D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi

Poems C


The Long Wall

hung low some

exhausted stale air

insidiously winds round

fire breathing dragon

spews smoke forming

impenetrable Chang Cheng

Meng's tears wash

eyes sooted from

sacrificial brick pyre

The Question Mark

Where may answer be found
to what I wish to know?

Perhaps discovered nowhere as
it's indefinite prop pose all.

If a partial answer is possible
then I'll consider closing clue.

Question is punctuated by
sphinx seeming mistory.

Answer is part of quest i on
while also apart from it.

As part relates to part and whole,
so, too, is answer to question.

Should I consider the relations
as base to right half of bulb?

A usefool but unuseful answer
since it sheds not even art. light.

Should I deem relations of circular-
ocular yin-yang pat form?

While the relations are complementary;
nevertheless, it is an abstract tu.

Interrogate point might mimitate
distant Dipper and Polaris.

Or no to do so is of
an arbitrary pattern.

Finally, should I regard the human
face to solve the enigma?

Period part is nothing as partial zero
or left closed-lidded seeyecret.

Contiguous part is incomplete no. two
or raised right eyebrow and bridge.

If sets though are linked,
they're almost opposites on my face.

High brow with shut adjoining eye:
brow low with open adjacent orb.

Maybe two sets of questions
should be asked and answers quested.

I see with one of my eyes open
another's eye multiple-mirror mine.

Dedicated to SUN Dawu (Dawu Village, Xushui, Hebei)

Langwuzhuang May 25, 2003

The Recluse

I see view of weathered bamboo hut
which seems to grow out of forest.
My queries are made to an old man
who spent a long-life living alone.
There are many paths from Dragon Spring
that meander through the foothills.
Shall I follow the well-worn winding path
where many others before have walked?
The recluse tells me to sit awhile
and offers me leaf-laden drink of water.
He asks me what I am searching for
so high up towering Phoenix Range?
I look for the cave of an aged monk
who became a god through meditation.
The recluse tells me it must have taken
time to transform mortal to almighty.
And what else are you questing for
in your long climb up the mountain?
I look for the same cave where the god
was reincarnated as a young monk.
You'll find many who crave to be awesome 
through mantra, miracle and meditation.
But you'll find few gods who wish to endure
a manifest destiny of mortality.
What do you do, old man, in these tangles
of crimson sumach and berried ash?
My task is to prevent a forest fire
from devastating nature's preserve.
When wayfaring travellers pass by,
I explain the risks of feckless fire.
Then he holds between his fingers spread
fanned leaf of ancient Ginkgo biloba.
Is it clear through simple way
how this leaf cleanses the unclear air?
And do you see how dew distills on leaf
to form a pure drop of vitreous water?
The recluse invites me to his fluted hut
whose walls are filled with musical scores.
He pipes on keys a soft sweet tune
inspired by whistle of woodland warbler.
I wish to bring the world his songs
though he says it's enough that I've heard.
But what if flame were to ignite your hut,
your music would be lost for all to hear?
The bird would carry aloft both my notes
to sing and tree's seeds to sprout.
And if lightning were to strike the tree
that has stood there for a millenium?
Then Willow herb would flourish where
nourished by ashes of the Ginkgo tree.

The Truth Lies Hide

It will be impervious to degradation.

It would wear almost imperceptibly.


It shall last for a lifetime.

It should last you your lifetime.


It can provide you service for years.

It could give you years’ of use.


It may be the best bar none.

It might be the best or better than most.       


It is the best buy for the least money.

It is good value at a cheap price.


It has a warranty of five years.

It had a limited, conditional warranty.


It did not depreciate upon delivery.   

It was not a case of built-in obsolescence.


Their Four Familiar Walls


Under blood red crimson

with gold of Great Qing Dye

swarm plague-plaque locusts

that blot sun and bloat sky.


Short-horns clack quickly

in din by dint of number:

yi      èr     san      sì

start  ascent  life   death.


Armour plates are black,

compound eyes are black,

antenna receptors are black,

and cor antliae are black.


                                       Two Steps Back One Forth

                           I go to travel south,

                           but to go to south,

                           I must go to north

                           or s
ìshíyi li, too, to north.


                           Distance is doubled.

                           Time is doubled.


                           Then, I proceed south,

                           but pass mark in south,

                           so I must go to north

                           or sìshíyi li, too, to north.


                           Distance is tripled.

                           Time is tripled.


                           It sucks me to its mouth.

                           It spits me from its mouth.
                           Two steps back one forth.

                           Two steps back one forth.




I stood on dusty road on an arid plain. There lay land of sand with low lying desert plants typical of M. E. The day was bright.  I was we of the four horsemen. We were the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, but we were horseless. We were the horseless men. On the right side of the road was a fallen amphora. An invisible hand stood it upright. This handless amphora was dark brown in color and had an intricate design of flames cut out of the side.  A fire lit in it.  Its purpose was to light the way for horseless men. Other amphorae did upright themselves in the distance on either side of the road. The year was 3 B.C. We sat at wood bench by side of road. Earth Mother met me. She put a mud mask on my face and told me that it would give me special powers. Mud was placed on the faces of my companions, too. I was given two weapons and so were the others. They were called axes. They reminded me of adzes. However, they were more like small hoes. The handles were made of wood and were about two feet in length. They would make us invincible in battle. We arrived at the place at hour midnight. The palace was made of white marble. We entered a large, bright room. All was white. In front of us was a spiral staircase. On top of the staircase were four, white, marble busts. I led the horseless men to the right of the staircase. At this point one of the busts behind me spoke and I turned around to address her.  It was a woman of classical features. She asked me "Where are you going?"  I said to her that "I'll kill the IMP." Then she said to me that "The question began not with Who but with What". While she said this she looked down. I then knew the answer to our quest was at the bottom of the staircase. We turned round and walked down twenty steps. We entered the subterranean underground. The cavernous, cadaverous basement was also made of white marble blocks and shone. The ceiling was high. There was a lone sentry in our way and he ran away to the left when he saw us. The passages went a short distance to the left and right and then curved to the front. The wide corridor ahead sloped downward and went as far as the eye could see. On the floor was a variegated wave pattern. We stood abreast at the juncture of the sword's hilt. Our four held high our axes in both hands. A mass of men ran toward us. They were clad in black scaled armor. Perhaps there were twelve men across the front line and the whole corridor was filled with a cacophony of swelling yelling. There was a chaotic echoic roar. Our four could maneuver better because we had more space to handle our weapons. Each axe was swung exceedingly fast in a set pattern. They were of the bee, locust, fly and mosquito. The whole line of four arched like a bow. Our bodies arched like a bow. A charge went through our bodies and our hair stood on end. A high- pitched twang was ear heard from the bow. Aeroarrow was propelled at fantastic speed. It went through basemen. The breathless army collapsed in an instant. At our feet was metal coinage of grey-black color. The coins were shaped like pharaonic vultures. The debased coinage piled some twelve inches thick. But the coinage was still alive. We horseless men stamped on the coinage with the heels of our feet to kill our foe.  It died. 

       What Need I?


What need i of shekel coin
when sea shells are my currency?

What need i of gold inlays
when my teeth are yellowed ivory?

What need i of diamonds
when ice crystals sparkle?


What need i of immortality
when nothing lasts forever?

What need i of pyramids
when sand castles collapse?

What need I of wanting
when wants want not needs?


What need i of endless praise
when virture is its own reward?

What need i of news hour
when I have heard it all before?

What need i of lies
when the simple truth suffices?


What need i of artificial flowers
when i can drink ju hua cha?

What need i of formal dress
when the emperor has no clothes?

What need i of drinking cup
when children use cupped hands?


The stelae silhouetted against
a starless sky act
as stark reminders of
man's vainglory folly.

Are these the names of scholars
etched vertically on
the crumbling surfaces of
still standing, lifeless stones?

So it is you, Jinshi, who passed
the vigorous imperial exams
of the dying dynasty remembered
in lines of history past.

Was it worth the price you paid
in silver coin of the realm
to erect these upright stones
where precious time stands still?

And you who changed your name
to praise the Emperor's reign
does lie in forgotten place

The Thread