Monday 18 April 2022

Three Poems by Sean Bronson


Lucky Reds

As I bicycle along

                                                                                           candy apple red

flag and five mango-flesh yellow stars on a poster,


                                                                                                    I reflect on

what I taught in class.                      We

       shifted the conversation

from parts of the face

to makeup.                                 Eyeliner. Eye shadow. What colour do you use? We

bruise peach skin above the lashes.

       They didn’t say that, but


                                                                                                                      I think about the pretty

teacher I saw this morning.

                                                                                                             Maraschino cherry


                            Each hanger the taxi passed on bridge, beaded with                                  

                                                             mahjong red

Chinese lanterns last night.

                                                                                   When I visited Shanghai, and

the observation deck of sky scraper was concentrated in






Bossa Nova

Around the corner of a modern apartment building,

                                                                                      green and brown

                                                                                                                  stringed lights

                             sparkle into palm tree.

            That’s where the little bar

                                                       owned by a Brazilian is.


                                          Inside, you can fire up your provincial cigarette.

                  Leave your clear-red disposable lighter

                                                 and hard pack,

                                                                                            signed in gold Chinese lettering, 


                         on the counter.

                                                                In between blowing out streams,

      Sip red wine,


                                                                           white Russian,

                                              or whiskey and coke.                                  



                                                                                                         Listen to a young Zhonguo-ren

                 talk about

                                              doing coke in New York City.

                                                                                                             He wants to open up a

                     restaurant in Ibiza,

                                                                         but he already owns an English school for children.

              Have the owner’s wife,

a Chinese woman who only speaks Mandarin,

                                            try to teach you Mandarin.


                                                                             the owner

                                        strum the guitar

                                                                    with an unsteady rhythm.

                                                    Sings as if he’s spilling a cup.

                                                                                    You can decide for yourself

                    if he is off

                                           or if that’s how it is.



I get on a public bus


                               and work my way through college students stuffed

in down jackets,

                                                     milk tea,

                              pork barbecue sticks,

                                                                     and hot pot.


                                                  All seating taken.

                                                                                I grab the strap

                                                                 and       balance my weight

so I don’t crash

                                              other people like a drunkard at a crowded club.


                          Everybody’s transported

                                                                 the rain from the outside.


           Through streaked windows,


                                                                                                                     college students peddle alongside on bicycles,

and food delivery drivers whiz by on scooters.


Sean BronsonThese poems are based on the time Sean lived in China for one year teaching English to Chinese students.



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