Meng Lang 孟浪 poetry translations

The Poetry of Meng Lang 孟浪

Selections: 1983-1995

Meng Lang was born in 1961 in Shanghai. From the early 1980s, Meng was very active in the publication and editing some of Shanghai’s major unofficial poetry journals, such as On the Sea 海上 and Continent 大陆. From 1981 until 1985, Meng also edited his own small poetry journal under the title MN. In 1986-1988, Meng was living in Shenzhen where he assisted Xu Jingya in editing the “Grand Poetry Exhibition”, published in October 1986 in the Shenzhen Youth Daily and The Poetry Press, and the resultant book, published in Shanghai in 1988. Later, in 1995, after increasing difficulties with the police, Meng was able to emigrate to the USA, where he continues to write poetry.

1) An Unemployed Worker Wanders the Boulevard [失业工人游逛大街]

2) Get a Cure [劝医]

3) A Sanatorium on the Spanish Coast [西班牙海滨的疗养所]

4) A Fixed Address [定居]

5) Bare-Armed Men in a Village [村里光膀的男人]

6) A Fish that Crossed a Bridge [过桥的鱼]

7) Winter [冬天]

8) The Elevator Revolution [电梯革命]

9) 01:28 Still Alive [01:28还活着]

10) The True Color of Iron [铁的本色]

11) A Mystical Experience [神秘经验]

12) An Image [图像]

13) A Graveyard for the Vocabulary [语言公墓]

14) A Stage-prop Gun [道具枪]

15) Don't Let the Grief Out [不放走悲痛]

16) A Life in This Century [本世纪的一个生者]

17) The World [世界]

18) Death of a Married Woman [一个妇人的死]

19) A Gunman of the Industrial Age [工人时代的枪手]

20) A Sequence of April Poems [四月的一组]

21) Running from April Toward May [从四月奔向五月]

22) Notes on a Winter Season [冬季随笔]

23) A Millennium [千年]

24) As if just Waking from a Dream of China [如梦中国初醒时]

25) The Gas Lamp in History [历史上的汽灯]

26) No Way to Finish It [无法结束]

27) Power Takes a Beating [力量遭受击打]

28) Let's Face up to a Nation's Other Face [让我们面对一个国家的反面]

29) This Sort of Child [这样一位孩子]

30) The Structure of Mankind [人类的结构]

31) Private Notations: The Extermination Of An Era [私人笔记:一个时代的消灭]

32) A Well Brought-up Accountant [有教养的会计员]

33) O Lofty Autumn, a Patch of Your Face is Blurred [高原的秋天呵,你的脸模糊一片]

34) A Pioneer [一个先驱]

35) On the Canopy of Heaven the Heavy Rain Bends [大雨在天幕上弯曲]

36) She Runs Rapidly Back to Girlhood [谈迅速奔回了少女时代]

37) A Terrorist [恐怖分子]

38) Story of a Dream [梦的故事]

39) A Passport to Travel [旅行护照]

An Unemployed Worker Wanders the Boulevard [失业工人游逛大街]

A cover girl stares deep seated into your feelings

Turns out that there are deep and shallow ones

There are thick and thin popular magazines

the prices cheap or dear

if I weigh them in my hand

the cover girl will jump heedlessly to the ground

kick up her heels, take off

And now no substitute offers

to fill the vast blank space on the cover

you turn the cover

inside, brave fish are stranded belly up in the shallows

dead glazed stares

Later you lay down the magazine

think of the next boss you'll see

the inevitable smiling face

of the fathomless deep

Get a Cure [劝医]

In a jungle guerrillas and government troops trade fire

but malaria assaults both

no friends no foes.

You hope to find work in the capital.

Have you seen Latin-American-style disappearances

weren't you told to read today's evening paper

the lead item reports this quarter's fourteenth

case of a disappeared girl.


I'll tell you what it is to disappear

it's a bloodless murder.

At the twenty-nine kilometer mark on the Number Three suburban highway

in open land four hundred meters away on the left

twenty-two nameless bodies were unearthed

all young men.

Their craniums all mercilessly smashed with blunt objects.

No gun reports

no sound!

What can you still hope for here.

The last five surviving guerrillas

crossed the border long ago.

And a mountain brigade major accompanied by his wife

will come to have you treat a gun wound to the face.

A Sanatorium on the Spanish Coast [西班牙海滨的疗养所]

Here chairs are full of expectations

two chairs facing each other

or two chairs aligned

You walk up close

and all say the chairs are empty

you walk up and immediately walk away

Later the chairs develop a terrible itch

grow moss

and also strike the pose

of the arthritic

You come with your legs

and leave with them

if you're not careful hip bones will slip their sockets

the chairs' hopes come to nothing, inevitably

no one cares

When you

finally stuff legs into the long pockets of your trousers

inch by inch

the uprising

earth buries the chairs

Ruthlessness also has its own meter

there's no lighthouse on the island's barrier reef

only a candle stick

A Fixed Address [定居]

You've experienced failure

defeat of the flesh

your bones are completely exposed

Day by day

the traveler’s toothbrush

exhibits his mortality

The whole point

has to do with the defeat of flowers

and an air crash

A surge of immigrants toward another island

see the defeated fish

sink into the carcass of the plane

Dinosaurs experienced defeat before you

at this moment in cities

it creeps up on the crowds

Bare-Armed Men in a Village [村里光膀的男人]

Just as the crest of the flood's due to arrive

the sound of clothes pounding is as thick as a cloudburst

But our arms are bare, our hands

have desires

Hands that once were drying rough garments in a river bed that was hatching black pebbles

that once embroidered pairs of phoenixes on the coarse bodices of the garments

Flee the unending disaster:

But our arms are bare, our hands

hang near death

As the crest of the flood arrives

the women pounding the clothes float into view, midriffs bare

draped in beautiful hair

goddesses of the wash striding slow toward distant mountains

The flood's close to us now

A Fish that Crossed a Bridge [过桥的鱼]

Used to an unconventional life

this fish has a greater desire to swim leisurely over the bridge

from this bank to that

When we lower our heads we see the river under the bridge

her figure

of flowing water glitters and trembles, sobs

It's not in darkness

Together, with this fish, passing over the top of the bridge

we decent people are

off to do serious business

moving from this bank toward that

The bridge's shadow tosses in the undulations of the river

now it's empty of people

now we've dropped behind the fish

and watch him swim gracefully deep into the earth

Winter [冬天]

The poem points toward itself

I throw on a coat

and pass through an empty land

disappearing in a city. A bronze,

I can't get a foot in

the poem points to the inner being

four snow-white walls

someone could live in this empty room

On the other hand. Together let's pass through

this lot of unoccupied land pass through

this city pass through

the poem itself

We can also live there

raise a fire, strip off overcoats

even underwear

reveal ourselves. Face up to the poem

or depart from it.

The Elevator Revolution [电梯革命]

Plotting to go on living

they converse casually with the dead

From this stretch of dirt the dead

prop up their bodies

wanting a cigarette

tossing black hair

that hasn't left the tops of their heads

The hats grieve

pushed into the pit of their stomachs

they emit lamentations

Soon after, talk of life with the dead

new lodgers


in upstairs rooms

How to go on living

Remains in ashtrays

pile high and higher

they call the lodgers downstairs

to sit on a sofa

and sink into it together

01:28 Still Alive [01:28还活着]

These live faces overripe faces

these fruits grow overhead

nobody can eat anybody else

again and again they eye one another

These faces make a great show of living

but I live in complete embarrassment

a twist of my head

and it drops off

Now the faces won't see

my whereabouts

again and again the faces eye each other

no one else drops off

These fruits are a beautiful eyeful

jam is like a violence done by the fruit

these faces preserve a final bouquet of dignity

the fruits make a great show of growing on the same tree

The True Color of Iron [铁的本色] Shenzhen, Nov. 12, 1987

Feminine fingers brush through the iron of the old year.

Brush out your eyebrows with black paint

they won't flake or rust for ten years.

Seeing the true color of iron

a man in his maturity

bypasses the bowl of clear water

The iron in my hair

the iron in my blood

makes me enter the oxygen of your life

A sharp razor blade

is impressed on

the back of my hand. Your lips

refuse red paint.

A Mystical Experience [神秘经验] Shenzhen, Nov. 16, 1987

You could die for the first installment

Here I insert

a door.

Its lonely guard

has finished reading the first installment.

You could die for the door

inside it there is the second installment

on the table.

The lonely guard has relaxed his hand

I am reading

You could die for the second installment

I've opened the door

and finally join the two together.

The guard is faced with the third installment

and I'm in the process of inserting a newcomer

They could die for a blank sheet of paper.

This is the final installment, this is the back of the door

An Image [图像] Shenzhen, Nov. 22, 1987

The ballistic me, smooth, graceful

gone without a trace

From under her hairpin

the woman you're incapable of loving pulls a gun

your right kneecap

will take the mild blow.

Half the city's

bright, clean domes are lifted away.

And then the toxic me

complicated, profound

seeps into the city

flows over every street possible.

Behind a transparent cup

the woman's in a sleep from which she won't wake.

Dragging the injured leg

you head toward a blood bank that doesn't exist.

A Graveyard for the Vocabulary [语言公墓] Changsha, March 20, 1989

Words are horribly silent

the speaker covers his mouth,

already hurt.

Complete sentences are everywhere

Whole meanings

that no one expresses,

the speaker puts up with.

Everywhere the meaningless

rumbling of wheels

a succession of passengers stable

words in bodies

and the speaker dashes up to inspect the wounds.

He's on the road of human hubbub

he's at the graveyard for words.

A Stage-prop Gun [道具枪] Shanghai, Sept. 24, 1989

Measure how long a concert lasts with a rifle

wrong notes everywhere

the polite audience's too late to miss them.

The concert's a blanket of silence

covertly more people are listening in

to the tremble of strings

because it is likely the performers will quickly go under cover.

The fake ears I take to the concert

are probably the earphones of happiness

happiness' earmuffs


Truer sounds cease under guard.

On all sides gunfire rises.

Don't Let the Grief Out [不放走悲痛] Shanghai, Oct. 11, 1989

I often come out of my body, and breathe there far away

my heartbeat still all around me

the most stirring thing is to carelessly

make myself rise up.

A rag or two of strange clothing

filled by the wind, I'm blown breathless

From all directions more people reach out to touch me

asking each other: What miracle's this?

Already, in the intangible, I've lost my form

as if my soul faces the crowd, so closely

it has almost lost any distance between

Everyone is covering the pit of their stomach, and won't let the grief out.

A Life in This Century [本世纪的一个生者]

Learn to breathe fake air

and then to speak

true words

At this time I write poetry

spread lies

those who live in this building

are all my closest friends

a pity I don't know any of them

My heart is full of enemies

Pull a revolver out from under

a heart specialist's pillow

I'm really going to die

in the fake air

Surviving enemies

flee to the rear

slipping into a girl's middle school

a counterfeit teacher's teaching

battlefield first-aid

First you must learn how to live quietly

in the fake air

when not writing poetry

I bind up the false casualties

Casualties everywhere

make their wounds true

Simultaneously they with me are delivered

to a red-cross hospital

the first treatment is very perfunctory

I quit writing for life

The World [世界]

If your hand relaxes, the world will collapse in front of you

you must grip it hard by the collar

you must treat it as a person too

yearning to share their blood

You must find its cut

you must undo its underclothes

you must be allowed a free hand

Actually you have only this one chance to save it

over all these years, the world lay comatose on your shoulder

just for this once

Death of a Married Woman [一个妇人的死]

Sewing scissors

manufacture virtue. The death of a married woman

falls at your feet

I stride over

the corpse. Over the virtue

want to sweep the room clean

and live there afresh

odor-full of a living person

I've gone beyond virtue. The sunlight is radiant

the apparition of a woman

lets out extraordinary colors in the corner

Wearing clothing made by a married woman. During the whole process

the scissors

were stuck in my heart

no one will come to pick them up again

A Gunman of the Industrial Age [工人时代的枪手]

A trigger's stuck to my index finger

a danger to others to oneself

it's always so considerate

If the gun's all one piece

if the hand's all there

and consciousness intact

these items won't lack for hatred

Don't go imagining things,

what should point to the sky today

is chimneys

but then how does one account for

the cannon

Don't lean too heavy on the imagination

but the butt between your fingers

already won't be stubbed out

nor can it be thrown away

A Sequence of April Poems [四月的一组] Shanghai, April 1990


The original stance

like the killer's is already over

what appears evasive still continues.

But the original stances

of deception and murder

are enjoyed forever by a prominent bandit


His words touch on the crux of it

truth is outspoken

like the fresh blood that flows from a wound

A mouth is battered

the truth is spoken.


A trip of a thousand miles

a lover's arms aren't what's retrieved

Damage to human nature

during the movement's hasty steps

I can't move at all


Who's the violent criminal?

During the recrimination

those sitting upright are indistinguishable

the rights and wrongs or sitting upright are vague

Whoever's the violent criminal

he's the soughing of fallen trees

when the wind rises again metal's fully exposed


The original stance

was one of speaking, so difficult

was the walking stance, on the way to losing it

I abandon all stances

Running from April Toward May [从四月奔向五月] Shenzhen, May 1990


Hold back the sweet hot blood

hold back the startled high-strung horses of life

and the unstoppable wild grasslands too

With hands I cover the aching pit of my stomach

cover the huge unseen sore

and sigh over my depleted capacity to run


In this anguish, my last steps –

still incapable of deceiving the dirt

My last steps

have no imagination

and tread the great dry track

A high-strung horse gallops out from our palms


Sacredly a cigarette burns

it will also reach the last stretch

I search for the finish, endless conclusion

an end from which there is no coming back

The wild horse of life vanishes in my wearisome maneuvers

Notes on a Winter Season [冬季随笔] Shanghai, Nov. 1990


Because of my shouts the sky goes hoarse

and no one can hear the thunder

Because of the sky's shouts I go hoarse

my breath gets lighter and lighter

After me who will do the yelling?

In the sky there are only the tracks drawn by the wings of birds

only the sobs of birds

swallowed by me, my face averted


The snow falls straight onto the dust

the dust falls straight into the heart

my heart, falls straight

into a place where you wouldn't believe it could go.


A heavy snow calmly and peacefully

is dissolving the iron in the firearms

in regimental order an army enters the cemetery and is given immortality.

The heavy snow calmly and peacefully

leaves you unable to catch even a glimpse of the sky

and, me, to shout

One by one my heart beats

at the grave stones of the blameless dead

my heart, wanting to wake the whole cemetery or the world


The voice goes hoarse

the sky takes up the shout

Thunder is the sound of the sky snoring

let it sleep soundly too

But thunder is the sky snoring

the sky is unwearying:

Team down, all winter

let the cries in the sky be transformed into a blizzard of crows!

A Millennium [千年] Shanghai, June 1991


Plot after plot of full, mature crops surge toward a hunger

the tip of that tide wets my tongue

How bashful you are in the dark, political acts


Keep up with me, together we'll correct the mistake that confronts us

use our entire bodies to blot it out

We've covered up the facts

so, we win universal affirmation -­-

among the powerful peasants we're surely the pits


A mosquito poises over the world smelting iron

or playing a piano

In whose mind is the error magnified once more

An old mosquito throws itself at politics

in the face of the nation

runs into a wall

and under the skin and the time

the thick blood vessels of the peasants are unforthcoming


Keep up with me, together we'll correct the error that confronts

use our entire bodies to blot it out

No! Use our own fresh blood

scour all scum off our body

As it reaps, the powerful peasant's hand

miscues and chops into his own self


The harvests roll down from their summit

and weigh down on my shoulders too

like a crow, hunger takes off from my body

bearing his wound the powerful peasant confronts the politics of it

O, my tongue's soaked in a bitterness that's been brewing for a millennium

As if just Waking from a Dream of China [如梦中国初醒时]

(A sequence of 6 poems; Shanghai, Nov. 1991)


The drowsiness at noon is also vague, my fierce tiger

devours me, till the sunset's fearsome afterglow spills across the sky

I won't say if it isn't my blood what could it be

Rumbling over the street the carcass of a race has just been dragged away

together the uneaten limbs exert themselves

the shadow of the tiger falls genteelly into the darkness of my embrace

Overnight the hair of the people who've lost their second names grows thick

helplessly they face east and welcome the lonely sunrise

during her morning toilette a drop of nameless blood is smeared on a woman's lips

The scenery in the city, its people and its systems, is full of murderous intent

one whole human heart encompasses a bright tiger skin

at noon, while the world is still on the verge of losing me .....


Honor is evoked from out of the blood, extracted

I see fresh flowers. And then brutality

This is the tradition, a range of mountains

unfamiliar to me, a young motorcyclist rides between true and false

For later smouldering generations women enter the struggle

the setting of that sun is concealed in the invisibly wounded heart

In an embrace the west wind raids the vacant seats of disease

I approach an order, also, decline

Honor evoked from out of the blood, extracted

slowly a star settles anchored to the tattooed

arm of the motorcyclist …..


He'll only make the sacrifice for a lofty goal

a not necessarily bad notion tortures him

he peers about at the popular arts world, he's flipped through the prevailing atmosphere

I probably struggle in vain for a lofty purpose too

He'll make the sacrifice for a sublime purpose

a not necessarily bad result awaits him

he looks to the sky and sighs, disregarding the atmosphere entirely

for a lofty purpose I was once an exemplar

for a sublime goal, he is he

I am me

in this atmosphere, all are in search of each other

I look at me, I look at him, suddenly there's a direction .....


A beast in a forest of white bones shuttles back and forth

head raised or lowered it can't free the hunger from its belly

a cruel reality: it can't run the course of mankind's mangled road

A beast is not a human being. How can it understand

I'm above it, listening respectfully to the desolate gospel issued forth from above me

let the beast pass, let its white bones reappear on the path through a lifetime .....


A barren unpeopled wilderness

everywhere a tension towers aloft

An invisible carriage hidden in the distant past

rumbles close

The reinsman merely dips his head and flips the page gently

a great wind sweeps people up, makes them stand

You must find the shoe that came off when it was crushed

and the ripped-off empty sleeve

A barren unpeopled wilderness

your teeth fall out here and there, and slowly take root .....


Several startling errors are contained between this earth and sky

but I pull away from the mantle of earth, and see my red heart

In this atmosphere, everybody's heart can't be avoided

the final blow it deals. The chance for correction it gives, or doesn't

The chance to grow makes himself the error itself

makes me secrete unexpected wounds, the earth is flat and unaffected

This is far from a crime, far from an escape into the air

error treads on the head of error, man's life can't find its way back to the starting block

The inevitable finish that rushes toward us, the crust of the swelling earth

I leap across too, like a great volcano with great mouthfuls I clear out a basin full of blood .....

The Gas Lamp in History [历史上的汽灯] Oct. 20, 1992

A torch out of Tibet

an arm burning straight

receives treatment in an army hospital farther on

He's sick, an arm's festering

the arm's sawn off altogether by an army doctor

The torch sends out its last lick of flame

the infantry hospital gradually darkens

a silent tent erected there

lights up its fresh red heart

a pale open gas lamp under the light

No Way to Finish It [无法结束]Oct. 30, 1992

A lovely country ruled by illusions

a traveller from another land places his complete credence in fate

a valise of scenery, a bag of embryos

weighed at customs, stamped

the citizen weight -- short

gladness, twinkles in the colorful drawing of a starry sky

an army surges out of barracks, and drinks green beer

in one woman's dream the king of the country is killed

a surplus of sorrow runs over the boulevards

guiltily a locomotive peels off or hauls on its black smoke .....

Power Takes a Beating [力量遭受击打] Nov. 8, 1992

Wrapped in women's kerchiefs with large-bird prints

fiercely the mob flocks after the world's velocity

they don't say they're fugitives

Standing in front of a target that appears to be a sick friend far away

time after time they're pulled asunder by the sheer distance of the world

distance, distance, phases of emotion such as these

they acknowledge as their goal

For the last time they pound power in strenuously

unable to escape, the kerchiefs rise up lamely

Hey, they acknowledge they're fugitives

and so finally fix the road signs and the world passes them by

This mob will be haunted by the road

they'll have to take their kerchiefs off on bare ground

no choice, they'll follow the great birds' struggle to fly free of the sky

Let's Face up to a Nation's Other Face [让我们面对一个国家的反面] Nov. 26, 1992

Let us face up to the other face of the nation

let's turn over the literacy cards

the railroad turns into a narrow winding path

like burial mounds overgrown by weeds: coal

The other face of a nation, the children finally know!

(It can't be seen, nothing is there to see.)

Let's face up to a nation's darkness

let's light the oil lamp

the railroad, it's already arrived in the past

coal, because of coal, miners never come back up to the world of man

a nation's darkness, embryos can feel it better!

(It can't be seen, nothing is there to see.)

This Sort of Child [这样一位孩子]

Even if despair arrives

this sort of a child still has expectations

at this kind of a time

this child is even more helpless in a commune of ten thousand jostling heads.

This sort of a child

saw the locomotive of frantic times burst out of the commune

in the commune a mother suckles another babe

at this kind of a time

this child heard his own cries

and in a flash was in the wild, maturing, growing quickly.

Even if despair arrives

this sort of a child doesn't dodge it

at this kind of a time

this commune is all of man's despair

the laborer's back is bent under the weight of the fruit in his quota

alone under the sky this child offers up his young face with both hands.

The Structure of Mankind [人类的结构]

On the front-line under fire

a professor's pulled into the bunker

he passes out in the laboratory

two white mice have a greater will to face misfortune on mankind's behalf.

Three rifles propped up together

three soldiers face the nation's test tubes and flasks

three mothers pull a clothesline in three different directions

one end fixed to the three rifles.

Under fire on the frontline

a professor is sent back out

he takes a bullet in the laboratory

the two white mice see it more clearly than the three students.

Three rifles propped against each other

three soldiers going up in smoke and the tranquility of mankind

three mothers think of three sons at the same instant

today the bonfires of their days as students are baking three pairs of flowery swimming trunks.

Private Notations: The Extermination Of An Era [私人笔记:一个时代的消灭]

Selections from a poetry sequence (of 62 poems)

Written January-September 1988 in Changsha

Revised and transcribed in Shenzhen, August 17-18, 1989


The fruit within the sweet knowledge

is chided, like a gardener

those vanities, but still needing

to be grafted onto a bronze plate

no water, no passion

the fruit pits at the center of my endless palm burst out

clothes stripped off, time misspent

fruit like bullets, on a train

transported in an orderly fashion to the front!

In a dance of common folk a seething excitement of limbs

stills the nearby water, freezes

my already-foreseen future

but the unknowable past

follows the limbs of reality butting in

and a gun shoots it away

I've been built into a dam

the dance on the dam

waters the people I ardently love

separating the two gently

peaceably, also constructively

the unwitting blades of a bayonet


Historical woman

stands facing me!

My face's icy bright flame

disappears like gold

I show my sick face to you!

I've been cut back

inside a speeding train

from engine to caboose!

I stop the glass

departing from all containers of meaning!

In places were earth is a foil to me

I must serve as a foil for earth

a tiny dot, black

look into the distance, a falling fish!

All in one piece a swan still has a place to be alone

what you don't see doesn't belong to you!

The broken hand lies, doubtless, on the ground!

The wind blows itself toward the finish

no more a literary symbol, literature's

bird is motionless in midair

taking on the errands of these urges!


In the city televisions with no legs

climb with deep emotion to the top of their antennas

then fly off toward the TV station

This isn't a dream of my golden hours!

Malignant TV benign TV

the television of mankind goes into a tumor

in my life

waiting to appear, awaiting

the cruelest eyes of children!


The fire is blacker than me, you dare not come closer

It’s the darkness of the spirit, let me

dodge the spirit’s flames

I cannot cheer up, this

planet turns awkwardly, makes me hang on

here innocent!


Do you still think of spiritually exterminating me? Do you still think

of saving me corporeally

it's my own responsibility

to use the scalpel, to lie down on the operating table

two people with a stretcher

leave my body in a front-line trench

the age-old war, today

occurs in the pit of your stomach!

Violent coughing, severe shaking

your soul in your hand

to be presented to whom, like a gun

the barrel droops limply down

toward me, completing the motions of metals and high grade

non-metals, the gun that soundlessly leaves

no trace, makes a ruthless sound

a white coat is shaken down over the hospital!


The thousand-year-old man who died young is full of contradictions

sleeps soundly in a twenty-seven-year-old breast, who died young

is his youngest son, in a war

splashing into the unfinished innards of a bomb

the blossom goes up in the air withering

I am the rational tardy honey bee

I smell immortality

nonchalantly, he moves

so feebly, so's the heart still beats

in my breast, harmony, tranquility

it can send you to sleep!

The man who chooses an odd world, chose

an odd vocabulary, not growing into a fish

to wade across this shallow sea, affirms

similarly an odd diver's lonely existence, his fingers rove

he's in a higher place, language

pushes the window beyond his grasp, into the distance

the sounds of moving joints startle him awake, also a keen axe

a higher existence too

his followers are flooding everyplace

but the words don't arrive at their meaning!

A Well Brought-up Accountant [有教养的会计员]

The hand

that felt safe on the pure white tablecloth

is suddenly yanked away from the tabletop

the tablecloth oozes out

a pianist's severed fingers.

A night like sapphire passed through there

and left a doubtful odor of perfume.

Her back to me

the accountant takes inventory of her fingers.

I put the tablecloth away

remove the dinner table too

under the light the ruthless floor reveals

the corpse of a piano

suspended high above the accountant's fingers.

The pianist borrows my hands

to touch all the files

Before we ate

the accountant deliberately knocked over

a bottle of perfume

no motive for homicide was contained in this.

O Lofty Autumn, a Patch of Your Face is Blurred [高原的秋天呵,你的脸模糊一片]

Autumn, leaning

wearily against my door frame is

sunlight probably angling westward.

Who rings my doorbell at noon?


O lofty autumn, your grieving face is in a far-off place.

My neighbor moves soundlessly in his house

sees the blood of sages slowly flow out of midair

the blue ceiling appears to hold its breath.

I halt my steps.

I hear the sounds of furniture capsizing

the sound of a person falling heavily on the floor.

Again the doorbell sounds, I open the door: nobody.

Autumn, west-angling sunlight's innumerable thin long arms

droop down from the roof of my neighbor's home.

My neighbor, the offspring of a sage

just now becomes a bust in the empty space in front of his house

on the fertile earth a wreath has already withered.

I cry

O lofty autumn, a patch of your face is blurred.

A Pioneer [一个先驱]

On foot on the earth

between people

talked of

said to have fallen from space.

Footprints spread all over the place.

A branch

of blood determined to go it alone

goes quietly back to the crowd.

In a dark place, a deep place

giant rocks rumble.

The sound so familiar

wind wraps it up tight.

On the Canopy of Heaven the Heavy Rain Bends [大雨在天幕上弯曲] July 1993

On the canopy of heaven the heavy rain bends

like shoulders loaded down with stones

Ho, a palace in midair, a lofty load of white bones.

The wind blows urgently

this era's backward moving progress

the truth or fiction no one tests

a shin bone hangs high on the horizon

big raindrops suspended above, pour their hearts out to each other.

But the nation has already knuckled under to crude desires

impoverished soldier, use a match stick

to darken the pure water

Fish, none dare spit bubbles:

And in the rain finally somebody

afraid of fearlessness, ashamed of shamelessness

She Runs Rapidly Back to Girlhood [谈迅速奔回了少女时代] October 1993

A city cleaned out for a time by money

a musical fountain, nerves shot, disheveled hair dirty face.

The gardeners chase their female colleague

eventually a dozen big clippers cut off the straw maiden's pigtail.

Facing the once splendid fountain in the center of the street

an old lady crying, the water falls miserably.

She runs rapidly back to the brief bloom of her girlhood

in a mown wheatfield a golden-haired youth slowly rises.

Police indifferently direct this epoch's car backing up

white gloves stained by the blood of that exemplar (Lei Feng).

O a crowd of student's hearts, bitterly mourn what is yet to be

a poem, dares to freeze the murderous air of the whole era.

A Terrorist [恐怖分子] Jan. - March 1995

The mouth of an odd man

vomits up his innards

abacus beads and a ball of string too

after the vomiting's done, he straightens

says My spirit's refreshed for it.

O, he's a militant

ceaselessly fasting, resisting

for him accountants turn the calendar

for him tailors open trunks of clothes -­-

a black cape in the crayon drawing on the month's card:

Today it's the fashions of marvelous women

the odd man, he's naked, eyes closed in repose

“I must think it through, 'the cosmos'

is precisely the piece of underwear that shames me!

Story of a Dream [梦的故事] Jan.-March 1995

The poet attacks nothingness

with his body

this weapon, tonight wanders the street

Nanjing Road, a stretch of dead silence

as if in battle's aftermath, as if even farther

food drifts after the parachutes

Iron once burnt red-hot by a factory

both cold and black, reveals a fearsome wound

a dream is growing crooked, transforming swords into plows

A contingent of peasants disappears down Tibet Road

on the surface of Liqing Lake there are no footprints

they are merely fortunate reflections

The poet attacks nothingness

gradually he comes to

his fists relax, the cracks between his fingers stuck full of stars

A Passport to Travel [旅行护照] Jan.-March 1995

In a long-range view, China vanishes!

People rush around confused

the frightening news is broadcast everywhere

they say they'd rather be myopic! Short-sighted!

So, wearing glasses read a newspaper

the paper printed properly

a map of China -­-

mountains, rivers, open country, roads

cities, townships, villages too

all furiously writhing

bulging up out from the paper:

"China has not disappeared!

China has not disappeared!"

The map screeches

a wind rises

blows it from the hands of the newspaper reader

rolling like a piece of wastepaper

it travels all over China.

In the long-range view, a piece of wastepaper takes leave of China!

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