Self-Documentation: a Bilinguacultural Poem

1/ Authenticity of I vs 我

The first person singular pronoun, or this very
Writing subject in English is I, an only-letter
Word, standing upright like a pole, always
Capitalized, but in Chinese, it is written with
Seven lucky strokes as , with at least 108
Variations, all of which can be the object case
At the same time.
                                 Originally, it’s formed from
The character , meaning ‘pursuing’, with one
Stroke added on the top, which may well stand for
Anything you would like to have, such as money
Power, fame, sex, food, or nothing if you prove
Yourself to be a Buddhist practitioner inside out

2/ Etymology of Human & 人

Since I am a direct descendant of Homo Erectus, let me stand
Straight as a human/, rather than kneel down like a slave

When two humans walk side by side, why to coerce
One into obeying the other as if fated to follow/?

Since three humans can live together, do we really need
A boss, a ruler or a tyrant on top of us all as a group/?

Given all the freedom I was born with, why, just
Why cage me within walls like a prisoner/


Naming Game: A Documentational Poem

Call me Chinaman; call me Kung Flu
Call me Chinese Virus; Call me the
Spy; Call me model minority; Call me
Yellow Peril; Call me Disease Vector;
Call me Ching Chong, Chinee, Chink
Chinky, Chonky, or whatever else you
Like or whatever else you love to invent

If only you would forever remain superior
Continuing to dominate the planet, main-
T(r)aining your order; If only all your true
Troubles would vanish before God wakes
Up in his heaven!
                                 After all, it must take
A name to make me as visible or invisible
As you wish me to be, while me remains
I with all these & countless other names


Yuan Changming edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include 12 Pushcart nominations & 13 chapbooks, most recently E.dening (Goldfish Press, 2022), as well as appearances in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1949 others. Yuan was nominated and served on the jury for Canada’s National Magazine Award in the poetry category. Currently, Yuan is working on his first novel Edening. See Yuan in issues Three and Nine.