G. Timothy Gordan


With one finger I write in the air, “sorrow.”

-Du Fu-


Like you, I sense I’ve forgotten my way,
What my children look like, even my own face,
How all wars, and sometimes lovers, go badly,
But I know how typhoons blow-up on the unsettled coast
Beside the Pacific, wrinkling, then flattening, mango trees,
Elephant grass, flaps of gulls’ wings, on time each summer
Through fall wasting small villages, flooding noodle and stinky
Dofu stands, caking streets and fancy boulevards and tollways
Up by urban Ilan, Suao, T’ai-pei, with mud and knee-deep
Saltwater only the young plastered in blue slickers dare drive
Through on cheap two-stroke cycles, drenching, disturbing,
Everything and everyone, not least of all, the already dead.


Like you, I rarely see my family now, in all seasons,
Wet or dry, frigid or torrid, bare or fertile, except when
I read of your aloneness on your skiff, stealing down Yang-tze,
Passing by and saluting the poor in poems, village after village,
Dying before death, damming Three Gorges never imagined
Even by you in your radical heart.  And like you, exile, wartime dp,
I’m drifting, alone this time on coastal T’ai-wan, typhoon time,
Though caught in autumnal gusts rousting the Pacific, lost among
Raindrop tears and morning stars like the always absent dispossessed
You love best.  Would there were words your equal; none but one
Comes on my tongue, on water, in gloomy air, among blank stars,
Hovering new music of the spheres, as lovely and as sad as sorrow.

G. Timothy Gordan’s seventh poetry/fiction collection, From Falling, will be published November-December 2016 (Spirit-of-the-Ram P). Work appears in journals such as Agni, Kansas Quarterly, Louisville Review, Mississippi Review, New York Quarterly, Rhino, Sonora Review, Baseball Bard, among others. He has been awarded NEA and NEH Fellowships and been nominated for four Pushcart award and NEA’s Western States’ Book Awards. He divides personal and professional lives among Asia, Europe, and the Desert/Mountain Southwest.