Trial Run

translated by Chenxin Jiang

           as a door-nail
           and gone            to the world
           air             broke drop
nothing is certain but          and taxes
           mask             knell          grip
           blow              metal         rattle
food for worms sticky end brown bread
          or alive valiant to the             la la la
wish I were             yeah right you wish

 


預習

未知生焉知
不能復生視      如歸     而無憾
出生入      一線間    生契濶
輕於鴻毛     而後已而復生
     不瞑目不足惜
寧    不屈      鳴不默
一雞一鳴撐飯蓋鴨升天
憂患不終無安樂    啦    啦啦
未    得呢你就想

Related Poems

Interrogation of the Hanged Man

What is your face?
          A house, of sorts.

What is your foot?
          A chipped stone blade.

What did you dream?
          A rain-washed road.

What did it mean?
          It meant nothing.

What have you learned?
          The sky forgives.

What does it forgive?
          Each jet its wake.

What do you want?
          A smile, of sorts.

No, what do you want?
          I want nothing.

What’s in your hand?
          A leafless twig.

No. Show me. What’s that in your hand?

Do Not Speak of the Dead

“They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.”
            —Mexican Proverb

I was born among the bodies. I was hurried
forward, and sealed a thin life for myself.

I have shortened my name, and walk with
a limp. I place pebbles in milk and offer

them to my children when there is nothing
else. We can not live on cold blood alone.

In a dream, I am ungendered, and the moon
is just the moon having a thought of itself.

I am a wolf masked in the scent of its prey
and I am driven—hawk like—to the dark

center of things. I have grasped my eager
heart in my own talons. I am made of fire,

and all fire passes through me. I am made
of smoke and all smoke passes through me.

Now the bodies are just calcified gravity,
built up and broken down over the years.

Somewhere there are phantoms having their
own funerals over and over again. The same

scene for centuries. The same moon rolling
down the gutter of the same sky. Somewhere

they place a door at the beginning of a field
and call it property. Somewhere, a tired man

won’t let go of his dead wife’s hand. God
is a performing artist working only with

light and stone. Death is just a child come to
take us by the hand, and lead us gently away.

Fear is the paralyzing agent, the viper that
swallows us living and whole. And the devil,

wears a crooked badge, multiplies everything
by three. You—my dark friend. And me.

This Bridge Across

A moment comes to me
and it’s a lot like the dead
who get in the way sometimes
hanging around, with their ranks
growing bigger by the second
and the game of tag they play
claiming whoever happens by.
I try to put them off
but the space between us
is like a country growing closer
which has a language I know
more and more of me is
growing up inside of, and
the clincher is the nothing
for me to do inside here
except to face my dead
as the spirits they are,
find the parts of me in them—
call them back with my words.
Ancestor worship or prayer?
It’s a kind of getting by—
an extension of living
beyond my self my people taught me,
and each moment is a boundary
I will throw this bridge across.