S  e  c  r  e  t  s    blackmail press 24
Ling Yip
New Zealand

Ling is a lawyer and poet. Despite having arrived in New Zealand at a young age with her family as refugees from Vietnam, Ling has retained her “Chinese-ness”.  Ling is bilingual and is fluent in English and Cantonese Chinese.  Ling is relatively new to the poetry scene but is constantly being inspired by poets both performance and in print. 

Negative Chi

You say “graveyards are dirty places, don’t visit them”
The negative c-h-i that inflicts
bad luck

I remember your voice as I walk down the slope
to her sunny spot
clear the forgotten weeds
wedging, stretching, consuming the
cold concrete slab
wipe the dirt and debris,
scrub the rain marks off her face
replenish dying flowers shriveled

then and now
such topics are taboo
in your culture
bad luck, death, negative c-h-i

“it’s especially bad for you this year”
the almanac advises

Graveyards are dirty places
Your voice echoes in my ear
“How can visiting someone you love be dirty?”
Any agony attributed to bringing flowers,
A little fall, a sore toe
forgetting your lunch and
other major misfortunes

Graveyards are dirty places
Afterwards, the evidence destroying
sanitation procedures
Hide the incense!
flower petals
Remove all traces of life

Graveyards are dirty places
Hate secrets but negative c-h-i is worthy
of its place as a skeleton in
my closet
to keep the fine balance
of harmony

You say “wonder who brought flowers?”
“not sure” I reply
in the indifferent tone rehearsed
a thousand times in my mind

all the while the negative c-h-i channelling the gap
between us