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Poetry

Poetry

Tim Tomlinson – poems from “Requiem for the Tree Fort I Set on Fire”

Tim Tomlinson was born in Brooklyn, and raised on Long Island, where he was educated by jukeboxes and juvenile delinquents. He quit high school in 1971 and began a life of purposeless wandering that led to purpose. He’s lived in Boston, Miami, New Orleans, London, Florence, Shanghai, Manila, Andros Island in the Bahamas, and Cha-am, Thailand. Currently, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Deedle. He is a co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. He is the author of the chapbook Yolanda: An Oral History in Verse, the poetry collection Requiem for the Tree Fort I Set on Fire, and the forthcoming collection of short fiction, This Is Not Happening to You (due late summer, 2017). He is a Professor of Writing at New York University’s Global Liberal Studies Program. He’s an avid scuba diver with just under 300 logged dives, and a 200-hr Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor.

 

At Night, after the Screams

 

wake us

 

we hear him walk

to the kitchen,

 

hear

 

his callused feet scuff

the hardwood floor, hear

 

him mutter curses

at the carpet,

its edge

 

perpetually curled, hear him

go

 

silent

 

on the linoleum

of the kitchen

floor.

 

So much is hidden

 

by our mother,

 

in closets

behind cans and boxes.

 

So much

 

that he loves—

 

Mallomars, Mr. Chips,

Hostess Twinkies.

 

We hear him

rummaging,

 

rummaging,

 

the cans clinking,

the boxes tearing open,

and his hands,

 

his thick

callused hands

ripping

 

through wax paper

and plastic packaging.

 

Hear

the refrigerator suck

open

 

sense

its light through the cracks

of our bedroom doors.

 

When he stands

in that cold light,

when he upends the milk carton,

when he douses

the fire

 

in his throat,

does he wonder, as we

do,

 

what made him scream,

again,

this time,

 

his mother’s name?

 

 

~

Blood Bank

(after Dorianne Laux)

 

When I was sixteen years old and did not

need sleep to feel rested, or a job for

money, I joined the veterans outside

the Camp Street Blood Bank at 7 a.m.

where they smoked cigarettes peeled off

the cobblestones and drank MD 20-20

from pint bottles. They wiped their mouths on

the greasy sleeves of fringed jackets or jungle

cammies, looking for a piece of cardboard

or some old magazine to slap on the spit

and piss and vomit laminating

the sidewalks they slept on. I did not feel

soiled by the filth on their fingernails,

the grease in their hair, or the gravel in their

throats. I was enthralled by the lies they told

about where they’d been, what they’d seen, how

many they’d killed, and the way they told those

lies, as if they believed them. As if I

believed them, too.

Inside the clinic

we reclined on hard gurneys, flies lining

the rims of Dixie cups filled with urine.

“Shame, Shame, Shame” on the radio,

unlicensed nurses in tight white uniforms

dancing the Bump between rows of our

worn-out soles. They pushed thick cold cannulas

in our arms and our bloods drained into

plastic tubing. Arterial blood, slow

and thin. Blood over the legal limit, blood

so dirty it had fleas. Blood of our fathers

who’d disowned us, blood of our mothers

whose faces we’d failed to erase. At night,

I’d be back on Bourbon Street, a pint low,

a dollar flush, Buster’s beans and rice glued

to my ribs. Blue notes from clarinets

and guitars joining the termites spinning

in the halos of street lamps, go-cups crowning

the trash cans and dribbling into the gutter

with the butts and the oysters and the sweat

off the shower-capped jheri-curled tap

dancer from Desire Project scraping spoons

across the slats of a metal scratchboard.

Hawkers barking at the swarms of tourists

gawking at strippers in storefront displays,

and the runaway girls at the topless

shoeshine spit-shining white loafers

on the feet of insurance agents from

Mutual of Omaha. The veterans,

my blood brothers, they’d lurk in the shadows

and scan the sidewalks for half-smoked butts,

and I’d help them put together the lies

they’d tell to strangers tonight, and repeat

to me in the morning, forgetting half

of those lies were mine, and I’d forget, too.

 

 

~

Morgan’s Bluff

 

At dawn the gulls laugh again.

 

Two gray angelfish ascend …

… kiss the surface …

… recede …

the water’s surface wrinkles.

 

Pink light separates the gray sky from the gray sea.

Enormous clouds form like the aftermath of great explosions.

 

How pensive this daybreak,

a grenade without a pin.

 

In a needling insect heat the dawn’s final breeze fades

 

A jeep’s lights flash on, it backs out of the commissary.

 

Pelicans lift from the pylons.

The Cuban whore retreats up the Bluff Road,

her sandals dangling from a finger.

 

~

 

Night Dive

 

Once on a moonless night

I lost my companions.

Their beams were bright

but I’d edged over

 

an outcropping into

darkness and touched down softly

on a rubble ledge

where the wall pulsed

 

with half-hidden forms, eyes

on the ends of stalks,

spiny feelers testing the current,

feather dusters

 

vanishing

in a blink,

spaghetti worms retracting.

So sadly familiar—

 

things I desire withdrawing,

their forms

disappearing

the instant

 

I extend a hand.

The reef folding into itself

like a fist. Then,

from the stacks of plate coral,

 

the arm of an octopus slid,

and another, two more,

reaching

for my fingertips,

 

my palm. The soft sack

of the octopus followed,

inching nearer,

her tentacles

 

assessing

the flesh of my wrist,

my arm. My heart

pounding. Turquoise pink

 

explosions rushing across

the octopus’s form. At my armpit,

she tucked in,

sliding her arms

 

around my neck

and shoulder, her skin

becoming

the blue and yellow

 

of my dive skin.

She stayed with me

such a short time,

her eyes,

 

those narrow slits,

heavy with trust,

and my breath

so calm, so easy.

 

Above,

my companions

banged on their tanks,

summoning me to ascend.

 

 

 

 

 

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Related posts
Tim Tomlinson – poems from “Yolanda: An Oral History in Verse”
October 13, 2017
Poetry

Tim Tomlinson – poems from “Yolanda: An Oral History in Verse”

Tim Tomlinson was born in Brooklyn, and raised on Long Island, where he was educated by jukeboxes and juvenile delinquents. He quit high school in 1971 and began a life of purposeless wandering that led to purpose. He’s lived in Boston, Miami, New Orleans, London, Florence, Shanghai, Manila, Andros Island in the Bahamas, and Cha-am, Thailand. Currently, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Deedle. He is a co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. He is the author of the chapbook Yolanda: An Oral History in Verse, the poetry collection Requiem for the Tree Fort I Set on Fire, and the forthcoming collection of short fiction, This Is Not Happening to You (due late summer, 2017). He is a Professor of Writing at New York University’s Global Liberal Studies Program. He’s an avid scuba diver with just under 300 logged dives, and a 200-hr Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor.

 

The Storm (Father Hector, San Jose Nov 8 2013)

 

When the water came

I was alone hiding, taking cover,

anticipating that the roofing might not hold,

worried of dying.

 

The water came

the strong winds howling, shaking the whole place,

white mist like needles piercing through my skin.

I’m going to die in this place.

 

Later our neighbors came

scampering climbing shouting panicking.

This is okay, this is good—

there’s somebody to tell my relatives

 

I died this way.

 

~

 

The Giant Claw (Beatrice Zabala, 16, Palo, Nov 8, 2013)

 

Before the giant claw came, I was inside

the comfort room with my grandmother.

She was praying the whole time. My parents

called us to transfer to a safer room,

but the winds kicked up, slamming on our door.

The wind was like a drunken man punching

the door, kicking it, trying to rip it apart.

The strong winds against my father’s strength.

 

Then suddenly, I felt water on the floor.

I thought fresh water from the river, it

didn’t smell salty. It started to rise,

to our knees, our waist, our chin. Salt water.

How was it possible? The sea was almost

a kilometer away! Then, the giant claw came.

 

~

 

The Surge (Zenia Dulce, 46, Professor UP Visayas. Tacloban, Nov 8, 2013)

 

I called to her,

I called to her and then

we held each other’s hand

 

and then suddenly the water under her

inside the house it was eating up the whole house

and she said oh my god

 

and then suddenly

one wave washed her down then another wave

another wave brought her up

 

so I held her

another wave put us both down together

with the whole house

 

so all the house and us we were under

and we did not know what was happening to us

but we held on together

 

we are both safe she knows because I am holding on to her

I give her a signal to hold on tightly

and then we were engulfed by the water

 

and then we tried to go up

once we neared the surface I released her

so that we would be able to have the chance to crawl up and swim

 

well the water was actually pushing us up together

I was telling her to it’s OK you release

so she released her hold on me also

 

and we resurfaced but the problem

we were both trapped big debris uh, maybe big debris

like this four or six like this

 

I don’t know it’s big I was scratched

this is still the bruise uh what do you call this my remembrance

and that was how many months ago that was six months eight months ago

 

and that bruise is still there

I was struck here also at my back

and she was struck at the neck I heard the snap

 

like that super loud

and then there was no emotion on her face

I saw the blood blood blood coming out from her nose and mouth

 

I thought oh my god she’s dead

and then slowly slowly

she was sinking

 

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Related posts
Tim Tomlinson – poems from “Requiem for the Tree Fort I Set on Fire”
October 16, 2017
Poetry, Translation

Scott L. Satterfield – translation of a poem by Wang Anshi

松间

 

偶向松间觅旧题

野人休诵北山移

丈夫出处非无意

猿鹤从来自不知

 

  • 王安石

 

Among the Pines (On Being Recalled to Office)

 

Among the pines chancing upon old inscriptions,

Ignoramuses stop crowing my remove to northern mountains.

The man now comes forth not without purpose –

such as apes, cranes, never could understand.

 

  • Wang Anshi  (1021-1086)
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Scott L. Satterfield – translation of “A Mean Abode” by Liu Yuxi
September 4, 2017
Chow Teck Seng – two poems (translated by Yong Shu Hoong)
August 25, 2017
Yong Shu Hoong – two poems (translated by Chow Teck Seng)
August 18, 2017
Poetry, Translation, Uncategorized

Chua Chee Lay – 同一片天 (translated by Shelly Bryant)

With deep interests across literature, visual arts, culture, education and digital technology, Chua Chee Lay’s literary writings reflect his diverse influences and span across modern poetry, prose, song lyrics and short stories. Chua holds a PhD in East Asian Language and Literature from the University of Wisconsin. A linguist, educator, award-winning poet and children’s book writer, he is also the Chief Editor for several books and series, including Keeping My Mandarin Alive: Lee Kuan Yew’s Language Learning Experiences (Chinese, English and China Edition) and Journey of Our Young, a Young Writers Project by the Ministry of Education.

 

同一片天

——为2013年国家图书馆全国阅读运动“读吧!新加坡”而作
蔡志礼
混沌天地
缓缓地张开
沉睡千年的眼
浩浩沧海
渐渐凝成万顷桑田
似曾相识的飞燕
来自天上来自人间
来自同一片天
青涩少年
改朝换代后
早已风霜满面
抬望眼啊
皆是不轻弹的英雄泪
洗也洗不尽的怨
所有悲悯所有爱怜
来自同一片天
不同肤色
不同的语言
不一样的祖先
命运嬗变
上天要我们紧紧相连
赤足走在赤道边
一样阳光一样雨露
来自同一片天
不能再叫
梦沉淀搁浅
不能再叫
悲情继续蔓延
撒下心愿
全情灌溉用爱耕心田
仰望渺渺云河边
明月微笑星光点点
来自同一片天
摊开浩荡的历史长卷
翻阅盘古开天的容颜
任豪情无限壮志伸延
让心与心手和手相嵌
我们拥有同样一片天
祸福与共
直到永永远远

The Same Stretch of Sky

written for the 2013 National Library Board “Read! Singapore” campaign
a world of chaos
slowly opening
eyes that have slept for a millennium
vast sea
gradually condensing millions of miles of mulberry fields
deja vu
coming from earth to heaven
from the same stretch of sky
sentimental youth
after the regime change
faces already covered with frost
lift your eyes
aren’t these the flickering tears of a hero
and the resentment that can never be purged
all the compassion
all the sympathy
all the affection
from this same stretch of sky
different skin color
different language
different ancestors
Fate’s evolution
– heaven wants us tightly intertwined
barefoot on the equator
the same sun
the same rain
from this same stretch of sky
never again to allow
dreams to founder, stranded
never again to allow
sorrow to continue to spread
scattering the dream
love fills the irrigation channels
cultivating the heart
watching the river of clouds above
the moon smiles in the stars’ twinkling
coming from the same stretch of sky
spread the scrolls of the chronicles
read of Pangu opening up the heavens
with all our lofty ideals
let heart and heart
hand and hand be joined
we all have this same stretch of the sky
our shared good fortune
now and forever
(Reprinted with thanks to The Arts House, Singapore)
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September 1, 2017
Xu Zhimo – ‘Listening to a Wagner Opera’ (translated by Shelly Bryant)
June 19, 2017
Shelly Bryant – five poems
May 19, 2017
Poetry, Translation

Chow Teck Seng – 出入停车场 (translated into English by Yong Shu Hoong)

Singapore-born Chow Teck Seng writes poetry primarily in Chinese. Frequently contributing to literary journals, anthologies and the Chinese press in Singapore and abroad, he has won awards such as the Singapore Literature Prize (2014) and Golden Point Award (2009). His poems in English translation are found in & Words: Poems Singapore and Beyond (2010), Union: 15 Years of Drunken Boat, 50 Years of Writing from Singapore (2015), SG Poems 2015–2016 and the online journal, Poetry at Sangum. They have also been adapted as short films by students of Lasalle College of the Arts in 2017. A former lecturer (in Chinese-language literature) at the National University of Singapore and National Institute of Education, he is currently pursuing a PhD at Cambridge University.

 

出入停车场*

  

车子持续倒退

到位、无回、不悔

不能够有发光的青春碎片

火箭降落了

回忆开走了

柏拉图像飞走的伞

停车场常伪装为一枚句号

习惯系上了安全带

预备在车程中观赏一段周而复始的连续剧

雨刷的动作让我以为这是一出怀旧电影

预感是影印出来的大海

眼神是指南针

望后镜中的目光终于接近最熟悉最普通的温柔

不是错位,不能忘记回过身

 

原来停车场亦不是逗号

明天和旅程不会重复

街灯和拉上的手控刹车器轻声告诉你

停车是一道暧昧不清、赤裸的分号

停顿的微光和下车的脚步声

连身裙似的把错落情节依次缝起

 

下雨的停车场像停尸间

送走的尸体刚走掉的幸福

 

 

Entering/Exiting a Carpark

By Chow Teck Seng

 

The car keeps backing

into position, no return, no regret –

no longer possessing the shiny shards of youth.

The rocket has landed.

The memory has wandered off.

Plato, like a flyaway brolly.

The carpark frequently disguises itself as a full stop.

Habitually buckling up the seatbelt

preparing to enjoy a repetitive miniseries during the journey –

the wiping effect makes me think of this as a nostalgic film.

Premonition is a xeroxed sea.

Between the eyes, the needle of a compass.

Within that rear-view glance, finally a most familiar and mundane tenderness.

Not a dislocation, but unable to forget ever turning back.

 

So the carpark is also not a comma.

The next day, as well as the journey, will not repeat.

Streetlamps and the pulled handbrake softly inform you

that a car, stopping, is an unclear and naked semicolon.

The taillights and the sound of alighting footsteps

stitch up the misaligned scenes like garment seams.

 

The carpark, in the rain, is like the fleeing

happiness of a corpse that has just left the mortuary.

 

(Translation by Yong Shu Hoong)

 

* previously published, without the English translation, in Chow Teck Seng’s Poetry of You and Me (Lingzi Media, 2012)
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Poetry, Translation

Yong Shu Hoong – The Path of Least Resistance (translated into Chinese by Chow Teck Seng)

Yong Shu Hoong has authored one poetry chapbook, Right of the Soil (2016), as well as five poetry collections, including Frottage (2005) and The Viewing Party (2013), which won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2006 and 2014 respectively. His poems and short stories have been published in literary journals like Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and Asia Literary Review (Hong Kong), and anthologies like Language for a New Century (W.W. Norton, 2008). He is the editor of anthologies like Passages: Stories of Unspoken Journeys (2013), as well as Here Now There After (2017), which was part of The Commuting Reader series commissioned for the #BuySingLit movement. He is one of the four co-authors of The Adopted: Stories from Angkor (2015) and Lost Bodies: Poems Between Portugal and Home (2016).

 

The Path of Least Resistance

 

Sit back, relax… unclench the fists.

It’s peace of mind we’re paying for –

and we’re paying a lot – when we

entrust the task of navigating these

unacquainted roads to an assigned

driver-for-hire. But this hardly

justifies our trust in the system; or

is it a collective resignation to fate?

Fate, as in the game of chance,

or divine will that we assume will

always be to our advantage. Breathe

in and out, as our van weaves in and

out of traffic flow. We’d like to think

the driver knows what he’s doing,

though he doth tootle on the horn

too much, especially when he’s trying

to warn any car that gets in his way

and needs to be overtaken. It seems

one false move by one of the many

stakeholders could spell disaster, yet

everything hangs in balance. Faith,

I tell my agitated heart, faith! Let

nature – the human kind included

– take its course, as man and car meld

into a single deity, all-seeing, that

rips us through the slaughter of sun

and sheets of rain, passing road-

hogging tuk-tuks along mist-shrouded

winding roads… before providing

in these verdant hills and plantations

an elixir for the violence of our pursuit.

 

 

 

通往无碍之路

 

坐下,放轻松…握紧的拳头松开

为了安心 就用钱来买方便
却买出个代价  这是我们
到陌生地  把驾驶工作 交托

某一随机安排租车司机   的结果 这还

真辜负了大家对体制的信任 或说
这只是种集体宿命行为?
命运  一种或然率的游戏

抑或 一种我们总误会  会天从人意
的天意    来 来  深吸一口气

再呼气   小包车在车流中骄纵

蛇行   我们本该信任

身为司机  当知其所当为  即使

他的连环追命喇叭  按得着实

过多  而且是为肃清自己前行车道  防止

任何挡路、意欲超车者介入  仿佛

警告其他公路使用者  千钧一发

错误  将导致他们的灾难       信任
我告诉自己亢奋的小心脏  要信任
任一切  顺其自然   自是那种

人为的自然——人、车将

天人合一    成仙成佛  仿佛  人在做

天在看  我们如何穿透雨  穿过夺命的阳光

穿过所有在蜿蜒路上挡道的嘟嘟车

九死一生后   再为我们的横行霸道

用葱葱郁郁之山峦与稻田
豁然指引出   一条救赎之道

 

(Translation by Chow Teck Seng)

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Poetry, Translation

Chow Teck Seng – “穿上 脱下 ——穿衣的哲学” (translated into English by Yong Shu Hoong)

Singapore-born Chow Teck Seng writes poetry primarily in Chinese. Frequently contributing to literary journals, anthologies and the Chinese press in Singapore and abroad, he has won awards such as the Singapore Literature Prize (2014) and Golden Point Award (2009). His poems in English translation are found in & Words: Poems Singapore and Beyond (2010), Union: 15 Years of Drunken Boat, 50 Years of Writing from Singapore (2015), SG Poems 2015–2016 and the online journal, Poetry at Sangum. They have also been adapted as short films by students of Lasalle College of the Arts in 2017. A former lecturer (in Chinese-language literature) at the National University of Singapore and National Institute of Education, he is currently pursuing a PhD at Cambridge University.

 

穿上 脱下

    ——穿衣的哲学*

 

你脱下,我们穿上

穿上纯真,脱下端庄

美丽的幼儿园我们穿上校服

裹在一个哪吒还未被遗忘的年代

步向水漫小学学堂快乐的倾盆中

脱下原本刷了白油的帆布鞋

脱下,洁白的颜色如水脱下

脱,连濡湿的袜子都脱下

然后穿上明年,穿上成长

 

穿上睡衣、白衣蓝裙、衬衫、长裤皮鞋

穿上内衣、家居服、百慕达、拖鞋

扣纽扣、绑上腰带、拉平皱痕

拉上拉链、整理领口

女人画唇画眉、上妆

涂上香水、装上耳环

僧人穿上僧服、世人结上领带

树穿上像化妆品面膜的日光

穿上如网的年轮

脱下叶子、美貌

男人穿上军服,戴上爱国主义

脱下春夏秋冬

削了皮的苹果,《小王子》中摇尾的狐狸

蛇褪下过时的蛇皮,壁虎脱掉时间的尾巴

天使是穿上衣服还是赤身裸体?

魔鬼是戴上面具抑或是裸露狰狞?

 

在陌生的婚宴、政治正确的场合

我们最终穿上笔挺的西装

外套、面具,一副金框的眼镜

手中紧握着酒杯

酒杯,它戴着一副世故的光亮

 

 

Put On/Slip Off

– The philosophy of dressing

 

By Chow Teck Seng

 

 

You slip off, we put on

Put on innocence, slip off decorum.

For our beautiful kindergarten we put on uniforms

Tucked in an era where Nezha hadn’t yet been forgotten

Walking towards the school’s rain-soaked compound

Slipping off canvas shoes coated with whitener

Slipping off, the whiteness slips off like water

Slipping, even the wet socks slip off,

And then putting on the upcoming year, putting on growth.

 

Putting on pyjamas white shirt blue skirt dress shirt trousers leather shoes

Putting on underwear house clothes Bermuda shorts slippers

Button up, belt up, smoothen the creases

Zip up, tidy up the collar.

The women paint their lips, ink their brows, put on makeup

Dab on perfume, fix on earrings.

The monks put on robes, the heathens knot their neckties.

The trees put on sunshine as a cosmetic mask

Put on the years like a net

Slip off leaves and beauty.

The men put on army uniforms and wear patriotism on their sleeves

Slip off the four seasons.

The apples are skinless, the fox is wagging its tail in The Little Prince,

The snakes unroll outdated skins, the lizards shake off their timely tails.

Are angels fully-clothed or naked?

Is the devil masked or baring his fangs?

 

In wedding banquets of strangers, and politically-correct occasions,

We would still be putting on sharp suits

Jackets, masks, gold-rimmed glasses

Wine glasses tight in our clasp –

Glasses that wear a certain sophisticated sheen.

 

(Translation by Yong Shu Hoong)

 

* previously published, without the English translation, in Chow Teck Seng’s Poetry of You and Me (Lingzi Media, 2012)

 

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Poetry, Translation

Yong Shu Hoong – Skin-deep (translated into Chinese by Chow Teck Seng)

Yong Shu Hoong has authored one poetry chapbook, Right of the Soil (2016), as well as five poetry collections, including Frottage (2005) and The Viewing Party (2013), which won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2006 and 2014 respectively. His poems and short stories have been published in literary journals like Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and Asia Literary Review (Hong Kong), and anthologies like Language for a New Century (W.W. Norton, 2008). He is the editor of anthologies like Passages: Stories of Unspoken Journeys (2013), as well as Here Now There After (2017), which was part of The Commuting Reader series commissioned for the #BuySingLit movement. He is one of the four co-authors of The Adopted: Stories from Angkor (2015) and Lost Bodies: Poems Between Portugal and Home (2016).

 

Skin-deep

 

When a batch of my books arrives

from my publisher’s warehouse, I notice

 

Added annotations: yellowed specks

and blotches; I worry about customer

complaints over such imperfections.

 

A more understanding reader accepts

these pages as living tissues capable

of aging gracefully with the weather.

 

Nothing remains in mint condition

 

For too long. When I part my shirt,

I try to decrypt the coded message

of moles new and ancient; scars

of different vintages; spots, like the

smattering on the sun’s photosphere…

 

Then learning how Roman soldiers

used to chisel faces off statues, I

consider what memories I wish to

blanch from history, which words

to erase from skin. And enquire:

Should I advocate a return to that

shrink-wrapped state of newness?

 

Or otherwise remain, like grand

trees that lent me their name,

peaceable within reams of barks:

 

What’s mottled, and overlaid with lichens,

is a new body for my remaining journey.

 

深入皮相

 

当自己一批诗集从

出版社货仓 抵达家中 赫然发觉

 

竟新添注脚:大小黄斑

点点。我有点忧心,会否

有人客诉,是瑕疵品

 

善解人意的读者一定理解:

书页也如生死的皮肤组织

是阴晴干湿、岁月的优雅见证

一切皆不能恒久弥新

 

太久。像舍一件上衣时

我尽可能为一切新旧斑、痣

属不同复古潮流的痕  太阳敷于上

的一层浅薄光晕等  密码般解密

 

在知悉罗马士兵如何

自雕像上锥除一张张的脸后

我更思索自己会从历史中漂白

哪份记忆  把哪些文辞

从皮肤上删改剔除?并追问:

我是否还该鼓吹   回归

裹上透明包装纸  的那种新

 

又或,留。留如树会借我名字

留若树死留皮  成纸成册    留则

成就树之宏伟不朽  与强悍巍峨——

 

而那长苔、 长廯的将是我

留存人间最后旅程    的新肉身

 

(Translation by Chow Teck Seng)

 

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Poetry

Annie Christain – Dragon Ball Z Censored for an American Audience: “One Night in Beijing”

Annie Christain is an assistant professor of composition and ESOL at SUNY Cobleskill with poems appearing in Seneca Review, Oxford Poetry, The Chariton Review, and The Lifted Brow, among others. She received the grand prize of the 2013 Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Contest, the 2013 Greg Grummer Poetry Award, the 2015 Oakland School of the Arts Enizagam Poetry Award, and the 2015 Neil Shepard Prize in Poetry. Additional honors include her being selected for the Shanghai Swatch Art Peace Hotel Artist Residency and the Arctic Circle Autumn Art and Science Expedition Residency.

 

Dragon Ball Z Censored for an American Audience: “One Night in Beijing”

 

I seek out a woman so I can talk to her about her breasts,

and she says it’s brave of me to claim I see them.

She’s been growing flowers with her husband for years,

and she talks about the flowers like they’re the land of the dead,

like she’s afraid to get lost at midnight around them.

It’s decided it’s more acceptable for me to scrub her back.

She says: They’ll drink the blood but with flower roots in their hair.

She means her husband is tending to the flowers

while lying on his side.  I’m scrubbing her too hard but can’t stop.

Before this, I forgot dirt exists under cement roads.

To be more specific,

we’re both standing in Baihuashenchu Alley,

her back to me, no water. I’m just using a hairbrush on her back.

Harder, she screams.

Her hair takes on the quality of roots,

and I see now the tips are actually in the dirt.

How is there not any blood on her back?

But what’s in the ground is lapping up liquid.

We’re in this alley, and I see the key-maker

who’s sitting on his stool—he opens his mouth and a fly comes out.

I forgot what I did to her husband with my hands

prior to her smearing him with the paint roller.

She bends down to moan and breathe near him to simulate life.

She can travel any distance with her hair still in the soil.

I can’t get her skin tone right

after I realize she has a back where her chest should be.

When I saw her yesterday tending to the flowers with her husband

but looking at me for too long, I saw her shirt said HFIL,

but any kid can tell that it used to be HELL.

I look again, and just for a second I see a shadow

is actually a decapitated dinosaur.  This place is too much.

Are they timeless beings or just scientists who can bend light around objects?

I want to call her a gender neutral term,

so I say “elderly person,” and that feels right.

The grieving souls—wolves waiting for me at the gate

cascade up, a hideous arch. Frozen or displayed,

they end at the wall in a pile.

I am now where artists get their ideas.

She says: I picked this to be the last thing you see.

I’m not dying; I’m going to another dimension,

but I must leave everything here.

 

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Poetry, Translation

Scott L. Satterfield – translation of “A Mean Abode” by Liu Yuxi

陋室铭

山不在高,有仙则名。水不在深,有龙则靈。斯是陋室,惟吾德馨。苔痕上階绿,草色入帘青。谈笑有鸿儒,往来无白丁。可以调素琴,阅金经。无丝竹之乱耳,无案牍之劳形。南阳诸葛庐,西蜀子云亭。孔子云,【何陋之有?】

 

刘禹锡

 

A Mean Abode

It is not how high the mountain, if there be spirits within fame follows. It is not how deep the water, if there be dragons within wonder follows. In this mean abode, only my self graces it. Traces of moss cover the steps green, grass shows green through the hung screen. The learned are here for talks and laughter, no unlettered folk come and go. I can play simple melodies, read the scriptures. No strings or flutes troubling the ear, no papers tiring body and soul. Here is as famous men of integrity passed simple lives in mean places far apart.*

So did Confucius ask, “ In what manner is this mean?”

 

  • Liu Yuxi (772–842)
*As Nanyang’s (Henan) Zhu Gelu and as distant Shu (Sichuan) in the West, Yangze’s pavilion.
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