Autumn '21 Issue | 2021 秋季刊
partial impression of Ilya Kaminsky
translated by PLS
“homeland” is a distorted key.
I am unfamiliar with it, as with the snowflakes —
they refuse to dance in the cold blazing sun of the southern land.
your glasses and smile
remind me of a Chinese poet.
I dare not say, I know him well,
only know that he’s dead long ago
(I think he died of some kind of suffocation.)
he was trying to contain the splashing ink with words,
alleviate suffering, so that he could hold it tight.
suffering might happen
like the mysterious vibrations behind cities,
whose frequency resonates with the flapping wings of birds.
you were counting birds in the yard, and
listening to their flights with eyes —
“count me in too”
is perhaps what you would say.
Hu Yueran, a student.
by Zoe Du
A pagoda, ivory white.
Elegant octagon, low-ripped wood.
I shall never forget how it stood for us
when we were little:
legs splayed under our dress, bare feet
touching stone, touching wood —
the flat, glossy steps that led us up the seven-storied pagoda.
On summer nights we huddled together, against
a wind-blown hole. On top of the zigzagging staircase,
a story passed between our tongues. Back then
we held each other in verse, in fits of diamonds and dragons.
Knees knocked by rain, we etched syllables into stone.
And where the marble bent under our nails,
the figments crawled through our fingers.
A pagoda is a palace for the deceased. A plum of secrets,
its sapped songs flowing onto the young girls’ lap.
Until we fell asleep, and the sculpted ceilings moved
beneath the shadows. The double-eaves fidgeted
where dust played on the crossbeams.
We slept till our limbs drove into the pedestals,
and the pedestals sank into our sleeves —
A pagoda is a house to home us.
In it we grew as children.
And under its arched doorways we counted our wishes
each time, before we left.
We stepped onto the silent earth, chanting hieroglyphs —
one by one — as we walked. Towards the rolling fields
Zoe Du is a PhD student in Education. She writes poetry and prose in English.
Zoe Du 是一名教育学专业在读博士。她用英文撰写散文与诗。
into the blinded bright
translated by PLS
in the heat of the wind we exhaust ourselves
scalded by the fierce sun
there’s very little to see in terms of roads and the future
the fleeting view is like an illusion
the frail green of the field losing content of colors
trees standing in a vast of lushness
egrets floating among twigs like mourning flags
on countless bright days I stare at the sun
the sun burning my retina, scorching with arrogance
someone please tell me, which is which, and what is mandatory
when all these orders are overthrown, I walk straight
coming across someone I haven’t seen in a long while
someone walking in the opposite direction of me, who are you
where is this, and where to if you carry on walking
my legs feel like they are out of strength, drained of blood
even turning hesitant, like a life form bestowed with thoughts
no longer under my control, like a crumbling shadow
depressions clinging to me like dispersing sewage
desire turning its head against me, as if I’ve never had it
I squeeze myself through time and desire like a crawler, fantasizing impotently about
what should happen, what should happen like a miracle
wash me clean, wash my dirty body and soul clean
it has always been, it has always been the shouting that is separated from frivolity
this heap of blasphemies and roads full of directions
gods obstructing the explosion of my inner arrogance like a blazing sun
have mercy on me, like a mother who doesn’t know how to deal with her kid
lend me a life one more time? in this turbulent time
head spinning without control, what have I seen, and what have you obtained
Wu Lisong lives in Shenzhen and has self-published four collections of poetry.
translated by Nittin and PLS
in the silence between morning and dusk,
I was —
I was the one who kept failing,
silently lowering the sound of the footsteps through the jungle of stamens.
how high could the water rise, how transparent could it be
to cover the top of the breathing hairs, what’s swaying
was your hair refusing to melt.
pierce into the depth of my sorrow, Marianne,
with your most poignant eyes. Please hold me in your arms,
like those people who embrace the fragmentedness of the glass.
across the plain without any shepherd,
how could one survive as purely as snow?
yet things are different now, it’s the dead that are no longer willing to enter
my cup unable to hold any water, to take another stroll
and swim into our forest of neon souls.
flowers and leaves torn from each other, ashes and fires burning each other, over the blade
a crimson submarine has just taken off
I love you, all of you,
please tiptoe through my fragile heart with care,
through my humble eyes of plantain.
none of the requiem,
should have been chanted nightly by the dreams.
Nittin, a person on the margins.
translated by PLS
a troop of ants were climbing over my instep
in the collapsed time
her words blown off by something
some to the east, the other west,
responding to the man standing before her
the end of the troop was still ants
and the only sound of the ground
he had been stooping in silence
since her last glance
along with his expression
shrunken towards a certain direction
seemed to be in a great hurry to see
walking on the road stretching shorter
aiming at the heart of them
velvetleaf, her memory
and the empty brick buildings
catching a sound in the weeds
and then swaggering
to offer it to her —
her forehead brighter than yesterday
around the chaotic flames
a type of transparent fabric slowly separates them
no shadows of any man