Poetry / March 2017 (Issue 35)

From "Wuhan in Construction"

by Alistair Noon


Ah Wuhan is loud. Yesterday, sesame noodles.
My friend, whose father's in the army hills,
mother command the birth control battalion,
explains the inner voice. Beijing it whispers
"Win more power". Guangdong it murmurs
"Make more money". Shanghai it tell you
"Build more towers". In Wuhan you cannot hear it.

I have a pamphlet from the library, from
Association for Cultural Relations
with Foreign Countries, Wuhan Branch. You see
the No. 1 Blast Furnace burns through picture,
the Heat and Power Plant's aggregators live.

Yes, River Coral. March it is ten years.
Once she listen laugh three hours on the phone
to woman boss make her insane. Could you
repeat that? She is very sincere and
can do the snake. I report her each day.


Happy New Year. I have lost two bikes.
The Flying Phoenix flew on New Year’s Eve.
I bought a new one. End of New Year's Day
already gone! I have decided taxis
want my support. That day I ate bitterness.

Could put the heater one bit up? It’s colder
south of the heating line. I always wear
my thermal inside too. I made my student
take off their jackets to be their help
to practice haggling. They made their deals fast.

River Coral continues to be ill.
I may have passed it on. I think she bought
an old bike deliberately, can the tiger.

OK I will retell our last time story.
The thief heard the old woman say "So now
we've saved enough our daughter have the op."
He put the forty thousand kuai back in
the box. From that day on he's always good man
and never stole again. About my bike though.


I learn my morning phrases. Read and see
No. 2 Coking Furnace. Electrification
of the entire photo. What happened in
Culture Big Revolution to Association?

I feel your happy silence hiding but
enjoy your saying. Do not let bike theft
spoil your mood. Not bad! Give it some oil!
I wish your beautiful wishes early realisation.
My understanding has increased. Hearing
about it one hundred times can't compare
with seeing it once. Skill will not evade
the determined. Sympathise with weak people.

Teaching helps teachers and students alike.
You are the influence on me. Thank you
for the lesson. River Coral sends regards.

 Alistair Noon's most recent publications are The Kerosene Singing (Nine Arches Press) and Surveyors' Riddles, a collaboration with Giles Goodland (Sidekick Books), both from 2015. A pamphlet, Quad, is forthcoming from Longbarrow Press in 2017. He lives in Berlin, where he works as a translator.
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