By Yuan Changming

Speech Acts: Another Lesson in Chinese Characters

说 /shuo/: to say is to make an exchange in words                                                                
语 /yu/: language is defined in terms of what I say
课 /ke/: a lesson should be learned by talking about the result
谎 /huang/: to lie is to throw a remark from the wasteland
论 /lun/: to argue means to speak in a logic way
议 /yi/: discussions are utterances about isms
读 /du/: reading entails commenting on what’s sold
记 /ji/: to memorize is to talk to oneself
诺 /nuo/: promising means talking against many an if


Even in this very moment                                                                   
                                                                                                My mind is full
                                                 Of struggling presences
Such is
                Always the case:
                                                                              The moment its door opens
It is infused with                                               whims & wishes
I stop to squeeze out
                                                              Each bubbling perception
            But it always returns           in a deformed form
To occupy the vacated room
                                                              Which has held part of me
You long to become mindful
                                                                         Of a spiritual vacuum
                                      Yet it never allows for
The briefest moment                                             of emptiness


While the iron
                           Is hot. Cheers
While we have
                           Wine to drink
Speak out aloud
                           While our throats
Are not cut yet
                           Keep eyes open while
The butterfly passes
                           In sight. Wait
While the best
                           Is yet to come
Water the flower
                           While it is still
Fresh & tender
                           Reserve a seat
Up in heaven
                           While the dream
Continues. Take 
                            The Way, & feel
Happy while
                            Our hearts beat
With hope 

Yuan Changming edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include  Pushcart nominations, poetry awards as well as publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17),& BestNewPoemsOnline,among others.

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