon as I wake up and
The person who wakes up
No longer is you
The place of waking up is not your place
though the cloud is still your cloud
and your head is still in it
because of your other head
Spring is your other head
Cloud is your other head
China is your other head
You have plenty more heads
Asleep in the dark and deep place
Waiting for the early brain beginning
I the good elephant saw you

 

Contributors

Ron Padgett

Ron Padgett’s How Long was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in poetry and his Collected Poems won the LA Times Prize for the best poetry book of 2014 and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. His translations include Zone: Selected Poems of Guillaume Apollinaire and, with Wang Ping, Yu Jian’s Flash Cards. Padgett has collaborated with artists Jim Dine, George Schneeman, Joe Brainard, Bertrand Dorny, Trevor Winkfield, and Alex Katz. Seven of his poems were used in Jim Jarmusch’s film, Paterson.

Yu Jian

Yu Jian, born in 1954 in Kunming, China, is a poet, author, and documentary film director. He is a major figure among The Third Generation Poets that came after the Misty Poetry movement of the early 1980s. Anthology of Works is a five-volume collection of his poems and essays 1975-2000. His work has been translated into English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Danish, and Japanese. Zephyr Press/Jintian published his Flash Cards, translated by Wang Ping and Ron Padgett.

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