Return? Rain? Round Jade? Scenario? Six Lines? Some People Don't Say Much? What I Said to Myself? Winter Solstice? You Have No Name? Neon Sign? Me and You? Life?
Translated by Tony Prince and Tao Naikan I returned from Shenzhen to Nanjing There was still some daylight left It wasn't that I didn't understand time You couldn't say anything so na?ve Having taken a padded jacket with me I put it on when I went back home And yet, as the evening approached My body retained the southern sunlight Still unextinguished I went knocking at my friends' doors And called them out into the icy streets I said stupidly: It's after midnight, in Shenzhen Everything is just starting! No one argued with me, being Used to silence They got on with their lives in double beds as husband and wife Or back to back, drawing warmth from each other (For a month afterwards I was full of rebellious hopes and desires And cried joyfully'I have changed!' But it was only a disturbance of my biological clock The difference in time zones, or the changes in my schedule That a mysterious and unseen hand was slowly adjusting In the darkness) Now I am sinking deeper into the past As though falling from the sky, continuing My plunge into the earth. Winters is settling into its siege Like a great army. Even metals contract in the cold But in the south, the softest things open up in the finest way Like flowers, and their sexual organs Licentiousness depends on warm ocean breezes and the trad winds Now I'm back in Nanjing Living near ice, snow and frost Like the saints of ancient times in the mountains of Central Asia Close to snow-capped peaks and glaciers The tropics can produce no saints. I know very well That Jesus was not a black man Now I'm back, back in Nanjing Getting on with a middling kind of life Between sun and ice, I inhabit The cold shadows of my room Occasionally visiting a nightclub That warm cave Where I am far from eternity or a moment of excitement I'm like any commonplace and painful existence That's all I am 5 January 1995
when nothing else is going on rain is a big event but when some event is happening rain becomes background some remember it, some don’t years later, when everything’s in the past the rain comes back to us once more pattering as it falls nothing happening
when the light goes out, darkness falls when things settle, I see a patch of light barely visible: what could it be? this greenish glow, I’ve never noticed it before next thing, my hand comes into contact with a round piece of jade as I wind its cotton string around my fingers I can’t remember who gave it to me (I did, later) but this subdued light remained a stranger it shed no light on the objects around it as if sightless sombre as the glint in a blind woman’s eyes
when I’ve finished this cigarette, I will make my way to the banquet travelling across the city in a taxi late in the afternoon then I’ll come to a brightly lit dining table one by one good friends will arrive, each one of them feeling just a little keyed up vivid lights will shine briefly in their faces and reflect in the spotlessly white tableware, thereafter increasingly dirtied as a day’s sunset sinks in lip-smeared wine glasses this scenario is something I read in the smokey haze of a cigarette
it’s raining, but this is not the mood of rain it’s autumn, but this is not the cold of autumn a piece of music when it is not being performed a thought in a head when the rest of the body has died the meaning of life beyond words, truth’s most secret secret when my eyes are matched by the eye-scars in that tree ...
some people don’t say much they are neither mute nor introverted saying only what’s necessary speaking only when courtesy demands it floating on the surface of speech this is how they are all their lives summed up in a few phrases some people live like epitaphs long years reduced to a sentence or two soberly like headstones they stand there facing us
1. at this moment at this moment, I am mostly writing down anything that comes into my mind nothing’s happening and so the twilight is an event and there’s me they swallow each other up until one bloats and the other shrinks to nearly nothing 2. turn for the worse “Imagine an empty interior world.” the outside of me is a void but the inside is jampacked, a compact mass one should take a turn for the worse and observe the real outside: rivers and mountains, a plant or a tree while on the inside: mind open as a valley 3. in the future in the future, things will happen in a mood of expectation of anticipation when there is neither expectation nor anticipation things will happen just the same so that to feel an undaunted terror as you’re hit by a train at a crossing seems unnecessary
someone burns paper money in the street it’s the day of the winter solstice flames light up the trees that line the road we, the living, turn ourselves in shadows so as to get closer to the departed dead in streets, at the foot of walls, in the courtyard of houses where our dear ones once lived loss and remorse bring home to us the existence of another world as dark as the earth as agile and warm as flames
you have no name, no form when satisfied, you’re like nothingness when unhappy, you’re perceived as pain in a breeze, a landscape in memories snatches of melody, certain phrases brief flowering and fading blood and tears the simple ocean, useless stars and warm-bodied mammals you are the beloved you made and you shattered my soul caused me to be born by chance in this world to seek you out and to die at last a willing death
unable to sleep, I open my eyes in the dark, the shape of a window so I sit up in bed. look (I tell myself) outside the sky is gloomy even blacker are the distant treetops in the air above them, there’s a neon sign flashing quietly in synch with the glow of my cigarette it’s a line of words. it says: “I LOVE YOU”
me and you: we met, fell in love, lived together me and you: we lived apart, for a certain stretch of time my pity and my pain, for you your attachment, your unhappiness, for me me and you: the soul’s intimacy, isolation all these things are random like you, I result from the random meeting, falling in love and living together of parents from the random foods they ate from a randomly acquired gender we grow up to be blown around by random winds the random world shakes us up like dice for the sake of an outcome those red dots: drops of blood six: two lines of tears only these two are necessary
life is a vacancy inhabited by people male and female as random as a meeting on a train as close to one another as these lives are life shakes us up so hold me a little more tightly at the station we get off, shed hot tears a butterfly flies in passing back and forth without let
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