6 pages of poetry broadcast yesterday on Extraordinary Voices, hosted by Omar Sakr: https://www.uqp.com.au/podcasts/episode-2-ev4et-omar-sakr-and-ouyang-yu

 Till Covid-Infinite: A Suite of Poems by Ouyang Yu

Ban on Australia


no barley

no beef

no coal

no iron ore

no travel

no students

no more relation ship

What next?

Refer back to history

and read that poem:

‘Those bad Chinese! Those bad Chinese.

Foul scatterers of strange disease.’

A fragment, remembered

The interviewer asks:

‘What does being Asian mean to you in this country?’

You answered straight away:

‘It means you don’t have a friend’

Now, you thought to revise it as:

‘And never will no matter how hard you try’

But thought better of it by deleting it like this:

‘And never will no matter how hard you try’


I have been practicing social distancing ever

since I came to this country 29 years ago


In fact, I now think, Australia is the best

country for that type of cing, I mean thing


Racial distancing, for example, like the ageing guy yesterday in Bunnings Warehouse

where he mumbled ‘I’m sorry?’ as I raised my head to see a distancing face


Then, this morning, as I was moving my bowels, I wrongly read social distancing

as facial distancing and, in that instant, all the faces, distanced over the years


came rushing back, faces of colour, black, brown, dark and daunting

as well as those of no colour that they say is white


a facial distancing accompanied by heart distancing

and mind distancing, two varieties that are so well practised in Australia


that all these cings are here to stay

for longer periods of time than you and me till Covid-infinite

Comments on Capitalism


a. According to him, Covid-19 will be followed by the collapse of capitalism

b. In China, public health is for everyone and for free

c. To be number one in everything is to be that in the number of deaths

d. If money is the only thing important, poverty can’t be cured

e. Black lives don’t matter because money does

f. A recommendation: Run America like a socialist state in capitalist ways

g. When it comes to violence, America matches China or vice versa

h. Why blame each other if everyone has uncleaned shitty bums?

i. Have nothing more to say. Wait till capitalism revises itself in its demise




They have the freedom to impose human rights

They have the freedom to violate the human rights by imposing them

They have the freedom to stop you speaking if they don’t want to hear what you say

They have the freedom to freely reject or accept you

They have the freedom to feel good and better

They have the freedom to impose political, economic, literary, poetic and moral sanctions

They have the freedom to say I know you are right but I am the editor


It's the Ovid-19 time


But the sun wants us to remember that this is the best time

And the trees want us to remember that there's no more work, at least for a few more weeks

And the skies are happy that no more planes will cut them open from time to time all the time

And the birds are happy to see more people idling away like they are no longer busy

And the nights can now enjoy as quiet a sleep as their human counterparts

And things are so pretty when the world has stopped turning around profit

And the poet, left alone and permanently unemployed, gets very busy with his poetry


The Killer Virus: a description


It enters by nose

It enters by mouth

It enters by eye, or ear or tooth

The way it enters

resembles very much love

igniting fire from fire to fire

Then, it goes into hiding, like love also

not wanting to be detected

least of all known

Two weeks after, it begins reaping

seeing people fall, out on the street

putting them away, from the locked down cities

For once, streets of the country are thoroughly happy

because free from traffic

and constant feet, the most resistant part to it

Now, worldwide and most famous

let me welcome it and call it ‘Killer Verse’




I'm in despair

there's no incentive

it's been isolation like this ever since

I came to this country

social distancing to the degree

of self-destruction

who contacts who?

who is supposed to approach who?

self-imposed isolation

self-imposed distancing

self-imposed ignoring

to be a migrant in this country

is to be a disease

a pre-existing virus

who wants to know who?

who needs who?

am I a fictional character of my own?

am I a fiction of my self?

I hear you, I hear you, for you say: 'Why don't you die, now?'

I did see, though, my own corpse last night

people busy moving around me and I not a word

is that how post-life feels?

the chasm is vast

so vast we can't even begin talking

eyes looking the other way

never caring to meet

even in the same city

until the obituary

a self-supporter, a self-isolator, a self-distancer

you always have been

because of the circumstances

because of no because

self-reliance, self-whiting, self-pleasing

to the degree of self-dying

now, a builder of self-graves, you

have no visitors

not even virtual

time to die, to go, to disappear, to self-white-out

why bother breathing

the same breaths breathed out by

strangers who befriend you but you never want to know?

the Silence, the Quietness, the Quietude, the Solitude

are so oppressive now

billions of mouths, unemployed

are howling in no sound

fine with me

it's all fine, with me

I'm but another disease that is no longer novel

quit me in poetry

if that's what you want

let's welcome Vivid-19nism

here to stay and for always

and it's good company, yay



As if nothing worked

As if we were still alive

As if it’s a fake country

As if things did seem to matter

As if we had lived trillions of years

As if I were not we

As if sex mattered little now

As if memory were a graveyard

As if words were sands were words

As if the past were right now

As if clouds were my eyes

As if he could make himself a king standing like that in the photograph

As if they were always correct
As if you spoke the same language when you speak it

As if a book were a walking corpse, a group of them

As if night were day turned inside out

As if writing mattered and etc (no it doesn’t, it matters even less, with tik tok, with fb, with this and that, with these and those, let’s see writers die en masse, giving way to a future of

less and less)

As if death were life




I came from Wuhan

I lived there

I loved there

I gave birth there

I wrote about it in my third, actually my second, published novel

I wrote about it in my trilogy published in Taiwan

I wrote about it in many of my as yet unpublished poems

I wrote about it in another novel as yet unpublished

Don't start trying to fend me off

I had done all that before 4 May 2019

when I headed back for home in Melbourne


'They told me


to fuck off

to go back to my own country

to be better than I always am

to write to an absolutely acceptable degree

to keep silent when a voice is in high demand

to revise and keep revising until nothing of me remains

to say nothing good about the country where I was born and bred

to always divide me against my self

to stay away in perpetual lockdown unless they have a book launch they want you
to go to and buy a copy

to watch and keep watching their TV commercials so all you ever think of is buy, buy, buy

to not want to know them because they don't want to know me

to remember that people from my own country are never good enough, have to be wiped out

one day or subdued as total slaves

to internalise all the anger resentment fury frustrations disappointments despair till I turn into

a human-sized atom bomb'


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