Jun Er (1968-)
Translated by Simon Patton.
References Remembrance of Things To Come Electric Field I Saw It with My Own Eyes Minus Another Year Moving the Jar Do You Believe? Drinking Alone Sea Jewel A Hundred Percent Demolition The One Cent Piece The Shuffler
opposite me: roads, buildings, housing estates, a few houses opposite me: grass plots, trees, passers-by opposite me: souls and windows I am in another world, another city, another room I watch from the sidelines unable to participate fully in the life of this world I am half human in my actions from you I get the food that lets me go on living my other half is drifting clouds, summertime flowers autumn leaves, lakes of the Earth rivers, creeks advancing boldly towards oceans highlands, grasslands, vast primeval forests the wind at nightfall, morning downpours, unpre- dictable vapours, distant places, disused railway track, ghost towns deserts, hibernations, putrefaction, a seed recalled to the dust unnoticed
Remembrance of Things To Come
a brisk wind blew my vase over last night the flowers scattered, the vase broke in two the pieces lay on the ground with childlike innocence I realize that sooner or later all my household things will shatter in the wind one by one they’ll leave me me, I’ll be the last to shatter lying with childlike innocence in a small dark room: flowers growing on my head swallows visiting it year after year while that brisk wind that comes down from the sky brings storms, thunder, a rage that will never shatter
computer, telephone, mobile lighting, plugs, charger for the mobile here I am, sitting in my study my books and the above-mentioned electricals around me my heart splits in two one half looks for peace in literature the other rises agitated in those appliances when electric currents of various frequencies pass through my flesh and blood I become an electrified body unknown as yet to the cosmos then I hear thunder that thunder is electric thunder, the rain, electric rain or perhaps it’s the other way round: I am an electron and the world is a gigantic, furious electric field
I Saw It with My Own Eyes
it was late at night: souls flapped against a wall independent, alone
Minus Another Year
last September I stood in avenues of autumn watching the swirling dead leaves the surging crowds this September I travelled down the coast the misty rain of the South and the banyan trees by the Pearl River touched my soul next September autumn will again come and I’ll still be writing poetry here in the land of the living dreaming — minus another year
Moving the Jar
today I moved a big jar the kind they use for pickling vegetables into my study from the balcony this dark-red pot is a crude piece of work with a great big belly nicks all over it it comes with a small round lid I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it squatting there on the floor, it reflects the light quiet and plump now, if I took off the lid it could hold all the wind in this room
Do You Believe?
do any of you still believe in that coyness? that awkwardness? in the cages’ fragrance? in the bones’ lust? do you?
I fetch a bottle of wine from the balcony and remove the cap with a kitchen knife then, getting close to the post-rain air, I drink until I start to feel tipsy the process is simple, pure in the course of time it could grow to be a habit I am sure it brings me a decadent pleasure nights come and go sometimes I get my days mixed up but I like the taste of this loneliness a day spent keeping myself company is like a copy of some moment in the future when grass will grow in the sky and a road will wind through clouds
this sea water bluer than the sky: if I could hunt out words in it I’m sure they’d say it too has given up hope and does not want to extend its passions extravagantly into the depths any more was it only salt you admitted and refused with your softness, each grain crystallizing in your bitterness? was it only sunlight that piled up brief shatterings? getting through this life is all I have to look forward to your transparency and your purity are too abrupt for me they always leave me feeling momentarily at a loss for words
A Hundred Percent
here is my vacant body take it away with you if you want here is the vacant look in my eyes read it any way you want, seduce it here is my vacant hand hold it, with no need for meaning or giving back anything in return here is my vague smile it has no real connection with what’s happening inside here am I, a woman moving with the times sample her body parts they have been disinfected for your peace of mind
everywhere they are demolishing old houses in Beijing, Dalian, Shanghai, Ningbo, Guangzhou everywhere the same mad stampede to be comfortably well-off constant battling the economy is like an ocean like a misfortune no one survives the economy suffers no nostalgia the economy knows no ideal, no history old-style courtyard homes ancient fishing villages the small windows and wooden doors of the South the banner houses and old streets along the banks of the Pearl River everywhere: demolition the earth is covered in reinforced concrete they try to outdo one another in height opulence uniformity trying to be more cool wherever you go the fallen leaves are swept by autumn winds and annihiliated
The One Cent Piece
there’s a one cent piece in a compartment in my desk all on its own in among odd bits of paper sometimes I open the drawer and rummage through it and then I close it without even registering the coin’s existence today, in a brief moment when I had no work to do I again saw for myself the freedom a one cent piece enjoys its restraint serenity wordlessness any resemblance here with the life of a human being? though they never spoke these coins once existed, nevertheless
on my left foot: a shoe my right foot: bare yes, you’ll often find me this way not because I’m a shoe short but because I can’t be bothered looking for it sometimes I push it under the bed or a cupboard with an outstretched leg so when one foot winds up higher than the other I’ve only got myself to blame the shoe on my left foot strolls into the living room my unshod right foot sneaks off into the bedroom the two of them co-ordinate to get me to my study after reading and doing some writing I put my feet up on a stool or on the desk and if the elements pay me a visit then and the whole room gets cold my bare foot is the first to know it
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