FALL 2009

Dan Bellm


 My television screen has gone dark:
The government is censoring the news again

And doesn’t mind that I know it.
Go ahead: imagine what is being said

In America, that we have blotted out.
Instead I walk to the river to admire

The dawning century, that is filling with light.
Video advertising thirty stories high

Ablaze in the windows of the Aurora Tower,
A forest of skyscrapers younger than my child

Sprouted up from old marshland, floodlit cranes
All night wheeling and stacking new spaces

Into the sky. Ricoh, Lenovo, Nike, Kodak;
The characters for “success” and “steadfast work”

Projected far past human size; blue neonlit boats
Traversing the Huangpo like spirits in a dream;

On the opposite shore the banks and hotels
Built by half-forgiven colonizers

A hundred years gone, welcomed back
On subordinate terms now that business is good;

And in a lower corner, all but
Hidden away, hand-painted into the scene,

A wayfarer walking with pen and paper
As if from another time, pausing

Before he disappears into the radiance
To sign his name at the edge of the hanging scroll,

One he will call, “Bidding Farewell
At the Pavilion of Fleeting Light.”

Dan Bellm lives in San Francisco; his third book of poetry, Practice (Sixteen Rivers Press), was named one of the Top Ten Poetry Books of 2008 by the Virginia Quarterly Review. He is also a widely published translator of poetry and fiction from Spanish and French.




Poetrybay seeks fine poetry, reviews, commentary and essays without restriction in form or content, and reserves first electronic copyright to all work published. All rights to published work revert to the author following publication. All Email submissions should be in body of email text.

To submit poems write to:

PO Box 114 
Northport NY 11768
or email us at 

send comments to info@poetrybay.com

first electronic copyright 2004 poetrybay. 
all rights revert to authors

website comments to dpb@islandguide.com