Old Shanghai in Paris by Sarah Zhang

Old Shanghai in Paris

Like easing out of the body
into sleep, what it was –

early dimming glow and steaming cattail fluff.
He talked about it to me anyways, carved lines holding
stories in his face. What it was –

Classic signs along Nanjing Road,
and killing the night with joie de vivre.

It was winning your first bar by cheating
its owner in a dice game on Blood Alley –
of sweaty linen and paraffin stoves.

Hookers grifting the crowd, while slummers
jig to gypsy jazz from balalaika bands, and
crying into your vodka beside
a Russian boulevardier.

It was loose talk lips, all of life’s mutations
hiding behind the city’s vertebrae,
hanging out of trolley cars,
swilling Japanese rotgut whisky;

It was emptying pockets of change for the
drunk-throated crooner,

local Chinese kids with
flat-cap berets playing jianzi, strapped for sweets

beside cheap taxi dance girls
stripped for cash. It was being wreathed

in blue smoke of poppy, dwelling
on boiled down dregs of others
for three copper coins.

It was inhabited by ghosts,
dissolving into the sockets of bones.


Sarah Zhang is a Chinese-American living in the Philippines. Surrounded by a community filled with diversity, Sarah aims to share the vivid aspects of her cultures through her poetry. Her works have been accepted in Eunoia Journal, Daphne Review, K’in Literary Journal, Heritage Review, Lunch Ticket, Trouvaille Review, Cathartic Literary Magazine, WEIGHT Journal and more; she has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Hollins University, and Saint Mary’s College.

Two Poems by Yixuan Wu

Beijing Never Waves Farewell

The clatter of mahjong pieces became
the nemesis of the night. Perhaps just
another round of a perpetual cycle that
makes one lose track of time. Tonight,
it was in a dwelling on Gulou Street that
cigarette butts still emanated haze,
bluffing out the room and the faces
of those inside. Those men, still
reeking of alcohol, intertwined lyrics of
a steady requiem as the night composes
its own harmony. Just the way
funerals are orchestrated,
except this time, inside the coffin
are the dreams and careers.


Beyond the Haze

On a train coursing through the clouds,
running on the muscle of men, I discovered

the oil painting palette beneath the sky:
the sky washing the tips of mountains white,

waves of valleys flurrying like Chinese
dragons and llamas flecking up the field.

On the other side of the rail, the sun
sheds its light, dressing the landscape in gold.

Mountain streams unravel like sleeves of
Kahta thread into veins of delta, just like how

Beijing spreads its warmth to the border
-lands. Upcoming is a tunnel, and I see myself

floating in the dark. On the black canvas,
I painted a Tibetan flag, letting the paint wash

over every bit of me that reeked of the cities,
replaced with the milky fermentation of the Chhang

laced with yak butter tea. Beyond the tunnel
rests the Tangla Mountains, tracing out

the legend of a Buddhist Guardian, its blood
violaceous as Zang Hong Hua. On a train

levelling the momentum of the wind, I trailed
the distant hymns of the Dungchen as I entered

Lhasa, forgetting the hums of the city.


Yixuan Wu is Chinese and currently lives in the Philippines. He is a junior attending school in Manila and will graduate in the year 2022. When he is not studying mathematics, he is either exploring different genres of music or chatting with his peers.

Three Poems by Anne Babson


So much depends
A red hat about
Stitched in China
For Russia
Beside the white



The Shinto soundbyte
Smacked between bubblegum lips
Is irreligious.

Five beats, seven beats,
Five beats — and why should we think
This is not an ad?

Japanese culture
Owns the rights to bonsai verse.
Coke is it for us.



Whatever words say, bodies govern us,
Trapped by flesh, no matter which pretty speech.
But on Bourbon, bouncers don’t card this
Child corpse. They assume I’m auditioning.
I watch women spin on poles, cellulite
Jiggling while they twerk, fat nipples bouncing.
Louis and Lestat slip into the lounge,
But I am not hungry for the buffet.
I stole a wallet off my midnight snack
On Conti. I slip bills in g-strings, not
To satisfy appetites but to watch
Women’s thighs show me stretch marks and track marks
Through bronze spray tan, tattoos, and glitter sweat.

This book freezes me in glitter amber.
My child vampire body will never grow.
That’s not vampire blood. That’s vampire novel.
I ask Britni, the one I panty-stuffed
With twenty singles, to answer questions.
What’s her favorite book? She doesn’t read.
Not reading books traps, too, I see. Britni
Won’t reach fifti, my night vision tells me.
But what is your favorite book? Yes, you there!
And to what has it taught you to submit?


Anne Babson is the author of three full-length collections of poetry — The White Trash Pantheon, Polite Occasions, and Messiah. Her fourth collection, The Bunker Book, will be published in 2021 by Unsolicited Press. Her poems have appeared in literary journals on five continents. She lives and writes in New Orleans.