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Pui Ying Wong



                                    Sign often seen in New York subway stations


Our bags are heavy,
      so much so a woman sits on hers, exhausted.

She’s been lugging batteries,
     bottles of water, masks. Things they say to keep

for emergencies, since one never knows.
      A man opens his suitcase and out flies

a wad of coupons, but redemption
      is nulled by an expiration date.
On the far end of the platform,
      someone reads a collection by Pound. It’s 7:15 am
& PK thought it no more absurd
     than reading the financial times

or the horoscopes. We’ve already said
      too much, our mouths parched

from repeating the alphabet songs
      as our poems sometimes testify.

A row of fluorescent lights overhead, funereal
     or a white siesta?

The woman gets up with her little boy
      who’s quickly a step ahead, hands free.

                   THE MOVING WINDOW

      1.     Postcard From Winter
Snow dulls me,
too much, too long.
It caves like a heart
drained of desire.
In the center is a key. But
it is bent and won’t open any door.
      2.     From the Hotel Window
A crow nosedives
from the rooftop, swoops up
and does it again.
Why when it could fly straight,
be as single-minded
as an ideologue.
      3.        At the Golden-Gate Bridge Bus Stop
The driver yells at the tourists.
“Step up! We got places to go.”
Maybe he is one of us:
restless when rested,
a faithful lover of a moving window.
      4.      Chinese Couplet
My agitated heart tells me I am alive.
When peace comes I listen to the four winds.

          *            *            *
Ancient poets look east and think of spring,
look west and think of autumn.
To my east there is memory,
to my west there is time,
unbridled time beyond which
it should not be my business.
      5.      In Bed Hearing Rain Come
Battalions of arrows, fired by whose
   archers from what other world?
      6.     What Joy Can Be
To be with your beloved in a town
   so small it’s off the map,
to be ignorant of its language and its wars.
To fix your gaze on its whisky-colored sunset,
to not remembering you have a past and a future.
     7.       Late Dance
Memory returns to salvage what it can.
Time trots ahead as if tired of being riffled through.
     8.      The Vanishing City
They can rename the streets, the monuments,
the schools, the parks
they existed in your city
and will vanish only with you.



                                         After Boris Vian

      What for do I live then
For the yellow cake
rising like the sun’s
pockmarked face
For the insignia
unfurled in a torn sail
For the husks in the tides
calls that go unanswered
For the dark foam
glinting in a tall lager
you drink in a dive bar

      pourquoi que je vis

      pourquoi que je vis
For the moon
brightening like a hockey rink
when I walk home
after a swim
The day that loses
its zing to sting

For the beachcomber

wading in the sand
wiped clean by the storm






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