Poetry / December 2017 (Issue 38)

Three Poems

by Simon Patton

LOVERS, DOGS, ETC. (Cheung Shue Tan Village 樟樹灘)

Love walks the lovers down the hill with practised elegance until—
aiya! it looks like an insect got her right in the eye
(they've got me too this way and no doubt you as well . . .).
There, she's fixed. They walk off again down the asphalt road,
that dark patch there banana trees actually by daylight
still busy with small fruit this time of year (Autumn).
I say hello to “my” dogs like signposts along the way:
the timid one that lies in front of careless traffic—
canine death-wish (I think to myself)—home-life must be bad,
and the wicky black one with the black tongue to match
his friendly bad manners.
I'm always moved by the endurance of these creatures,
their doggedness (sorry . . .),
patient through endless rounds of gates, locks and fences,
all the human words for NO! banging in dog-ears.
(o, the lovers have just turned off — why do I always take my eyes
off the lovers?) Here's the giant grape-fruit tree (the tree itself largish)
on the corner that smells of shit worse somehow after dark.
I say a few soothing words to the mutt in the Plexiglas kennel,
the one that gives me that gitouttahere growl every time
(I'd give me that growl too cooped up in such “space”)
and there looms home unlit on the first floor
above Mr Yeung's flat with those two glaring door-gods
pasted squarely before me on his glass sliding-doors
to ward off evil.

Hong Kong T-Shirts
Hold On for Just One More Day • Liver Pool • You Make My World • Hippy This Is
A Highway • Bird Will Sing • Change Your Life • No Kiss You • Love Earth Happy
Smile Away • Love Is Reading Between The Lines • More Respect Less Attack •
My Othera • Future Dreams Make You Impressed • Hello Who R U? • There Is
Only Now • Tackle Fine Today • Bum • Black is the New Black • Don't You Blame
Me • Free Your Spirit • Raw • Peace Only The Warm Glow • Zoo York
Unbreakable • People Fahion • Coinpocket • Live It Real • Hong Kong Marching
Band Services • Inside A Brain A Sound Break • Another Happy Ending • We Not
Me Courageous • The Dull Flame and Desire • Elaborate Preside • Girls Just Want
To Have Fund • Again Enemy • New Hope for Pepper Addicts • Clothes are
Genderless • Life after Life • Green of Tree, Law of Nature • Little Things I Found
in New York City • Never Surrender We are Arena Radicalize and Anarchy •
NOTHING • Resc Uer • Has Never Been So Fucking Strong • Whitebeard Pirates •
Waste is a Terrible Thing • 我♥人類 [I Love Humankind] • Evangilization • To
Make the World We Must Make Ourselves • Forget I'm Holding Mr Smith • We
Judge a Man's Wisdom by His Hope • Simple & Neat • Real Life Real Memories
Captured • BOUND • Light Up Taiwan • Nature Green Earth Air • Unique
Happiness Ferris Wheel • Cheap Monday • If You're Rich I'm You're Bitch • Music
Makes Everything Possible • Tokyo Atom • Full of Chemical Activity • Sentinel
Rock • Yeezy over Jesus • Life is Frail • Tired of Tokyo • Sun is Here • Soul
Assassins Intermission • Think Other • Green • Everything Deserves a Why •
Don't Know Don't Care • Universe • Enjoy the Little Things • Save Water Save
Life • I Am Your Father • China Time • It's Not the Content but the Style and
I'm Content with My Style • Thanks for Listening • No Worries System • I Don't
Believe in Good People • Soft Punk • Hackers! Your Country Needs You! • Native
Mind Sensitive Vibes • DARKSIDE • A Day without Laughter Is a Day Wasted •
Dance in the Raw • The Life is Beautiful • Into the Future Passion • I Think
Therefore I Am • Cheerful Mediocrity • Save the Earth • Stop Right There • I Like
Biscuits and Beats • Forest Creature • Never Hide • US Streetball • Jump in the
Pool • Giffel Tower • Killer Cross Over • Jab Awok Keez • Being Replaced •
EXPLOITED WORKING CLASS • FingerX • Apocalypse • The Immaculate Heart •
Donning the Night • Read My Lips • Joyful, Joyful • Conquer Your Demons with
Love • Strive Not To Be a Success but Rather of Value • Thinking Too Much
Causes Problems • Dickies • Find and Pick Future • RAZZ • Be As You Wish To
Seem • Recognition Is a Great Inspiration • Lift Heavy Shit • AFFLICTION •
Beverly Hill Meditate • Nostalgic Telephone Bell Ring • Just Mess About • Jolly
Roger of Piracy • Change Alone Is Eternal • Coffee Cup • DAYDREAMING • Young
Trendy Sunny • Steal Like an Artist • Get Out of Your Own Way • Is It Friday Yet?
• Girl of the Playground • Sing through the World • All the Earth Peace • Live
with the Boss • Ramage • End of the Trail • I Love ODF • Jaws • A Long Time Ago,
in a Galaxy Far Away • Your Bad Portray • WONDERFUL • Try To Fight Emotion •
Rebel Lion • Castroville California • I Have More Friends than You • Ache Studios
NY • At Once Laugh • SAME SAME • College Wind, Eastern Camel • Dry Bath
Occupation • If I Tell You I Have To Kill You • Peace, Love, and Party! • Jucy Judy •
Boring Pug • SENSATION • Art Is Knowing Which One To Keep • War Is Not Over
• Perfection • Unicorns in Love • We Accept Life Is Beautiful Good • Eat Sleep
Recycle • Neighbourhood Madness • Too Busy Having No Ideas • The Flow of the
Gentle Mind • Aliens in Action • Don't Bite Me • MARVEL • It's a Brand New Day
All About


i. 社壇 Shrine of the Earth God, She Gung

Outside a gravel carpark near 上璋圍 Sheung Cheung Wai,
I sat unhumble physical tallness
down on my haunches next to a low shrine
dedicated to the Earth God. Though no incense burned,
yet the atmosphere smoked
with an earthy, unearthly tranquillity
extinct in me. Opposite,
a hostile enormous truck, licence-plate 粤 ZH539 港,
predictably shattered the awe of inaudible peace with the legend
(Guangdong Zhenning Transport Company).
On a small plinth inches high
at the back of the shrine, two rocks—one irregular
and patched with a gilt talisman of paper,
the other roughly conical and stippled with grey lichen—
indicated the presence of the neglected 社工 She Gung,
a presence magnified in my damaged attention
by a resident bauhinia tree.
Despite its withered foliage,
the purple homage of its heavy scented flowers,
more sensual than sandalwood,
more dispassionately rational than logistics,
filled my lungs. Transfixed I watched
kite-like petals plunge through uneventful orbits
into the gleaming mud-brown water
of a deep,
weed-and-rubbish-choked channel—
vestige of the ponds that surrounded the Pagoda in its heyday. Feelings
I could never have experienced first-hand in my living
infiltrated thinking like random,
stray bubbles from the sedimentary depths,
appearing momentarily on the surface of the pool
before vanishing once and for all
when their skin-glass membranes
irrevocably burst
on the outskirts of a mindscape’s stagnant concentration.

ii. 古井 Old Well

Hexagonally, through the smooth six lips
of a granite-like stone, this mouth of the Old Well
gapes inwards over two hundred years’ thick silt,
commemoration of our birthright to displace
ever-ready outgoingness. Gagged
with a hinged metal grille specially welded for the purpose
(at last we have learned to leave nothing
to chance) it speaks
now to the closed mind
and to those who lie heavy on the outside of themselves—
in a murmur fainter
than the hushed undercurrent breath makes—
of existence in excess of the half-hearted surface. Dive,
it says, and fly—in the unshoreness
no map dictates direction to.
But before I am carried away by some remnant power of a geomantic aura
out through heavily unsentimental sediment,
the rim-stones' cold sober stare
chills still for the time being all idle, well-wishful thinking.
For the time being.
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