new zealand electronic poetry centre


Yang Lian

online works



this afternoon is always that afternoon
flowers growing bat-faced    smiling still more happily
hospital windows    like the white staring eyes of the dead

afternoon like a fragment
the perfume of flowers is all around everyone, visiting

ash floats from the chimney    more dazzling still
an angel showing false teeth
holding down the years like holding down a skirt teased by the gale
each laugh    a cruel springtime
another laugh laughter lifts the garden into the air
whatís not invented has no way of being born

those who depend on wounds have smelt
wounds    soaked by rain    split open    spill out perfume

a garden embraces all afternoons
flesh stuck full of paper flowers    paper is the only attire
bones magnificent    crow-black branches gush with buds
conceived as petals in the deep place of the dead
worms rampage beneath the skin
the silence is sweet and rank    is always
roots    that silence after the heartís soil has been raked apart
as every hospital is gift-wrapped by a garden
how bright, how luxuriant are wounds in sunlight

how like the real thing
cicadas drink blood as always    as always
fabricate from an empty shell a laughter with no heartbeat
the still-happier garden is scattered everywhere

dissolving among the shrill cries of bats
the still, secret perfume of the entire afternoon folds the world away
even wounds canít stay    there only remains the obese moonlight
flesh-coloured still    nursing an unbroken    night


© Yang Lian

Last updated 13 October, 2001