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a series of poems on 金面山 (jin mian shan)

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

this past monday, on our last morning in taipei, kevin and i got up at 4 a.m. to hike to the top of jin mian shan. at 5:30 a.m., i found myself lying on top of a wide slanted boulder, watching the sky lighten in layers of lavender and blueish-grey as a soft orange glow spread from the eastern mountainside.

i don’t want to ever forget that moment.

how intensely content i felt to be up there, tiny, just breathing in cold air.

at one point, i took out my phone and left seven short voice memos–i didn’t know where i was going with them; i just knew i needed a way to remember how it felt to lie on that boulder, to look at that sky, to feel that intensely specific way.

so i guess my first attempt at spoken word poetry was on that boulder, whispered to an audience of zero…

because those voice recordings turned into these poems!

i have transcribed them below in the order i recorded them.*



the clouds hang still suspended as roosters crow to my left from the mountainsides and the birds play along the rocks and to my right the city falls back asleep into its day slumber while the roaring of cars sounds like sloshing waves in one constant thrum


cars go back home and people go back home while others are just beginning the day and the cracks through the clouds are greyish blue with white pinches and the mountains are soft water color strokes of those same smokey blues that come in a haze but are much more glorious and taipei 101 blinks in the distance, beckoning but to whom?


nature is so interesting the way it can make mountains look like waves of an ocean far in the distance, never moving, stuck in layers of sediment– smokey blue and purple sediment– lost in the distance and yet forever there


you know you’ve gone far enough from the city when the roosters are crowing louder than the sound of cars rushing on highways across alleyways some way or another


i feel like i’m on the edge of the earth a witness of what humanity has done to it and what it has left alone and both sides are beautiful


up high on the mountains a pair of butterflies dance frantically in circles around and around chaotic and messy with the city as their backdrop calm lights blinking ever so steadily predictable the opposite of what people think city life is like– how strange– perhaps we place too much weight on the city we forget to remember how evenly paced it is compared to the sounds of mother nature


the cold wind hugs me like a warm blanket


*i listened to my recordings several times before writing them down in my journal first. that was really weird. playing with syntax and form was weird, too–i’ve never created poetry (can i even call it that?) with only my voice before. i didn’t know that they’d make it to paper, much less a blog post, anyway.

well, i guess they did.

maybe they’re not the most beautiful poems i’ll ever write or read, but they are real. they are my exact thoughts at the time i thought them, and that is enough for me.

i hope i can look back at these one day and decide to take a spontaneous trip back. or just stop whatever i’m doing and take a nice long walk outside.

October 21st, 2019

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