Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Monday, March 27, 2023

Decade-Long Marathon Tanka

quiet and quieter
and unable to walk 
on his own --
my father's decade-long
marathon with dementia

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Black Teen Tanka

reading between the lives and writing between the lines, LXI
written in response to Francis Jen's remark: Always give your big smile to those who hates you. It will kill them.

we'll send you
back to the cotton field ...
a Black teen
stands unmoved on the playground
with a smile I've never seen

AddedGame Show 2024, XIV

God, guns and Trump
under the Waco sunshine 
a wavy sea
of people with MAGA hats 
shouting, Trump won, Trump won...

FYI: Donald Trump launched his first official campaign rally for Waco, Texas on the thirtieth anniversary of the 51-day siege, which resulted in the deaths of four federal agents and 82 Branch Davidians, 28 of whom were children.

And Business Insider, March 25: Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick takes credit for arranging Trump's debut 2024 campaign rally: 'I picked Waco'

Trump's decision to hold a rally at the site of a historic government standoff that claimed nearly 100 lives alarmed some.

"So Trump is planning his first campaign rally for Waco on thirtieth anniversary of the siege where a cult leader challenged the authority of the federal government and threatened violence," presidential historian Michael Beschloss wrote earlier this week, linking the former president to late religious sect leader David Koresh.

Addedreading between the lives and writing between the lines, LXII

fresh bakery
at ten dollars per person ...
with a smile
I take a deep, deep breath
when no one is around

AddedThis Brave New World, LXXII
written in response to this year's 129th mass shooting in the USA: Los Angeles Times, March 27: 3 children, 3 adults killed in shooting at Nashville private school

followed by these blah, blah, blah ...
more "thoughts and prayers"  

Saturday, March 25, 2023


under gray skies
the Darvaza gas crater
burning for years
this flame of passion
stifled by marriage

a sudden spark
of opposites attract
turns into a bonfire
burning down my marriage ...
dog and me together alone

Friday, March 24, 2023

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Evacuation Train Haiku

drawing hearts
on her breath-fogged window ...
evacuation train

Chinese Translation

在她的霧氣朦朧的窗戶上 ...

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Lost Homeland Tanka

ten years later 
back to my country of birth 
an immigrant again 
unmoored by longing 
for a lost homeland

Honorable Mention, The British Haiku Society Awards 2022

Monday, March 20, 2023

Brave New Beginnings

Any resemblance to current events or actual locales, or to living persons, is not coincidental. It is meant to be -- the Foxy way of reporting.

with a black jacket
and shoulder-length curly hair
tucked behind her ears ...
the AI anchor announces
Welcome to New China News

the news of Trump
likely to be arrested
to the top of Weibo charts ... 
the anchor pleads,Trump, don't back down

FYI: China unveiled its latest digital news anchor, an artificial intelligence woman called Ren Xiaorong on March 12. And Weibo is a Chinese social media platform designed for microblogging with over 582 million monthly active users.

And Insider, March 18Trump supporters in China are up in arms and raging about a possible indictment.

Added: written in response to Donald Trump's potential indictment in New York 

in a golf cart he cruises
around Mar-a-Lago
dark clouds close and closer 

AddedNo More Fairy Tales, XI
To Joe Biden

blah-blah-blah green transition ...
my son grumbles
with his eyebrows raised
like those of Oscar Wilde

FYI: Politico, March 14: Biden’s green allies promise lawsuit over Alaska oil project

The approval of the Willow oil project is setting the stage for a legal battle that may have the administration and Republicans on one side and environmentalists on the other.

for Basho

a raven  
in the maple limbs ...
deep winter

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Life of Shooting Stars Tanka

my marriage:
a roof with the skylight 
propped by four walls
dulls my yearning
for a life of shooting stars


brave new world, space tourism ...
with gray hair to his waist
and his face blotchy 
a man with a cart full of cans
stares into the ink-dark sky

FYI: Wion, March 2023: The Indian space research organisation (ISRO) is planning to begin space tourism by 2030. A single ticket is expected to cost a little over $725,000. And The Economic Times, Oct. 18, 2022The incidence of poverty in India dropped from 55.1% in 2005-06 to 16.4% in 2019-21.


a raven
crowing from one roof
to another ...
no answer for my future self
just a ghostly past

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Footprints Tanka

the silence
after will you marry me?
her footprints
in the early snow
a little deeper

Ribbons, 18:2, Summer/Spring 2022

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Masked Deaf Friend Haiku

written on the third anniversary of COVID-19 pandemic
the beat
of a one-winged butterfly ...
my masked deaf friend

Friday, March 10, 2023

The Glory and Freedom Not Yet Perished

half-collapsed house
in the gathering dark
an old man
murmurs, no food, no water
except rain through the roof

Hours before the Russian government criminalizes independent war reporting about Ukraine, a series of videos is going viral on YouTube. These video clips are short street interviews conducted in major Russian cities, offering a glimpse of the new life after Western sanctions.

Recoiling from the camera, a woman in high heels states, "I support my President." A twenty-ish man in a black parka responds in a lower voice as if murmuring to himself, "I would rather not talk about it because it can be dangerous here." Peering again at the video diary of a Ukrainian refugee, a grey-haired man claims, “It’s not what reporters are saying on the news, and I didn’t hear that the President sent troops to start a war.”

against bombed-out condos
a pink-haired girl
plays Cello Suite No. 5
before soul-tired neighbours

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Paper Cut Haiku

a paper cut
from Father's airmail letter
these words, a poet?


among strangers
hunting for the cheapest items
this loneliness ...


space tourism ...
in the shopping mall window
an old man's tired face

AddedThis Brave New World, LXXI

more than two thousand
instances of book banning
in thirty-two states ...
the Statue of Liberty
shadowed against overcast skies

FYI: Pen America, September 2022: "Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools"

And The New Yorker, March 10: "What Are We Protecting Children from by Banning Books?"

... 2,532 instances of book banning in thirty-two states between July, 2021, and June, 2022. The challenges are spread throughout the country but cluster in Texas and Florida...

...many more of the prohibitions seem to cohere around a specific political vision. According to the pen report, forty-one per cent of the banned books featured L.G.B.T.Q.+ themes, protagonists, or prominent secondary characters; the next-largest category of non grata texts has “protagonists or prominent secondary characters of color.” Other problem subjects include “race and racism,” “rights,” and “religious minorities.”...

..a glance at the list of most frequently banned books makes clear that “mature content” is a fig leaf: what parents and advocacy groups are challenging in these books is difference itself. In their vision of childhood—a green, sweet-smelling land invented by Victorians and untouched by violence, or discrimination, or death—white, straight, and cisgender characters are G-rated. All other characters, meanwhile, come with warning labels. When childhood is racialized, cisgendered, and de-queered, insisting on “age-appropriate material” becomes a way to instill doctrine and foreclose options for some readers, and to evict other readers from childhood entirely.

The recent wave of bans comes as many Republicans, in their opposition to gun control, climate science, food stamps, public education, and other social services, work assiduously to render the lives of American children as unchildlike as possible.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Young Woman's Mouth Tanka

a red handprint
across the young woman's  mouth ...
she stands alone
on scattered maple leaves
in the divorce court's shadow

FYI: For more poems for International Women's Day, see my "Special Feature" post, Socio-Political Poems Selected for International Women's Day