Ouyang Yu

Ouyang Yu is a poet, novelist and critic, whose fiction, non-fiction, poetry and translation has been published in both English and Chinese. His latest collection of poetry is The Kingsbury Tales: a novel, published by Brandl & Schlesinger (2008). Please refer to his website  http://www.ouyangyu.com.au/ 




I am a poet

There are many times I hit the rock bottom
& I write about it

There are many times I hit the roof of heaven
& I write about it

I am a poet
I’m not anyone’s poet

Not a working class poet
Nor people’s poet

I am the one doomed
To poetry doomed

To a future
Of clouds


A fleeting thought at one of the books short-listed in a shop window

Perhaps I’m sick
The world is sick
As the cities become more obese
Than obesity: o b city

I am sicker
When I decide never to read it for the rest of my rest
After it won something
And goes on to win more



I strike you dead, English
Language of the enemy
Even when you abuse me with one of your gentlest words
Calling me not good not good enough or very
hongmaohua, red-haired speech
You think you are the Language
Of money
You think you are the Language
I stopped there only because something else happened
Something living
Something infinitely better than English
Happened five or six hours ago
And now I don’t want to write another word in this poem
Let the dead die the death
I embrace the living with the ease of a living

“I want to die forgotten”


In the Blockbuster City

you are seeing yourself off
your car in the long-distance car park
when you arrive
you meet yourself
in the mirror
and take a digital photo of yourself
camera in hand

you couldn’t meet your dad
he’s dead
you couldn’t meet your mom
she’s dead
you couldn’t meet these other living
people you know
you’d listen to a voice or voice message: I’m busy could you…

moneyloose for the end of financial year
eyeloose for a city on heels
fingerloose on the pulse of p-

the blockbuster city is
one that quotes differently for the same thing
one in which people run vehicles stalk stall accents e/merge
one that can be booked for a few nights
one with galleries victoria where one doesn’t even see a work of art
one where you decide to retire early
to a hotel sleep

the city grows more blockbusterly each person
something takes
nothing gives
creative zen crashes
ipod records no voices hears no fm except for a fee, no, for 2
cowon a2 available at bondi junction
the city takes all without distinction

a city literally
of no original faces
an ariel view: a building behind another building
a close-up: someone wanking
a restaurant sign: thai to remember
feet plodding
a city into itself



By excluding us
They become them

By excluding them
They become us

You in me
And me in you