- Fortunes

Fortunes II

The gifted Hong Kong painter K.S. Ma owns my book Fortunes I. K.S. helped me to translate pages from the old texts and almanacs I was purchasing in Hong Kong and on the Mainland. His usual assessment: “this book is about fortunes”—inspired books about my own fortunes—good or bad—and my imaginary fortunes.” I also wanted to create a kind of Babel with my English text and images and the text and images of an old Chinese almanac. In preparation, I wrote a series of poems about fortunes. On St. George’s Day, my birthday— looking across to the Mainland from my office at the Hong Kong Institute of Education—following the tradition on my great-grand father who wrote a poem a year, on his birthday—I wrote:

On Saint George’s Day/I peer all the way/To China, easily, by/Looking out my window/To see eight/Millennia of characters/Writing stories of/Uncivil civilizations/On mounds of/Tortoise shells,/Oracle bones/&/Human skulls.