Hocus Pocus

This [bread] is no other than

Jesus’ flesh

This [horse’s open mouth] is


This [word] has

A magic power

This [fish head] brings

Courage & posterity

This [fluid] cures

All diseases

This [sequence of syllables] drives away

All evils & devils

This [ritual] ensures

Good weather & good harvest

This [hat/hood] guarantees

Purity, loyalty

This [flag] leads right

To paradise

This [man] is

A living god

This [statue, foiled or not] is


This [chip] will transform us

Into superiors

So long as man is in the labyrinth of 

Stories, all is well that believes well

Mahjong Marching

When a crow chats with another crow intimately, or a dog writes poetry on my frosted lawn, can we still see ourselves as humans capable of ‘modern behaviour’?

hongzhong (Red Middle)

While my mind tries to find a way
Out of the labyrinth
Walled with thick feeling
My body is left behind, wandering
Like a headless fly flying around
In a vast desert, another labyrinth, unwalled

facai (Prosperity)

As the whole world keeps running amuck
in its thin and pale dreams drifting like mists
I stand still, watching in dark stillness
Afraid to awake and shock
All the dreamers at midnight
To a shameful death

baiban (Whilte Board)

Since my parents hurriedly
Put this yellowish ticket into my hand
I have been trying, trying really hard
To catch the right bus
Running fast somewhere
Before it expires shortly


Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving his native country. Currently, Yuan edits Poetry Pacific (poetrypacific.blogspot.ca) with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, eight chapbooks & publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1,609 others across 43 countries.

Cover art credit: Photo by Martin Reisch on Unsplash