in my dream: my mother

there you were
in my dream
as young as you were
when I was a kid
and you said
you were letting the past
but I could not
release it
I reminded you
of that Chinese restaurant
you always took me to
on our yearly pilgrimage
to Macys
during holiday season
then you smiled
as you faded from view
and my eyes
turned to liquid
and my heart
melted away

a fantasy: for Alex somewhere on the coast of California

I’m sitting on a train
going from one city
to another
in Italy
and a woman sits opposite me
wearing a blue dress
barely touching the knees
and heels
a scarf draped casually
around her slender neck
crosses her legs
leans back in the seat
and begins reading a novel
by Jose Saramago
The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis
in hardcover
in English
a sad smile lingers
on her lips
she stays intent on the book
not her cellphone
like so many I know see
and there I sit
rereading The Gospel According To Jesus Christ
and our eyes meet
just above our Saramagos
and words
which will come later
hang in the air
between us



with a nod to Cyrano de Bergerac

I send my heart out
wrapped in tissue paper
a bow on top
the emotions spring forth
a river overflowing
these feelings I have
when your image appears
on the street before me
the way your eyes shine
when you tell an amusing story
the tilt of your head
when in conversation
your smile when you dance
your bold assertions
leave me without air
to twist and turn
unable to express
what must remain unspoken
and thus reduced to words
my inner character exposed
in what I write
in what I do
but never in what I say
I speak through fictional poses
to the one who exists
in my mind
hoping somehow you’ll hear
the song in my heart


In The Middle Of Summer by Alexander Shurbanov

even the river stands still
The fiery rose–
a crisp cutout in the quiet air–
looks like a drawing.
The pears–
drops of golden sap
under the boughs’ green overhang–
as though they will never fall.
And my heart–
joyful and calm
like the midday sun–
far from rising
or setting down.
The honey on the lips–
still glowing
in the middle of the road–
a brief taste
of immortality.

translated by Ludmilla G. Popova-Wightman

Would you take a knee?

from the blog Rangewriter


In my rather compromised memory, there was a time when about the only time I heard the National Anthem was at the beginning of a rodeo. Then of course, I was exposed to other sporting events, like high school, college, and pro football. And of course the anthem is prevalent at the international competition of the Olympic Games.

The Anthem has the ability to move me to tears. I confess that I bought into the old-school notion that Francis Scott Key wrote the anthem to honor the bravery of our young armed services in their battle for independence from England. In addition to the imagery of the flag waving amid smoldering ramparts, the song also takes me back to that time in my youth when my pony and I tried valiantly to keep up with the big horses as they snaked expertly around the dusty arena to the rousing Stars…

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hope realized

it’s like walking underwater
one is tired
even before one begins
but there is this image
just out of reach
that sustains me
and though for every two
I lose one
I keep moving
like a lens
that keeps focusing
I am drawn forward
your face before me
the light in your eyes
a promise unspoken
hope realized



Untitled by Li Shang Yin (translation)

another translation from the Chinese of one of my personal favorite poets Li Shang-yin by Mary Tang on her blog Life is But This

Life is But This 命

Last night’s zephyr last night’s stars

East of the bedecked pavilion west of the hall

We have no wings of the phoenix to fly as one

But our minds conjoin as the mystical unicorn

They played hand games as we warmed our spring wine

In the red of the lantern light they competed in teams as

I sighed at the sounding of the hour for departure and

Rode through the wilderness on my horse to Lan Tai

(c) Mary Tang 鄧許文蘭 2017



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