Gary Singh: Tu Fu accolyte and Macbook destroyer.

Puritan XXIII contributor Gary Singh explains why he needed a harmonizer of opposites to write his poem “Departure.”

“Departure” is inspired by David Young’s translation of Tu Fu, the famous Tang Dynasty harmonizer of opposites. At the end of Tu Fu’s career, he wrote a farewell poem that Young translated as, “Ready to Go”. Decades earlier, William Hung translated the title as, “Late in the Autumn, I Am Ready to Depart for the Ching-chao Area and I Leave This Farewell Poem to my Relatives and Friends in the Hunan General Headquarters”. Naturally, the two translations are quite a bit different. Young’s version presents an open-ended lyrical experience in free-verse couplets, while Hung’s 1952 translation is more prose-like.

Since I am half-eastern and half-western, half-urban and half-suburban, I often channel the Tang Dynasty geniuses to the tract-house subdivisions of my own inner and outer landscapes. As a newspaper and magazine writer by unprofession, and with the future of interesting journalism imploding at a rapid pace, Tu Fu struck a chord with me. These ruminations directly led to my own poem, “Departure”. Underneath the cut is the broken MacBook, with tea, as mentioned in the final line.


An award-winning journalist, Gary Singh has published hundreds of articles as either a staff writer or freelancer, including travel essays, art and music criticism, profiles, business journalism, lifestyle articles, short fiction and now poetry. In addition, for 450 straight weeks he’s also penned a creative newspaper column for Metro, San Jose’s alt-weekly newspaper, an offbeat glimpse into the frontiers of the human condition in Silicon Valley. Gary’s writing tends to merge the outer with the inner. He is an explorer of that which is hidden. Being half-eastern and half-western, Gary’s work, art and life often exemplify a combination of opposites. Operating between established realms—creatively, geographically or even psychically—Gary is a sucker for anything that fogs the opposites of native and exotic, luxury and the gutter, academe and the street.

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