Nine Canzone

Shanhu Lee


Who are these nine ugly people?

Do they think they are the god(s)?

It’s none of your business!

Get fuck out of my business.

When did I give them this power?

They are just nine regular people,

With all possible flaws like all other people.

And now, they decide to dictate my life?

Decide what I should do with my life?

They became the justices, chosen by the wrong people.

This is not about pro-life or pro-choice.        

I don’t want to live by someone else’s choices.

Gee, they don’t look like the god–

They are just nine ugly flawed people.

Do they really believe they are the god(s)?

Well, I don’t believe in God!

For wrong reasons, they became justices.

They are just nine senseless people,

Selected by even more senseless people.

And now they make the laws?

About my life? What’s kind of laws!

Do they really believe they are the god(s)?

This is not about pro-choice or pro-life.

No one can decide what I should do with my life.

It’s my body; it’s my life.                   

It’s none of your business.

Whether I live a happy life,

– or a miserable life.

It’s none of your business.

You cannot dictate my life.

I decide what I do with my life.


None of Your Business

Shanhu Lee

It’s none of your business.

Whether I am married or not.

It’s my life. It’s my choice.

Whether I have children or not.

Whether I am heterosexual or not.

Some choose one way or another.

Whether I am sexual or asexual.

Is one way better than the other?

Some choose one way or another.

Who said we should have it all?

Is one way better than the other?

What if I don’t want to have it all?

Who said we want to have it all?

Who defines my happiness?

I don’t want to have it all.

Is one side of the coin better than the other?

Who defines my happiness?

You cannot have both sides of the coin.

Is one side of the coin better than the other?

This is the law of thermodynamics:

You cannot have both sides of the coin.

It’s my life. It’s my choice.

That is the law of thermodynamics.

It’s none of your business.


The Ancestors

Shanhu Lee

Coral reefs in changing climate

The ancestors live in the warm Siberian thaw in spring,

With rising carbon dioxide and methane.

The ancestors sing in the deforested Amazon rainforest.

Moonlights rain in the wildfire.

The ancestors roam in the yard with Canadian geese,

white-tailed deers, and hellebore flowers.

The ancestors bloom in blue, red, and white coral reefs.

They hide in the Forthesia bush with cardinals.

The ancestors play Nintendo with children and chickens,

in the Sunday afternoon in the kitchen.

The ancestors cook shiitake and chanterelle risotto,

For my fifty-fourth birthday.

The ancestors climb ice in the Boulder Canyon in January.

They tell me to watch out for blackbirds.

The ancestors traverse to the moon. They live with

two ­rabbits, and a flute made of moonstone.


Not The Furniture Game

Shanhu Lee

Forever Aspen

Her smile was subtle like the rain on a sunny summer day.

Her eyes were brown like olives ripe on the desert.

Her nose was her delicate weapon for survival.

Her teeth were strong as a chainsaw that could cut the oak tree.

Her ears were sensitive antenna receiving signals from hundreds of miles away.

Her brain was as small as a peanut but full of imagination.

Her mind was the representation of God.

Her heart was like a tender and sweet strawberry.

Her paws were the language of love.

Her tail was a tall flag held by a royal soldier, sometimes disappearing between her legs like a mouse hiding from a cat.

Her hair was soft and silky like my grandmother’s hair brush.

Her body was my warm blanket.

Her smell was the most delicious beef stew.

Forever Aspen.

I will look for you in heaven.



Shanhu Lee

Acadia National Park

Sometimes things just don’t belong to her.

The jade earring just came out from

her ear and slipped on the ground silently,

when she walked Aspen this evening.

She went out to look for the earring in the dark

with her iPhone flashlight. She walked gently

and carefully not to smash the little earring

that lay on the cold ground.

Sometimes things just don’t belong to her.

They are tiny green jade drop earrings.

On her 24th birthday, Thomas presented to her.

The first gift she received from her lover.

On the second date. His eyes were as green

as jade. But she had never worn them. Somehow.

She lost the poles, one by one. She kept

the earrings in the safe for many years.

They traveled with her from Japan to France

To America. From Boston to Boulder,

to Denver, to Kent, and to Huntsville.

This spring she got new poles.

She had her jade earrings for the first time,

Today. Then she lost one earring

on her walk. Seems that sometimes

things just don’t belong to her.


Artificial Kat

Shanhu Lee

Black Cat

White boots and the black legging,

Little Kat wears an oversized sweater.

Pink strikes scatter on her brown hair,

Fake purple braids dangle loosely

On her face, like the tails of dead mice.

Huge blue eyes with the red shadow

Curse like a confused witch.

Tarnish silver wire ring rests

On her thin middle finger.

Her silhouette reflected on the mirror

Shuffles around me like a distant shadow.

Only her nose-pierce ring glitters

Like the black cat’s eye at night.


Hot Tub

Shanhu Lee

Ko Pha Ngan

Whenever I am in the hot tub,

I feel I haven’t looked at my body

For a long time.

I discover a red spot on my leg,

Bitten by the brown recluse spider,

I find acne on my belly.

I stretch my legs as long as I can

To reach the far side of the bathtub.

I let my body sink into lilac-scented bubbles,

I contain my arms in the hot water,

I close my eyes.

Then I sigh, deep & long.

Each time in the hot tub,

I feel I haven’t seen my body for a long time.

My skin is rough, my bones ache.

It seems this body doesn’t belong to me.

Seems this body doesn’t need a man,

Who wants to admire me.

How did this happen?

When I am in the hot tub,

I think of Ko Pha Ngan,

The pristine beach and coconut soup.

But I cannot remember

What I have done today.


Dingle Peninsula

Featured at Rattlecast 139 (1:49)

Shanhu Lee

Cicadas and crickets cry aloud,

compose a waggish orchestra. A garden spider

sways between layers of silk net, like an old

woman shuffles in the moonlight.

Camelia blooms. Crepe Myrtle

jaded. Chanterelles all me from the woods

on this September night. Air smells

like the sea—

as if I was on the Dingle Peninsula.


Lobster Dream

Shanhu Lee

Maine Lobster Festival

Last night, I had a lobster dream.

In my dream, I was at the Maine Lobster Festival with a whole bunch of people.

They were eating fresh boiled giant red lobsters. The lobsters were not cooked well, so some of them were still moving on the table, stretching their legs, sprawling and rattling.

And everyone was naked. Their loose skins were hanging from their decayed bodies, and they used their bare hands trying to grab the half-alive lobsters and open the shells and eat the half-cooked-half-alive meats. And red-yellow colored blood was dripping from the mouths and hands of people. Their hands were long and bent and moving clumsily, like lobster legs.

I could not tell the difference between lobster-eating human beings and half-dead-half-alive lobsters.

They were all immersed together into a group of mad wild animals.



Shanhu Lee

Birds & Blooms

I have a complicated relationship with bluebirds.

I read from Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project that bluebirds are a symbol of happiness.

I bought a watercolor painting of a bluebird from Boulder Arts Festival during my sabbatical and it has been hanging on my bedroom wall for more than a decade. In my kitchen, I have another oil painting of a little bluebird. Every morning I drink coffee with my favorite bluebird mug, eat my toast on a bluebird plate. So I had a wonderful relationship with bluebirds, until this spring. 

I saw a baby bluebird on the front porch when I took my dog, Aspen, out for a walk. Maybe a half-size of a robin. Crawling slowly. Aspen immediately attacked it. I quickly pulled Aspen hard, and gently released the little bird.

Then, suddenly two large bluebirds, perhaps daddy and mommy birds, were flying straight at me and attacking my head. I had to instantly pull my fleece jacket over my ears. Good thing that I had a baseball cap and sunglasses on. The birds were striking my head over and over. I was screaming but the birds did not reduce the speed and they would swing in the air and struck at Aspen’s little head.

After we finally went to the street and walked for about 20 minutes and then returned to our front yard, the two bluebirds were still waiting on our porch and started to attack us again. 

Now we made enemies with bluebirds.

Bluebirds seem to not know that I do not eat animals, especially I do not eat birds. 

How can I make bluebirds forgive me? I want to have a good relationship with bluebirds because I still believe that bluebirds are a symbol of happiness, even though I am scared of them every time I see them, even when I drive.