Geomantic Riposte: Chinese Blue

Weyman Chan was born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1963, to immigrant parents from China. Chan has published poems and short stories in a wide variety of literary journals and anthologies. He won the 2003 Alberta Book Award for his first book of poetry, Before a Blue Sky Moon and his second book, Noise From the Laundry, was a finalist for the 2008 Governor General’s Award for Poetry and the 2009 Acorn-Plantos Award for People’s Poetry. Chan’s most recent collection Chinese Blue draws on more than two thousand years of ancient Chinese tradition that present diverse philosophical modes of being in contemporary times. Whether it be the spiritual teachings of Kong Zi or Lao Tzu, the military dicta of Sun Tzu or the complex sensibilities expressed by poets such as Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju, Li Bai, Du Fu and Wang Wei in the wake of a tumultuous imperial government, Chan restates these concerns of the past while addressing other “first world problems” in our own contemporary era.

Fred Wah, Canada’s Fifth Parliamentary Poet Laureate, has the following to say about Chinese Blue:

The poems in Weyman’s new collection belie an acute ear and tongue. Beyond the range of thinking “Chinese” and the facts of the biotext is his very incisive attention to the materiality of words – their sounds and where they touch the tongue.

Chinese Blue by Weyman Chan (Talonbooks, 2012, Page 63)

 

Well, it might be that bugs don’t see any gods but themselves, so nothing

would then distinguish them from me. I had to appeal to this one’s vanity—

claiming that instinct was a sad, poor widow of free will. It wasn’t easy.

These days, the wise are distrusted—even hermits. I had no choice but to

wrestle nature. Yarrow and earth grappled me to the mat. Freedom was in

every breath I took. Death lanced me like the sun’s radii. Its light was mine—

as if I’d invented the colour yellow. My wings were—

 

The WangWeifly zoomed away, then returned. His six legs clutched a

tatter of cloud. Embedded in the fluff was a corn seed. The corn seed

was built up of layers of names. These layers of names fell from its

cloud as rain.

 

Geomantic Riposte: Blow-fly

 

If you’re up in Banff don’t forget to humbly acknowledge me for the snow-

fall then keep in mind microscope revelations that we are pretty much the

same dude: a woman from Africa who invented language but Hoth action

playsets did not prepare us for everything - getting to the point where old

school Star Wars mom at Fan Expo gets the glad-eye       tangled up in blue

vigil for blue blow-flies that for reasons unknown remind me of Edmonton

Eskimos in the Buddhist sense flicked away and rolling around on counter

in existential bemusement      while some Idiot Wind told me your fortune

came to you by having a poetry reading at Pages on Kensington while my

life’s over for missing the Mistress of Cosplay who must have walked right

through my novel as old school Wonder Woman       shilling at booth bran

new characters in molten kale numbers heaving quinoa and cornographic

phalluses for local publicity shots as I read grasshopper action in progress

and then like Stampeders in the last few seconds        we would tumble into

gleaming Achillea on your slide     gamecuddling you like Patroclus before

throwing my next wobbly  because that blow-fly missing the catch on the

last complimentary scone is too much to bear     it’s been that kind of day