Winter '22 Issue | 2022 冬季刊
by Barbara Southard
each a small
before our eyes
with ragged plumes
arch and anvil
their changing ways
skimming through air
in vaporous trails.
in a moving dazzle
in their depths
of heaps and layers
on the blank canvas
of blue skies.
Barbara Southard served as Poet Laureate of Suffolk County, New York from 2019-2021. She is continuing to work with the Long Island Poetry Collective to provide Zoom workshops for poets nationally and internationally.
Barbara Southard 曾是2019 - 2021年纽约萨福克郡的桂冠诗人。她如今仍与长岛诗人们合作，为海内外诗人提供线上诗歌工作坊。
translated by PLS
Gurdjieff* on his Fourth Way
walking for a hundred years
(irrelevant to the first, second and third
all human beings, have their own methods)
sacred dances, wedding
reality and virtuality, three reduces to two and two to one
head, hands and feet, are different paths
but the same passengers
（inseparable, walking together
returning home together）
sacred dances, like you can
write poems with the right hand, essays with the other
the modern talents
writing novels with the right foot, and criticisms with the other
light ink in their mouths, dramatising everyone
the dances that unite the body and mind, each one
knows how to enlighten
any gesture, with hand or leg, drilling the wood
will certainly lead to a fire, it will burn
the ashen souls of dry trunks
*Gurdjieff (1866~1949), American philosopher and mystic.
Wang Shengyuan, born in 1991, currently a primary school teacher, has won the Houshan Literature Award.
by Cynthia Chen
A pigeon died outside of my window on a Saturday morning, or a Friday night, or a Thursday. I am not sure. It leaned against a tree until someone noticed it and shoveled it away. There was too much tranquility in its moment of death. The stillness still disturbs me.
Mom once said I had an addictive personality, not in a medical way, but that I’m easily obsessed with things. I started to cease the denial when I found myself writing about pigeons on every page, lingering on the trembles that arose from staring at them while realizing how a dead bird can be more alive than a breathing man.
There was once this woman whom I firmly believed to be a pigeon in her previous life. She was kneeling by the curb eating rice with her bare hands from a stacked paper plate. I felt the hunger demanding and time diminishing into a miniature under inspection.
There are things that resemble eternity, like doing laundry, like waiting to be seated on a Saturday night in manhattan, like mourning or loving, like forgetting, or remembering. Her hands felt like eternity to me, and I thought the world was lacking the exact kind of rawness she held.
People love sharing their darkest secrets at parties. They spilled childhood traumas, abusive partners, and weird places that they have had sex at with strangers. So when I shared that I once dreamed of voluntarily being eaten by a starving pigeon and masturbated inside the warm, dying body, the room went dead silent, but I’ve never felt more alive than in that moment of speechlessness.
Cynthia Chen is a senior at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her works can be found in West 10th journal and the Quirk magazine.
fishing for baby octopuses in the pescadores islands
translated by PLS
I untie your watch strap, so bright
a chrysalis, like you talking to me
as the car races through the tunnel beneath the mountain
cooling down section by section, on
the road shrouded in the smell of pines, the smoking room of emotions
the shadow of a smoking demon
to invent this scenario of a hidden plot that allows one to hide
reminds one of the swaying clouds
the landlocked sea that keeps migrating during rainy seasons
sweet goose feathers and the typewriter at the bay
perhaps saluting in the dark
that’s our mutual kitten
so we still cannot label the position
all of the sands receded
in this joke
have faith in the motherland, and have faith in love
believe me that I can take good care of you in the future
and in the fishing news tomorrow on TV
why once again
compare the history with being compliant
this happens when a dangerous thing
such as following orders is repeated too many times
you’ve got your proper virtues
I have a net, my unrestrained mountain forests
Cheng Yu, a literature graduate currently living in Hangzhou.
by Shawntaye M. Scott
Shawntaye M. Scott is a Shanghai-based creative writer. She has previously been published in A Shanghai Poetry Zine, The Great Human Connection and Tiny Seed Journal.
Shawntaye M. Scott 是一位居住在上海的创意写作者，其作品散见于《Beijing Underground》、《The Great Human Connection》、《Tiny Seed Journal》等处。
要去写好奇 奉献 和羞耻心
there is nothing to write about in a romantic relationship
translated by PLS
need to write about curiosity devotion and sense of shame
or the dusk of a summer
the never-ending road
the lullaby in my left ear and your right ear
waning in the still moonlight
hypnotised by the chants of cicadas
write about the intangible hair
hands that won’t part even
when soaked with nervous sweat
write about right now
standing in front of the apartment building, giant-like
yet still wishing to squeeze into your room
through the thirteenth floor window
breaking the clock on the wall, handle of the fridge, E string of the guitar
empty bookshelf, cat
my skin, blood and flesh exchanging in grains
all of a sudden the water’s boiled, and stopped again.
about my shadow imprinted on the window having already told your shadow about
every little secret in a romantic relationship
yet we are still contemplating on our own on
the last coffee on the table
the last train, razor
and the night lit by vehicles
“I am already back to normal,” you said
“hold on.” I still need to
wear shoes in order to fly away
Spades is a bit too obsessed with puzzles and dreams.
in the years of Covid
by Barbara Southard
There are mornings when blue takes over,
as if nothing else exists but a divine sense
of place on this spinning globe,
then vaporizes into the faint filigree of dawn
when the cat purrs you into wakefulness.
You put the kettle on, grind coffee beans
in a silent house, a chorus of birds
now singing in hazed light, smell
of almost-rain seeping in under the door.