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Yan Li 严力 – Self-thinking


Acrylic on canvas – 32″ x 24″
Available for purchase


Because water spins clockwise,

because our routines are predictable,

because paint is still wet,

I let you pretend I am purple,

let you shape me, like a spoon,

not a cup, draw me into this vortex

of an unfinished journey.


Still air, eye of hurricane,

is it politicians throwing lightening

bolts, disturbing the lily pads,

or is madness this tropical cyclone?


You, a red spoon, beckon me,

to fold me?  To magnetize me?

To ask me how do we dive

into cerulean waters, swim as a pod,

never to beach ourselves

because of uncertainty?

By Josie Emmons Turner


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    Bent into shapes I can barely muster
    my two halves skate along the seams
    between the tracks in the spiral rug
    my eyes used to trace for hours at a time
    in grandma’s living room

    Only everything has changed
    It’s the first time I got stoned and couldn’t tell
    all over again
    but with spiral rugs
    and neon markers

    I don’t know what those piles are in the distance
    but my new shapes are perfect for scooping
    or pitching
    before I fall into the whirlpool
    in the eye of the storm

    Because nothing screams stability
    like a swirling mass of ocean
    ready to take everything you have
    in the name of hallucinogenics
    on a small screen in a darkened room

    while you watch the two mutant spoons
    that comprise your psyche
    skate along the seams
    between the tracks in the spiral rug
    in your grandma’s living room

    (29 September 2016)

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