Buying Fish in Southern China: New Poems

Buying fish in Southern China

Tanked, dull green
Bellied up, eyes like autumn
Window panes, water thick
With mud

A Romanic cosh
You gasp in the bag
Thrash amongst selected

The chosen wine
Dying only moments later.
Held steady between my feet
Waiting for the bus
To arrive


18th floor in Jinan 

Sulphuric air
Where below us
Towers peak
From clouds

Neon revolving
Like circuses of color

Turning to the bathroom
You wash the soot
From off your hands


Spring Festival 

My neighbor bleeds out
A duck in his yard

Wings beat
Like cymbals

Then nothing
But the sound
Of water on the ground


Waking in the Mansions
For breakfast you
Ordered dahl

In our room
An electric painting
Of a rainbow
No natural light

Last night,
I cannot remember

You turn your head
Away from the world,

And already I know
The damage that
I’ve caused


Lotus in the August

Can we for a moment be sincere
And sit and share a coffee as so many
Seem willing and able to do,

The skies now have become richer,
More than expected, and never quite enough
For august to settle in.

The town remains clear and uncomplicated,
I’d like to tell you that my palpitations have all stopped
I am still as reckless as ever, growing
Ever more indifferent to my recovery.

Awash with color
I hoped to paint the lotus ponds
In Beijing where we strolled,
I have quite forgotten
How to bloom, it’s true.

I drink less in the evenings
The reason remains unsure,
I could always smell an oncoming storm
I’m tired of these baptisms
Alone in empty rooms.
This morning I travelled further
Than before, with the sleet still gifted
On the air, though if it rains
At least we might plant lotuses
In the cities lower gardens
And I may go walking
Once more along with you there.


Lean your weight
Against the door
It warps in the rain,

Lights come on
Disturb the room,
Nothing more
Than the faint sound of traffic.

In the bowl is yesterday’s fruit
Instant coffee by the side

I pour a glass of water,
Sit by my desk
Not waiting
For the day to become
Relentless and so eager
To continue

When is it
That you might consider
Coming home again

Just as others arrive
Opening the door

Bring the scent of tempered wilderness
Back into the room

Author: jameskramerblog

James Kramer is a fiction writer currently based in Beijing. His writing has appeared in Your Impossible Voice, as well as various Poetry anthologies. He currently writes a monthly-ish column for LeftLion magazine on China.

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