We had so little
one set of uniform
and a pair of sandals
pencils short like cigarette butts
canvas shoulder bag full of patches

But we had colorful candy wrappers
bamboo sticks and string
to make kites
into a hope filled summer

I still remember him
stick skinny
swimming in this hand-me-down shorts
bare foot skipping on the hot tart road
launched his rainbow kite
into the tangerine sky

We cheered so loud
drown out the sound
of the foraging birds
We had very little
and we had it all


This is written in response to Denise’s Six Sentence Story word prompt – Mess.

That was probably the hardest video call he had to make, the ambience filled with a sense of dread.

“I decided to take the teaching job offer and stay in Berlin”, he launched straight into it without delaying the blade.

Silence, absolutely silence, then her eyes welled up, then the screen went blank, clearly, she hanged up.

Then the text came, “Obviously, you have made up you mind. I have nothing to say and no strength to fight for us anymore. I wish you all the best and I still love us, but that’s the past .”

After sending the text, she let her tears roll down like a waterfall sitting in the waiting area of the abortion clinic; what was a decision to be made, now is a conclusion.

From the soundbar, Ami Winehouse is singing, “…love is a losing game, one I wished I never played, oh what a mess we made…”

Siblings from The Same Root

Four trunks from the same root. Photo by Cassa Bassa

This image reminds me of an ancient Chinese poem titled Seven Steps Verse written by Cao Zhi who was one of the sons of Cao Cao, a well known Chinese statesman.

The poet uses osmunda and beans from the same root as a metaphor for brothers who share the same father and mother, and accuses Cao Pi (his brother) of brutal persecution of himself and other brothers. The tone is euphemistic and deep, serves as a reminder and advice in the irony.

Here is my attempt to translate this well known poem.

Seven Steps Verse

The beans are crying
in the heating wok
while the osmunda is burning fiercely
to fuel the cooking
Aren’t they from the same root
Then why the torture
to cut lives short



恋周庄 (In Love with Venice of The East)

Zhouzhuang, Venice of The East, China


time is invalid
the world is far away
soaking in the long river of history
feeling close in one breath

The poets before me touch my heart
like a bright moon
drunk in the evening twilight
mesmerised by the still water
like a mirror reflecting my rest

The incense wakes me up in the morning
Cooking smoke brings on my tears in the moist morning mist
Nostalgia for the peace and quiet there
as I silently miss you

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