Five poems by Yuan Changming

Monologue of a Famous Family Doctor in Vancouver

yes, as you all know, high is my profession, even
higher is my office, and the very highest is my income, though
my family name is low, my medical art is lower
and my mind is the lowest

but oh my lord, no longer do I remember
the exact wording of my oath
(that may well contain
the phrase ‘relieve suffering’)
but I am still keenly aware of
my ever high-sounding profession
which I had to lie to enter in the first place:
I volunteered at nursing homes and
community centers, not because
I really had a loving heart, but because
I needed that to be impressive
on my resume, on my application
to the prestigious medical school

now often do I claim to cure everything
though nothing in reality, I pretend to be
nice, polite and caring, thought tired of all that
I never put my patients’ health before profits
not because I fear to be black listed
but because I think I deserve more than I gain

let the patient get sick, better bleed
so I can give pills or send them
to hospitals, where my partners can
get at him, with knives or more pills

 

Confession of a Police Officer

Father, I know this is not a proud thing to do
But I really enjoy hiding myself
Somewhere in a dim corner
To catch a poor guy never known to us
Changing lanes without giving a signal
Speeding a couple of kilos over the limit
Attempting a left turn under a yellow light
Or simply looking unlikable to me

You know, father, it is always safer
Always more fun and more comfortable
Always bossier, and certainly more profitable
To give a stranger guy a ticket, a handsome fine
Than to catch an evil devil , an armed robber
A cold-blooded murderer, a violent drug addict
Even a drunkard costs me more skills
More brains, more guts, more strengths

It may be a bit too cowardly, too mean or wicked
Too ruthless or mischievous on my part
I know, but we just cannot help it, father

 

You, Too, Have a Dream

But you will be sad to depart from us tomorrow
At an antlike moment in the smallest space
Where you will become used to singing aloud
With a throat wider than your belly, the song

Of a frog with only one tone and one pitch
A song about your dream flowing with leeches
In a ricefield. Yes, you will have a loud dream!
You will dream of humans who will no longer

Try to catch you, skin you off, barbecue you
Or eat you alive as they do with their own
Species; you will dream of jumping
As high as summer stars, and as rapid

As winter winds. You will dream of
Equality, equilibrium and equanimity
Yes, thank his Song, thank God Almighty
From human catch you will be free at last!

 

The Fat Fabulous

easy-going, they
gab; they
grin; they
giggle; they
guffaw; they
gossip; they
gyrate; they
goof off; they
galumph; gooey

 

Unidentified Female Outcry

I is a female
I is a coloured minority
I is disabled
I is a 100% naturalized voter
I has many years of volunteering experience
I speaks the official language without a foreign accent
I comes from a much less privileged family

But why am I not chosen yet
For the position
For the fame
For the prize?

..

Yuan Changming  currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan in Vancouver; credits include ten Pushcart nominations, the 2018 Naji Naaman’s Literary Prize, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Threepenny Review and 1,479 others worldwide.  

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