Poetry at Shu Yu’s Café
This hotel bathrobe isn’t much—
simple, white terry cloth, the zen
of The Lake embroidered in blue
stitching just above my heart.
But each time its crenulated cotton
brushes the breath of my skin
I sit again, late at night, on a hassock,
looking up from a window in Shu Yu’s Café,
at a smog-obscured moon over the Great Canal
and its arched stone, centuries-old bridge
where chugging barges boil the water brown,
where factories puff their endless cigarettes.
Again and again I listen to the concerts of words
in a language I do not know and hear over and over
their music as they weave a thousand millennia song.
Sunset at West Lake, Hangzhou
The sun, a glowing copper disk,
Slips behind the silhouette of western peaks.
The city does not notice its loss.
The lake prepares its table for evening guests.
Platters circle before them: tongue, thigh, and breast.
For as long as memory can remember,
No one has refused to taste.
A poem written in opposition to: Amida Waterfall Remotely Beyond Kisokaido,
unknown painter Worcester Art Musuem
The water falls, no oxygen, no clarity.
Buddha sits fouled and soiled in sewage.
Fumes scorch the shrubbery, leaves brittle
and harsh. Cataracts cloud The Eye
of Limitless Light. Children cry
when they see the strangeness of blue sky.
Rodger Martin’s third poetry volume, The Battlefield Guide, uses
locations on battlefields of the Civil War to reflect upon America
today. Small Press Review selected The Blue Moon Series, as its
bi-monthly pick of the year. He received an Appalachia poetry award, a
N.H. Council on the Arts Fiction Fellowship, and fellowships from The
National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2012 he was chosen as poet to
represent the U.S. at Hangzhou, China’s annual international cultural
festival. He serves as co-editor for The Granite state Poetry Series
and teaches journalism at Keene State College. firstname.lastname@example.org