Being an outsider in the city can give rise to a poetry of sorts. Whether we are business ex-pats, exchange students or foreign workers, we all eventually face the same problem of our wandering impermanence. For this months Focus on poetry in the city, I look back at some written scraps and ramblings on my own impermanence and identity issues whilst I was a student of Mandarin in Taipei. Of Anglo-French descent, studying Chinese, for me it was fitting that I could find scrawlings in the three languages (and cultures) between which I’m torn:



Us, the foreigners, the diverse

We are the mystical mountains, the flowery trees; the passing birds and the buzzing bees

We are also the seasons, and as the winter solstice passes, new life begins

We grow, we grow, we grow and wait, as our summer solstice finally comes

We’re here. I’m here! 23! My days are longer, my sun is brighter

But when the summer solstice passes, the days get shorter

Once you reach the top of the mountain you can stumbling descend or come tumbling down the other side

Once you climb to the top of the tree, you stagger, struggle down on to your solemn bed of leaves, or,

Come crashing down in a pool of your own feces, urine and blood!

This world can end with a whimper, OR a BANG.

Parce que les étrangères sont comme les ombres; on passe, mais quand on part, on ne laisse rien, on se casse sans une trace...

Photo by Ida Yang







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