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Onjana Yawnghwe


Onjana Yawnghwe grew up in Thailand and in Vancouver, Canada. She has been published in various literary journals and appeared in the Canadian poets anthology, emerge. She is the co-founder and editor of the little literary journal Xerography, and was the book designer for the chapbook Ghost Works by Alison Calder and Jeanette Lynes (JackPine Press). She is a collector of envelopes and is learning the ukulele.




Vancouver City Map


"A child has much to learn before it can pretend."

                                                            -Ludwig Wittgenstein





       the city is articulated

with handrawn heart

                and bent shoe





George and Simon had a grand ol’ time

whistling on ships and powdering their wigs

a little blind to some people who were already there

“the town lacked refinement, but it was certainly lively”


In 1886 the city was named.

Three months later,

it burned down.


Thus began a history

of ugly incidents.





when you are in such a place

         you are likely to lose your way                                                                                                                                                              


One must be careful not to enter territory that one is unaccustomed to,                            

        lest you haphazardly intrude on an imagination that wants to remain private.




                   towering certainties

                   of mirrored high-rises

                   mountains nudging the city

                   to the sea



glass and metal:

              the dark sky of rain


impartial, never the streets                                                               

umbrellas point up                                                                            



                                                      what little tigers

                                                      stalk the faces of





/coffee is always hot / words strange in your mouth/


        point to the ‘place of articulation’



                        word is the code for the thing

                           we have a code for the code:                                                                                                                                  


you hesitate to name the heart                     




 when looking at a map

            position is important


align yourself to a particular landmark,

           become extension to the city in which you are lost


prepositions are less important,

          whether you are on or in some place


near a historical building you might find

           an immovable map, itself a statue


and strangely, as in a Borges story

           you meet yourself through plexiglass:


discover the ideolocator—an arrow, a dot—

           saying “You are here.”



In that country years ago we’d taken a picture of you

grinning with cigar, cowboy hat and groucho moustache


                              amidst the heat and drunken flowers of that day

              you held the future close like stones.




Your passport expired years ago.




This game is a game of exhaustion


a dizzying game, with no end in sight.


The game requires every player's full participation.


The rules must be agreed upon by the players.


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