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Chinese Chimes: the Unpatented Quadrants

February 12, 2010 by · No comments

By Changming Yuan

Photo: kevindooley

we chinamen, half and quarter chinamen
children of eight or sixteenth chinamen
constantly pounded with a peculiar pride
over our ancestry’s four great inventions:

the first was paper to transcribe ancient ballads
but later often used to give ultimata to your emperors
also the printing technique to transmit sages’ teachings
but later often used to exhibit your ugliest scars
a third the compass to help find the golden dragon
but later often used to guide your foreign creditors
the last gunpowder to launch fireworks at spring festival
but later often used to bombard your long walls

they chinese, half and quarter chinese
children of eight or sixteenth chinese
baffled with belief, brief belief
that their unknown ancestors happened to invent
the wrong stuffs in the right times
or the right stuffs in the wrong places

Categories: Frontpage · poetry



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