Poetry in Motion · Writing

Poetry in Motion: The Chinese Cinema Trilogy

Hey, Internet void. LOVE, CAUTION is, strictly speaking, a blog about my writing. Both my blogging and my writing are technically on schedule but have taken a backseat, thanks to school/work (which are both going well, so no real complaints). Fortunately, I hope to get ahead on both soon. I’m recalibrating my novel revision plans and planning my Honors application, both of which will probably get blog posts. Today, I’m going to actually share some of my writing.

Last Tuesday, I turned in both my first packet of poems for my poetry workshop and the poem that’ll be critiqued…next Tuesday. I’m excited and nervous, as I’m a lot less confident about my poetry than my fiction. I was going to share the workshop poem for this week’s blog, but then I decided to do it after I get feedback so I can talk about that.

One of the poems I wrote for the packet completes an informal trilogy, with two previous poems I wrote for myself last summer that ended up in my workshop application. All three are unrhymed but not quite free verse, as they all consist of three stanzas with an equal number of lines each. They’re all also named after Chinese-language films. The most recent one is thematically not quite related, but nevertheless, I liked the idea of a Chinese Cinema Trilogy. I considered if a quartet might be more fitting, as Chinese culture prefers fours (not the number four itself, but groups of four) to Western threes. But I wrote these poems mostly because I liked the titles, and there isn’t a fourth I like quite as much. So as of now I’m unsure if I’d write a fourth. Raise the Red Lantern, maybe? I do like the “Love, Lust, Live” arc, so I think I’ll leave it. (“Love, Lust, Live, Lantern?”)

Hope the abyss enjoys these poems. (Constructive) comments are welcome.



IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE – inspired by Wong Kar Wai

I feel like I’m on the brink of something,

Namely, of imploding from the nothingness.

I desire to be nothingless,

Not some pent-up Venus fly-trap

Self-starved and digesting its own stomach.


I’m in the mood

For incense and prayers and burnt offerings,

And anointing oil of spirit, and flesh by moonlight.

Desires for fires, tongues like whips entwining

Honey trickling, tickling, prickling,

And as constant as a stream.


Hungry for my Mars fly-trap,

The sticky-sweet sundew to my cobra lily,

A gaping maw in equal and opposite reaction.

I will not be satiated;

Rather nourished, and worshipped, and loved,

Scattering my rosebuds while I may.


LUST, CAUTION – inspired by Ang Lee

If truth in every shepherd’s tongue,

And spring in every virgin sprung,

And naked bodies of lovelies young

Not in dikes or dumpsters or ditches flung,


Then I might of men, as in the Bible, know,

But a kiss is just a kiss, and a no is a no

And all of that just goes to show

That Turandot was right though


Lust, caution, flesh for auction

Sacrifice of skin forgotten

Trust, toxin, a just precaution

Winsome wood a comely coffin


TO LIVE – inspired by Zhang Yimou 

I awaken,

Not with the lips of a prince

In a glass coffin lined with love-lies-bleeding

But a splintering burst of wood

Clawfuls of dirt

Meant to smother.


To live,

I would burn a towering wicker effigy

Of my soul, my heart, my art

I would sacrifice my sonnets like virgins

Leave my melancholia in the woods

To the mercy of wolves or witches.


To live!

I’ve been buried too long

Claustrophobic as a revenant

Choking under the weight of my own ascension

A mummified monk inside a golden Buddha

A butterfly cannot tuck her wings back into her chrysalis.

One thought on “Poetry in Motion: The Chinese Cinema Trilogy

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