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Transparent Poetry

Here's a poem
from the center of the world:

The swimmers at the surface
cry for more, "More poetry!  More!"
They want to be torn into small pieces
           and scattered in the wind off bridges.
They chant, "Desire, desire, desire.",
between half a snack
           and a sip of coffee.
In their offices,
nothing moves of its own accord,
           the air conditioning sucks oil from the earth,
           the lights flood James Bay,
           and the computers never sleep.

Mountain lions prowl the reservoir villages.
The seasons have collapsed.
We bring mass murders to the New World and beg for peace
            as they feed on our horror
            as mites feed on dust
                      on the floor,
                      in our beds,
                      on our eyelids,



In a Minute

In the early morning,
in silence as sleek as black silk
and the day a low roar on a distant shore,
I dreamed I threw a branch of cherry blossoms
on the running track of the Reservoir in Central Park
and announced, "This is art!"
as the runners running never broke their stride.

Thinking they must be right to ignore me,
I ran too.
I passed a car dealership where a daughter and mother
are red in the face from running to the bank and back
for money to buy a car after
the dealer threatens to sell
to someone else in a minute if they don't put down cash.

On wakening,
I don running gear
and run to the Hudson esplanade and north beyond the pavement
to the end of a small dirt path.
I decide to cross the Parkway - six lanes of streaming cars.
In a minute, I cross the southbound lanes.
But the traffic north is so steady,
I cannot cross for half an hour.
From the median,
I search the faces of the drivers
for a single look of mercy—
a lone Hasidim man,
a Puerto Rican father with his family,
pairs of Black youth,
lone women glancing down absentmindedly.
Finding none,
I remember being stuck here forty years ago
between traffic north and south,
hoping for a sign of angels in the sea of streaming faces,
and realize the hearts of the people in my city
haven't moved at all.



Ten Mils Thick

I have to let work go
and criticism too
to hear
the heavy plastic sheets on the building
men are constructing next door
flapping in strong wind.
they will be done
and I will hear the flapping of the plastic
no more.



Winter Pond

I see a pond in winter
frozen white,
surrounded by rushes,
bearing the weight of blades and children
who make ice dust as they skate
and peal with laughter when they fall.

Last month is the only February
in New York City's weather history
snow did not fall.

The barricades warning of thin ice
on the pond in Central Park
sit on the banks unused.

I see a pond in winter
frozen white.


Han-hua Chang (a.k.a. Brandywine), a member of the Overlook Terrace Poets, has published numerous poems on the web.
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