Wang Xiaoni 王小妮 poetry translations

The Poetry of Wang Xiaoni王小妮

Selections: 1980-1993

Wang Xiaoni was born in 1955 in Changchun, Northeast China. Wang first established a reputation as a “Misty Poet” in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The first four poems of this collection belong to that stage of her career. She married the noted Misty Poetry critic and poet Xu Jingya and moved with him to Shenzhen in 1985. This change also marked an abrupt change in the style of her poetry, as can be seen below. A sense of dislocation, feelings of being an outsider and of being confined (as mother and housewife) all feature prominently in her later poetry. In 1992 and 1993, she contributed poetry to Zhou Lunyou’s Not-Not 非非 poetry journal. Since the 1990s, Wang has also made a name for herself as a writer of fiction and lyrical essays.

1) I Feel the Sun [我感到了太阳]

2) Children [孩子们]

3) A Birthday Night [生日的晚上]

4) There's This Sort of Village [有这样一个小村]

5) Love [爱情]

6) A White Horse [白马]

7) The Continual Allure of Wars Embedded in Square Frames [连紧不断的嵌在框里的战争诱惑]

8) A Well-known Allusion to the Red Slippers that is too Late to be Avoided [躲闪不及的红舞鞋的著名典故]

9) A Jar of Nescafe has Me Wandering in the Night [一瓶雀巢咖啡使我浪迹暗夜]

10) At a Mixed-up Junction, I Meet a Mixed-up Man Asking Directions [在错杂的路口,遇上一个错杂的问路人]

11) I'm sure Someone's Climbed onto the Sundeck and is Deliberately Tampering with Me in the Dark [定有人攀上阳台,蓄意暗中篡改我]

12) A Dead Person has no Friends Anymore [死了的人就不再有朋友]

13) Passing through an Oppressive Black Night [经历沉闷又黑暗的夜晚]

14) Many Many Pears [许许多多的梨子]

15) Close the House Door Tight [紧闭家门]

16) Half of Me is Pain [半个我正在疼痛]

17) Someone who doesn't Retort [不反驳的人]

18) I Love to Look at Cigarettes Laid out in Rows [我爱看香烟排列的形状]

19) I Ought to be a Maker [应该做一个制作者]

20) A Topic of Talk [一个话题]

21) A Red Color Emerges Out of My Skin [皮肤中浮现了红色]

22) A Person with a Pineapple in Hand [手拿菠萝的人]

23) A House of Great Depth [很纵深的房子]

24) Seeing a Friend [看望朋友]

I. #1

II. #3

III. #4

IV. #5

V. #7

VI. #9

VII. #10

25) The Softest Season [最软的季节]

26) I See the Potatoes [看到土豆]

27) People Waiting for Buses [等巴士的人们]

28) Weakness Comes So Quick [脆弱来得这么快]

29) Alive [活着]

I Feel the Sun [我感到了太阳]

I'm walking.….

down a long, long corridor

-- Ah, before me is a blinding window

on two sides the walls reflect the light

sunlight, me

the sunlight stands at one with me!

-- Ah, so the sunlight is as powerful as this

so warm it freezes your footsteps,

so bright it catches your breath.

All the sunlight of the universe is gathered here.

-- I don't know what else there might be

only me, leaning against that sunlight

standing still for ten seconds

sometimes ten seconds can be longer than a quarter of a century

At last, I charge down the stairs, heave open the door,

and run in the spring sun.....

Children [孩子们]

Some children are lying down in the distance,

mown wormwood as their pillow,

they count drifting clouds.

Suddenly they run up and pester me with "blind words,"

like little black buddhas,

they sit in an orderly circle.

I start to tell them of the fastest cars,

petulantly, they yell:

"Senseless gossip, it's all senseless gossip"

Stupefied they sit for a time,

laughing, they go to tote wormwood,

and bound heavy footed downhill.

On the hillside,

the firewood collectors have worn a path –

like an old yellow ribbon it swirls.

Moving bails of hay,

on the path,

obliterated by wisps of smoke on the wind.....

A Birthday Night [生日的晚上]

The city!

Neon lights

flashing in the far-off square.

The girls have come,

wearing the colorful clothes of astronauts,

I really can't remember

the look of us as we bundled corn

in the nests of snow.

Like innumerable pigeons breaking up,

the hot steam of the boiling dumplings

and "The Blue Danube"

drift about

in my little room

filled with stacks of books and manuscripts.

How is it that I can't

walk into the hot steam?

Everybody's kneading balls of sticky rice,

all crowded onto the one stove-bed of brick.

The fire in the stove dies,

and an icy wind rattles doors and windows.....

They say dancing

helps one forget the past.

Yet I stand by the window,

watching incessantly

the night sky in which three stars have yet to come out

and the white intimate frost.

They take their leave.

A huge maple tree

overlooks all this,

the shadows of workers and university students,

with deep

dark looks.

….. They're going,


knocking over snowmen

children built beside the road.....

In fact, no one can forget.

On this birthday night,

In a dream I see,

bright and clear,

the brook that runs through the village,

the sun on a heap of kindling

comforting and warm,

the egg granny boiled for me

sweet smelling and savory

There's This Sort of Village [有这样一个小村]

There's a village,

and each year

there's snow that falls there.

In the village are a dozen families or so,

when snow falls, a dozen or so thatched roofs

like the white bread rolls

the villagers eat when an old year passes.

That year,

the winter was especially cold.

On the east side there was the noisy addition of a home.

The next day, in the little courtyard,

a snowman stood

wrapped in a bright red shawl.

Suddenly, nine years pass.....

For nine years of nights

two lamps in the village are the last to go put.

I really can't understand

those children who wear "mirrors" on their faces,

why they're always sprawled over books.

Deep in the night,

occasionally the sound of singing too.


the villagers gave them their attention.

Even the reels of wire

were carried in from the city.

Though to hear it from their lips

they still didn't believe those delicate lines.

The village had thirteen small gardens.

In them the "disappearance" of

carrots and shallots began.

The women,

their hearts pained, often swore,

but didn't want to know

who the hungry devils were.

Through all nine years,

no great disaster,

never less food, never more either.

The villagers lived as always,

yet how did they

ever get through it!

..there are always people young and enthused on this earth.

For those nine years

on the east side of a village on a hill,

there lived twenty-or-so students from the city.

One day,

they were all gone.

The villagers say,

it was just one of those odd things.

Love [爱情] February 1985

During that cold autumn

Your hands

won't soak in cold water

Your overcoat

will be pressed every night by me

The thick white sweater

I knit and never finish

miraculously it is rushed out

into a time when it must be worn

In that cold autumn

you must be a neatly dressed person

Talk and laughter

leaves the good and the bad

simultaneously at a loss

Talking and laughing

pulling us by the hand

I insert us in every seam

where there are people

Originally I was to give birth to a bird with huge wings

but right now

I have to hunch my shoulders

become a nest

let those unwilling to raise their heads

all see

make them see

the sky's great weight

make them experience

the atrophy of the heart

That autumn day, so cold it moves me

That harsh and resolute

love in you and me

A White Horse [白马] March 1985

A myth says a hopelessly white horse

abandons its grassland and gallops

and the sunlight's like a drum

Muddled, my thoughts wander

when I hear the story

my eyes close in a flash I see myself

and can but laugh

Boundless green

looking back, tresses over ears, scattering,

what's a homeland for

All day a child

shakes a box full of chessmen, listens to the sound

like horses

galloping in chaos

I sit bolt upright in a deep place

in veneration of the animals and people who follow after

The white horse can't imagine

what lies in front

of course I can't think either

and only want this long travelled road of boundless white

The Continual Allure of Wars Embedded in Square Frames [连紧不断的嵌在框里的战争诱

] January 1986

In front of a TV screen

a mother and son

talk of war

full of tender feelings.

The three-year-old worries about

how he could look when he weeps after his mother falls.

The thirty-year-old mother fantasizes:

The first shot's bound to be blank.


two army trucks collide,

mother and son leap up all

hands and feet

splash out together following the blood everywhere.

When father enters,

he discovers two

people totally confused,

strange notions like bats

flash in their eyes.

Call them

and they simply don't respond.

They only flicker bright and dark

together with the TV.

Avoiding the hubbub,

the mother and son

are fixed solid every night

in front of the TV screen,

nothing in the world like

shooting oneself

can move a person more.

A Well-known Allusion to the Red Slippers that is too Late to be Avoided [躲闪不及的红舞


Three girls

buy pretty red shoes

at the same time

Under a tree that's about to wither,

the three halt at the same time,

open their packages to peek:

an idea

that cools them on the spot.

Immediately they haven't the strength to walk

and search everywhere for a deep submerged place.

They throw the shoes

into a stone cavern, for a long, long time

there's no sound of their fall to earth.

Three perplexed people with no boundaries

stand against the wind.

Not knowing how to prevent

the final scene that comes from far away.

And just at that moment

their hands also turn red,

their feet turn red,

and their voices too

Whole arms and legs

flutter under water faucets,

when they meet a traveller

their heads are sunk over washing out the sobs.

They don't know what for,

but they're too late to avoid it.

Too late to skip it by.

A Jar of Nescafe has Me Wandering in the Night [一瓶雀巢咖啡使我浪迹暗夜] 1986

When I think wild thoughts,

this brown thing's

in the dark twisting

on its black lid by itself.

I've heard it said

coffee exacerbates insomnia.

And if you drink lots

your skin turns black,

yet, still I can't resist, I drink it.

I certainly never thought

the transformation would be so quick, so thorough,

my arms have become huge wings,

through the black night I drift, a bird.

I lower my body to touch an unbroken chain of nightmares

at the edge of the bed.

I want to callout, but my mouth's full of bird talk,

and that person who always walks behind mine,

his bent over back,

is simply bristling with filthy standing water.

There are many, many feathers,

but it's still cold.

I say to the brown thing,

let me change back to a person,

I can't stand it,

this thing I went to buy myself

replies in its true colors:

It's too late too long.

At a Mixed-up Junction, I Meet a Mixed-up Man Asking Directions [在错杂的路口,遇上一


I've decided

before that person walks near

to duck into an alley,


the look of him frightens.

As it happens he wants to ask directions of me,

when he asks

his tone is mild

and he extends a right hand in a glove.

I tell him,

you can walk along with me,

he's not an evil man I presume.

Does this type of person still need directions?

When I part with him,

he raises the right hand again


I discover no sign of the glove,

his hand is entirely black.

In the dark

I'm filled with a profound black apprehension.

Each wall

sings in high praise of black,

all the one hand

How can this inhuman

hand be in the world?!

I'm Sure Someone's Climbed onto the Sundeck and is Deliberately Tampering with Me in

the Dark [定有人攀上阳台,蓄意暗中篡改我] 1986

I have just hung out my bed sheet,

and someone hammers on the floor,

calling yellow water's running down!

I go specially to take another look,

my bed sheet

is purest blue.

I lean on the strong light,

I shouldn't have gone to sleep,

after I wake up in a daze,

all the pages from the letter in my hand fall,

surprisingly dirty, after it has jumbled

the order of the pages.

I say, to this nonentity

I'm a dire and calamitous person,

he says: This is

the last pick, he squeaks

like a mouse

begging my pardon.

From thenceforward, I stop often on the sundeck,

conversing with this tamperer,

learning of many other

world affairs,

nowhere is there a door onto this sundeck,

and this continuing dialogue,

makes me unbearably happy.

A Dead Person has no Friends Anymore [死了的人就不再有朋友] 1987

Now a person wearing an army uniform says,

a dead person has no friends anymore.

This person raises the right leg to talk,

going on and on he grows small.

Over the graveyard flocks of black birds

caw as they flutter.

But, I see clearly

I'm still alive.

I live.

Air still crosses over my hands.

Fingers glitter, just

like gold.

I live and

no one can walk close.

No third hand

can take hold of mine.

Behind me a walnut tree emerges suddenly

I see only

its wise supple shadow.

You carry over a pile of pillows.

Say some fine words.

And briefly see life can also touch one.

Your glance drags over everything,

black tie pulled down to the ground.

You say I'm a splendid nothing.

I knew long ago,

I not here, for certain.

I sit very quietly in a different place.

Watching suns and moons

none entirely ideal.

I walk up close to you, making sounds.

The world leisurely withdraws

smiling in the manner a flower.

Great, there are no friends for me.

Passing through an Oppressive Black Night [经历沉闷又黑暗的夜晚] 1987

In the murk of dark you say

you must sleep.

But I sit, wanting to watch over it.

The evening is a lump of filthy mud.

The mud a black rhinoceros.

Darkness makes me impatient to get closer to it,

stand in it

as happy as if I'd just plopped into the world.

Now I'm even duller than mud.

I walk up to it,

want to think up a complex thought for it.

-- Could you not have been given birth in the dark.

with you like this, I can't sleep.

You, the malicious black night,

you cage me in the dark.

-- I can't see you. I say:

Is this the way.

In this black night I get up, composed,

changed into a woman with long hair.

My fingers like white feathers once again.

Warming your kneecaps with my caress.

Alive from dawn till night.

A person cannot always see the light.

I say, I will pursue the discharge of the dark.

Your look begins to blacken again.

In a night with not much air,

find the brute truth that makes a person great.

Many Many Pears [许许多多的梨子] May 1988

On the table the sounds of plants

turn up smoothly

the first time, like a baby,

I've heard a plant's cry for help,

standing on a burning bright red prairie

now it's deathly pale

In my home under a lamp shade like a tangerine

your nimble and translucent hands

wield a keen knife

You can't peel a pear this way.

Beside you I suddenly touch

life's brute energy.

Fruit moves on trees

free in the wind.

You turn the knife, genteelly;

You do harm, genteelly.

.The giant form of the knife's shadow passes­

like the irrational limbs of our human kind

I watch my hands

and observe the other pair

I'm fond of day and night

But there are many many pears

The tree

nurtures them offhandedly and shakes them off

A planet of many many pears

people see them and cry out with thirst

Close the House Door Tight [紧闭家门]

I wake from siesta

and discover

I write the best poetry

in this very large country.

Best if this thought

breed densely like the second hands

of clocks. The incessant sound of drums

careers from you toward me.

Like bells, weeds wail out

the hour. I understand

the moment I must close the door

and write a poem is here

Close the house door tight

sit down and love the world again

the mildew stains on all four walls

glimmer remotely on me, seated.

Let people sunk deep in heavy siege

listen everywhere

Let people thinking of offering a defense

stop short for one moment.

Write words on paper arbitrarily

no one has ever given poetry recognition

nobody ever

thought one could live gracefully

The sun

pecks at my thin door

Tell it someone is writing a poem.

Your eyes float massively on top.

Behind you on either side

a sky full of stars incites

I want to tell myriad things to be quiet.

A posse of illusions

passes through the four walls

and drifts toward me.

My world way out there has stepped in.

Half of Me is Pain [半个我正在疼痛] May 1988

There is a small beautiful bug

aspiring to bore into my tooth.

The world

its right side moves me suddenly

originally my body

was merely a tumble-down building

Inside one half of me a black fire dances

half of me is packed full of the sound of medicinal liquids

You extend, your hands

one grabs hold of me

the other grasps air with no transparency in it

pain is life too

we will never hold it down

Sitting, then standing

let the wind blow this way and that.

When the pain flickers

then we discover the world is unusual after all.

We're unhealthy


still want to walk about

The pain-free half

is infatuated with you

the left hand pushes at a door.

The right side of the worldcolorful and bright

the long hair of pain

billows off and becomes a jungle

That is me too

That's yet another good woman

Someone Who Doesn't Retort [不反驳的人]

I'm sitting

on a white china pot under the eye of the sun.

Motionless for a long time

I become someone who's entire body is still

Suddenly somebody howls

the sound of it shrinks me.


the boss's facial features are all sharp

I watch closely when the world is lifted up

that momentary flurry.

More vast than a mouth.

Yelling must be a real kick.

But I don't offer a retort

I stand up

ten thousand things squirm in solitude.

Beneath the sun three china cups are added

the water calls too

and fireflies burn fingers

Three fat guys

sit disdainfully on the world

I watch over it

and bow down to serve tea for everybody

on the earth's surface

shoe after shoe inclines forward.

I haven't had a thing to say for a long time.

The sky is soft and kind.

But someone suffers a evil illness.

The sky looks straight down on us no more.

Black clouds squat on the crowns of our heads

A shout is the shimmer of a scythe.

But the grassland

has waited long to lie waste.

We're green grass no more.

Breathing brittle branches and ruined leaves

we've learned how

to hold the tea pots and not retort.

I Love to Look at Cigarettes Laid out in Rows [我爱看香烟排列的形状]

Sitting among friends of yours and mine

our words ramble far and wide

we open packs of cigarettes one after another

I love to look at cigarettes laid out in rows

and always want

to break them apart with my own hands, too

While the men hesitate

I'm so lissom

The sky and earth

rock me gently

When the insides of cigarette butts hang their heads

only they can hang that deep

into the purple and red flare

at the core Now I stand up

The sun says it saw light

Warmed by your hands

a crustacean even smaller than a crustacean

moves tirelessly

and sees many many children below its smoke.

I despise frailty

but tears sometimes change into red grit

especially during my gloomier days

I must coddle men

This world should feel fortunate

to have me living in it

and stretch out the weak hand

I love profoundly

the weighty unbearable pain

I Ought to be a Maker [应该做一个制作者] March 1988

One year they ordered me to make wheat.

My arms grew ripe and keen.

Another year they commanded me to make hemp rope.

Much of the time my thoughts flew away.

Now I sit writing a poem before the dawn light.

You say I don't look well

I'm ill

When I caught this sickness

You were rushing from east to west in the city

you still want to chat and smile with the ugly people.

You say you're undergoing a test.

I see I'm too sick

all because I take a liking to

a parachute

drifting over from a fond season of romance

The powerful good in your world

I can't see

I write the world

and then out comes the world, head-bowed

I write you

and then you take your glasses off, look at me

I write a me

and see my hair is dismal, ought to be cut

Only a person able to be a maker

is truly extraordinary.

Please take a brief nap

and then leave me alone for good

I still want to write poems

I'm still the obstinate maker

in my narrow room

A Topic of Talk [一个话题] August 1988

Big Beard has come.

His back-pack lies under the lamp.

Big Beard's soul

is a squad of Yankee invaders of Vietnam who have lost their way.

That day he said:

How can you be so bright

sitting on a sofa?

Big Beard just has a big beard.

I ask him

where he's deposited his soul.

Bright light and anxiety

can all be called philosophy.

And philosophy can be freely altered on the sly.

It's a swindler.

I sit on a bamboo mat.

These days sitting on bamboo mats you can only lose, miserably.

People outside the door are blindingly bright.

I sit at home

in a dark spot watching people and trees

all exceptionally clear.

The business of war is probably spreading.

Because he had lost his way, Big Beard won't be back.

Why yearn for him

like an oldster longing for two glass handballs.

Stack up lots of seat cushions.

Gloomy like an aged lama in a grotto.

Never again can anyone sneak inspiration to me through my ear.

Sitting under that lamp

can it really be bright?

A Red Color Emerges Out of My Skin [皮肤中浮现了红色] August 1988

In front of cool, bright windows

like ripe apples

we expose a level of lovely radiance.

I know

it is a leech

wanting to bore into the perfect entrails of my body.

When I face other faces,

I can only laugh along with them.

From this person to that

a radiance that gushes back and forth

leaves me empty handed.

Never wanting to touch people again.

I stare at my skin.

Watch the color of others

slowly emerge from it.

Don't talk of impersonating an apple.

Being a light.

Impersonating a gentle woman.

Everything above my stomach

tightens with fear.

Exposing myself to the outside is very dangerous.

I'm one forced to reflect light.

Daytime. The city wears shiny wooden shoes.

I'm its toes

stared at by a multitude of eyes.

When will that day

come again, misty as a poem.

A Person with a Pineapple in Hand [手拿菠萝的人] 1991

Someone with a fresh pineapple their hand

comes walking down from a patch of brightness,

masters the fragrance of golden fruit.

The path through

winds like a python toward me.

Footsteps that fall to the dust

float and flutter marvelously.

I'll never be able to get a clear

head-on look at those to come.

The odor of large celestial bodies

above the dirt

are many lofty smells -­-

just like a great man moving on the surface of the sea.

And their fruit cannot help

but fall among us.

Indifferently loved.

We pass through illumination.

No benevolent arm

fells the unfortunate.

The pineapple holder

walks now into the far distance.

I sigh over the smallness of the distant traveler

like a brown pine needle

in the north wind.

A House of Great Depth [很纵深的房子] 1991

Mangos on the table.

I open today's window.

The house is stuffed with mangos.

sunlight laughs like a woman

warm and flush.

Fruit undulate on her body.

For many years now not only green

fruit has come tumbling down.

The heads of Dao Zhi[1] and the King of Qin[2]

fell back to earth too.

The splendors dim.

We build

our own house.

Pleased to have no doors no windows.

Hear my vivacious

gold horizon incessantly.

Hear the beauty

in me when I have sunk low,

sick of being the realist.

This is a happy day.

It's the day I can see mangos.

From Seeing a Friend [看望朋友] a series of 6 poems, 1992


On this, Beijing's coldest day,

I almost shrink

back as I walk toward you.

Your hands

hang limply down.

People say that inside is

the hot air of Chinese herbal medicine.

I can't see the temperature.

Can't see your illness.

Just as I can't see through

the compound-dwelling holding you firm and deep.

Standing in front of your bed

I'm a patch of heavy fog.

The backs of your hands

secrete a weak white light like the moon's.

I dare not callout

your name of over two years' pain.

I understand all the world's affairs.

only when I'm closest to you

I discover

I can't even say

what sickness is.


With what can you feel

me under this lamp.

Do you want to touch this ball of light.

One hand can

rustle the locust tree leaves of the entire city.

But this hand droops low.

A soft bed sinks you down deep.

And I've only brought

today's cold air.

How can I be a ball of light.

We stand in the same shadow.

During your two years in a soporific state

I always cautiously

stroked our degrees of difficulty.

It is those difficulties

that cause you to immediately recognize me.

Your thin cataracts creep down

from a mountain peak thick with misery.

Finally, I see your smile.


In the last


remaining corner of the world

I run into a deceit

Somebody leans low over the bed saying

you're prettier than ever.

The people outside love you even more.

Only one step away from deceit

I can't expose.

You probably come to for a few minutes only.

I want to say

If you look at them long enough, red pills are a lot like seeds.

What I really want to say is

people like best

gathering around for a close look

at a wound.

I can't help wanting to cover up

everything on the outside.

Day by day a complicated fear

coils through my heart.

The quilt is covered

by the wrinkles put in it.

I don't know what angle to stand at

or how many hands to use

to block the line of sight flickering in your eyelashes.


Remember when at my house

you said you envy my quiet

empty flower vase.


several medicine bottles are half empty.

Numberless pills

prop up your consciousness.

Tranquility is dead water

spreading out sleek white silk.

Can others make the air laugh.

Help a stone find strength.

And make suffering

pull out its sword.

A massive illness

drills into your slight kindly body.

Miracles like angels

soar elegantly above.

Nobody can carry off

the hope in an empty bottle.

No person can control

your coma gliding across the four seasons.


Slowly, slowly

I remember each old friend.

They refuse to write.

Refuse to phone.

Deep in fear of reality knocking on their doors.

The old friends

come down with a yesterday syndrome.

When all living things are up against the wind

your soul

keeps its beautiful black eyes open throughout.

Listen and you'll hear

think and you'll imagine

the houses of old friends roar

and lift painful, long flames.

These robust people

what are they waiting for.

You say you want to go

From days in flames

to days in flames

it's so close

With light hands and light feet

old friends have already opened front doors for you.


I dare not walk close to you.

Dare even less to take leave.

Your parents

like a church packed with believers.

Stand by the aged stair-well.

Because of you

their radiance has all peeled away.

Your black cloud

envelops the hill that gazes at you.

Hide you in sickness.

Hide you in medicine.

Hide you in hearts with holes.

A person who doesn't walk on the street

very quickly everyone forgets.

Days and days.

You walk while lying alone face up.

In Heaven the weight of the great

oaken gates resounds incessantly.

At the final moment the tears arrive.

All hatred and consolation blurs.

Quickly walk back onto the street.

In your ears

from left to right

you're run through by the muffled toll of a bell.


I've seen pain with my own eyes.

A bright red leech

easily slices through your translucent body.

With my eyes I saw

a person broken without a sound.

Like a coiling

tangled cord.

I've seen death with my own eyes.

A stuppa standing on a precipitous height.

Life's wrinkles

bunch up at the peak of the wind's forehead.

I saw all this myself.

As the links peeled off,

a thin weak sound.

One vein

makes cotton and diamonds

diamonds and blank paper

blank paper and plasma

plasma and abruptly changing airflows

form a common link.

I've seen everything with my own eyes.

The Softest Season [最软的季节] May 1993

In the month of May

I can see farthest.

Memories like new bugs

agitate a hillside's south face.

I know

the softest season will soon arrive.

In May

of course I can see you.

Again you're made up as the finest gossamer

sadly, sweetly mounting

my enclosing walls two thousand kilometers away.

I decide

to forget the whole of my life.

I have no connection to you.

My water

neither forms ice nor is it warm.

Nobody can move me

not even May.

Today my solidness

surpasses that of any shell-bearing seed.

Spring is as short as a fingernail.

And I never again need be your tree

performing season after season.


I carry my own roots.

Tread on my own brittle branches rotten leaves.

I See the Potatoes [看到土豆] May 1993

When I see a basket of potatoes

my heart's as happy as if I'd run into a wandering soul.

Joy makes a

hot-headed north-easterner.

I want to look closely at their facial features

find out what has happened.

All my body's tight suture lines break.

I want to immediately stop

I want to halt the whole of me.

Ask a cigarette of a heavy smoker

I want his last cigaretfe.

No blow

can surpass that of a basket of potatoes.

Return to the past

like drifting to Jupiter on a pair of feet.

But today I saw potatoes.

In a trice I tread

Jupiter's burning rings of light.

People Waiting for Buses [等巴士的人们] 1993

The morning sun

shines on a bus stop.

Some are painted with oils

suddenly they have kind pleasant looks

These are such nice people.

Light descends

amidst a crowd waiting for a bus

utterly without mercy

splitting each in two.

I suspect

behind the nice people

those dark colorless ones are bad.

No bus for a long long time

the brilliant eye-catching sun can't wait any more.

The oil paints will also run away

the good and bad people

change inch by inch.

The places just now petty and dull

take on bright charm.


your light

wavers so.

You pitiful

high fevered blind man

The good you see is evil too

the evil also good.

Later the bus stop is vacant

black clouds trick the god into an abyss.

Weakness Comes So Quick [脆弱来得这么快] 1993

I've never seen this expression on your face.

No wonder

all the china is smashed. Every bottle is broken to bits.

You're motionless

as if all the shards of your body's glass are about to fall.

The door is a devil opening in a flash.

You halt at the doorway.

Needles of light surely stab you deep in the back

your expression stops at lightning's start. Feet covered by snowflakes

leave you standing in slivers of silver the whole world now dazzlingly bright.,

A sky full of translucent objects and suddenly the sky flows.

Where have you tucked away your up-lifting looks you're such a hopeless l_p.

In your eye is a nose in the nose a mouth

in the mouth ears

on your face nothing.

Your expression terrifies me I really didn't know

weakness could come so quick

Alive [活着] 1993

Sunlight walks outside the home.

In the home am I

a calm, collected idler

Three meals a day

handling docile vegetable hearts

my hands

float in a semi-transparent white china bowl.

When I think of other things

the white rice has already been

cooked into white food again.

The screen door

stands straight in the wind like a servant boy

watching me sleep through an afternoon of sudden light and dark.

My letterbox is packed with dust.

A person at home

waits for nothing.

All around the house

are dangerous winding pipes.

Poured full

of water, gas or electrical currents

they snuggle up close around me

with a casual flick of a switch

in front and behind me

the appropriate measures of water and fire burst out.

The sun and moon are in the sky

this is a day without traces.

Behind a peasant the color of soy sauce

I lean down to pat a long, round melon.

The slight yellowness on its back is

the isolated form of the sun.

For no reason

just alive

like turning on a thread of running water at a whim.

Only I have tried

the uncertain perilous atmosphere

slicing through the surface of this world.

I live plainly like this.

My fire is

forever wrapped in my writing paper

[1] A powerful bandit leader during the Spring-Autumn Period of the Zhou Dynasty, 722-481 B.C.E.

[2] Later to become the first emperor of the unified empire of China; the Qin 221-206 B.C.E.

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