Three poems


He says that foremost

Mao Zedong was a poet,

and knew that all poetry

must at some level

be political, must

incite the reader to rebel

against complacency.

I say that Zhao Zhenkai

wrote as Bei Dao

as the ultimate act

of rebellion, sacrificing

his very identity.

He says that I

am anchored by

the weight of realism,

and I say that he

needs reeducation.

She says that neither

of us will ever write

the just open bloom

of spring’s first rose.


I do some

of my best thinking

he whispered,

when I think

of nothing at all.

Did you know

that if not

for the Babylonians

entire worlds

would be cubes.

In fact they were

for centuries.

It’s like sex

he continued,