Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Skyscrapers unfolding in the cold night air

Petals of iron bars and green mesh ready to fall away

And you too are what you are, unfolding in the night

This skin, this fragile frame ready to slip off

And let you reach for the sky.

posted by ferret at 1:55 am  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Shanghai at the End of the World

Away from here and far

Where the ocean meets the land

And the sun peaks down

Through the curtain of clouds

Like the iris of an eye

Blinded long ago.


No one will see you here

Where the streets pulse

Against the limits of nothingness

And the windows of the houses

Are shut tight against the rising black.


If you shine here, you can

Only shine like a star

Burning hard and fast

Raging with a fire to stay alive

Raging with a fire those outside

Can never know.

posted by ferret at 1:11 am  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Epigram #15

Learning Chinese in Shanghai:

A shopkeeper insists on using English

To sell me Chinese books.

posted by ferret at 12:45 pm  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Epigram #14

The checkered patterns of these linen hearts

Will ripple in the summer breezes

Dry and fresh, they will wonder how they’ve grown.

posted by ferret at 7:12 pm  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Epigram #13

And about humanity?

We are just not monkeys —

Where you put the emphasis tells the tale.

posted by ferret at 10:18 pm  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Epigram #12

You have to step away from the past

To see that it’s passed.

posted by ferret at 9:34 pm  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Epigram #11

Love isn’t difficult;

It’s actually quite simple,

And that’s what’s so difficult about it.

posted by ferret at 12:34 am  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Epigram #10

Live with the strength of bamboo shoots,

Climb to the sky; affirm your roots.

posted by ferret at 12:30 pm  

Monday, June 20, 2011

On writing poetry

I do not feel bad about writing terrible poetry anymore because I have been consumed by the idea that given infinite (or near infinite) time for the progression of humanity all variations, all possibilities of language have their moment, their genius.


Then I think of history. I think of the change of the world, the atrophy of language, the evaporation of time meaning fewer and fewer people will be able to know that genius.


Aren’t there timeless ideas?

Yes, but they are only accessible to the timeless.


Aren’t you just stroking your oh-so delicate ego? One that could be crushed by a snide remark at some cocktail hour? Or even just the terrible – oh, dare I say it? – mispronunciation of a word while trying to pontificate fluidly on the weather?


Don’t you have your own writing to save you? Don’t you have the internet? It is open (in some locales) and (barring the destruction of the servers that host your content) eternal. Yes, you ARE eternal. Oh scream it out in silences in cyberspace! Here nobody will know about the cluttered events of your pathetic existence! Here everything is neat and straight and pure!


You get ahead of yourself. Relax, poet. Dare to be terrible and perhaps you will make a small contribution, a subtle change in the way that people discuss having a cold or meeting a potential lover or mourning for the dead. This is still the immortality you live for, a glimmer of permanence in this vast sea of change.


But nothing…

posted by ferret at 2:56 pm  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Translation: 无标题的涂鸦

I found this simple poem scrawled on the bathroom wall in a local coffee shop. What most impressed me was the usage of the word “了”. The symmetrical repetition of this character worked well to illustrate the author’s desire to put all of these things in the past. I came up with two translations where I tried to maintain the rhythm and repetition of the original.




Translation #1 (more literal)

Cut my hair

Quit the cigs

Forgot her

Translation #2 (a stretch)

Cut off hair

Stayed off cigs

Swore off her

posted by ferret at 1:35 pm  
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