Bleak Street Erasmus Heavenly Bodies Helix —written for my son Help Me, Mother . . . Written Before Rain Time Holds No Roses . . . Perhaps My Future Is . . . A Tale of Darkness A Sprinkling of Snow
before it gets dark, I see drifts of dead leaves, a squirrel heaven and a faint glow cast on my pub table when it’s dark dark, the rain falls even more lonely, beer drowns staggering human shadows as the girls walk off in the direction of the headlights at this moment, happiness show up uninvited the words “mate”, “buddy” explain everything I’ve come here not to find a force called sadness but to prevent sadness from reaching all the way to despair
who can anger him, when he no longer gives a damn about life and death profit and loss? that young man Luther has just left while a salt merchant has sent back a broken salt jar he draws the thick winter curtains and sits by the window reading the Bible his slow silhouette moves me the way I see it, he didn’t turn himself into a self-contradictory god instead, he expressed a tolerant, reconciled attitude to living
perhaps the palm of the hand has to turn into the back of the hand perhaps life has to be taken apart and then put back together again to see what life really looked like I once climbed up onto the roof, but it was no good the scenery beneath me was like a fine trickle of water overhead, the Dipper turned, stars shifted in a flash Beauty whizzed by me too quick to leave me longing
Helix —written for my son
the heavy snows stop. we tread on ice all the way home from the kindergarten twilight starts early at the age of four he already understands the meaning of melting snow I lead, he follows, cracking sounds muffled by our progress, almost inaudible it's as if nothing in my life had ever happened that immature body is the closest reflection there is of me his future's bright while I’ve already reached the age where I can appreciate common customs when it snows, I shut myself up at home turn the music up loud, make time precise to those moments of pleasure, allow the worn-out clock to abruptly suffocate in the same way that scenery in the snow is frozen stiff by clarity
Help Me, Mother . . .
the wind blew the door open, then shut again night rain swirled in the street-lights, bringing autumn chill the world yawned through the downpour, while the more I slept, the more awake I felt I get up and ring my mother she tells me: there are bird’s nests all over the ground in her yard . . . what my son mutters in his sleep carries in it the pressures of living nearing middle-age, my future torments me there’s not much more I can let go of and what I’ve got left to gain is all equally unknowable. last night’s horoscope has also suddenly turned ambiguous just like this heavy shower blurring up my windows so that I can’t see clearly the white inside, the black out mother, did you hear that cicada crying? so urgent, like an act of collapse . . .
Written Before Rain
rain comes up from the South, falls for a while then leaves for the Bohai Sea, Japan, the Bay of Dalian I sit on my narrow balcony rubbing my belly and, like a frog in a well, bear witness to dusk to the low-flying flocks of birds with my meanspiritedness and with superb compassion, call to mind the green hills of Africa, the dark River of Jordan
Time Holds No Roses . . .
there’s almost no reason left to go crazy, on this afternoon that so resembles old age, I open a window and watch the traffic go back and forth, watch depressed pedestrians hair dyed white by the dust . . . I sit at the heart of this utopia it’s as if I’d never been young time is gone in a flash too fast! last night I was remembering that tree in the place where I grew up in all the years since then, I’ve strayed too far and been away from it too long a neglected life transformed as if by magic into my grandmother’s bones I always have this sense that there’s something glittering up ahead but when I get to it I find a pile of broken glass it’s tragic, really. I give myself a hard time but am always willing to let myself off the hook, my arrogant heart looking away, even my failures are half-baked so I let myself sink further following those tree-roots beneath my window back to the dirt of my hometown
Perhaps My Future Is . . .
lugging around the sluggishness of my birthplace, I hide away in my dark study, reading like a house god maintaining reserved calm and solitude I write poems to delight the senses having orgasms in my imagination there’s nothing worth chasing after any more ethics is a nusiance the sky signifies the crows’ helplessness (a saying of Kafka’s) the vicious die at fun fairs the good die in the midst of trivia I’ll die in one of two possible ways: either I’ll allow myself to disappear or I’ll let fate arrange a future for me the former entails a wholesale enlightenment the latter tells me I need to go on battling
A Tale of Darkness
once, in the dark, I wrote: Why don’t you show yourself, Demon? Stop hiding behind my back pulling devilish faces and so out he came—swaggering with banners, political slogans, neighbours, the police and tore out a strip of light
A Sprinkling of Snow
there’s a little light snow I’ve reached this city’s outermost edge at once, the rivers calm down the sun between dry grass and branches is tormented by the severity of winter an expanse of uncultivated ground a few dogs iron-sheet sheds a child playing in grey fog in the swamps I see a freshly-dug grave which looks like the breast of a virgin girl a sprinkling a snow covers it written on the unfinished headstone are the words Here lies . . . a migrant worker in the city, who came to a sad end, calmly she lies in the midst of water I can almost here her breathing underground her breath pierces the deafening noise of the city
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