Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Three Poems by Hsia Yü

To Be Elsewhere
We met in a coastal village
spent a lovely night without leaving an address
going separate ways. Three years later
we meet again by coincidence.
The whole
three years spun a novel
we abandoned:
They fail to recognize themselves
as though meeting in another story
for an encounter.
One asks: Who are you, so cold and weary
The other says: I only know a thread is loose on my sweater
            The more you pull it, the more it lengthens
            until I completely vanish.

-- Source: Poetry (June 2011)

Cinema Is Superseding the Gaze
All you have to do is find yourself some amateur actors
And a bargain-basement video cam
That can film in natural light and ambient sound
Your actors don’t even have to act
In fact you’re better off
If they just glance now and then at the camera
And move around a bit
Exchanging the occasional line of conversation
We have all the time in the world
For we’re making a road movie
And it should be pretty good
Turns out one of the actors is seriously narcoleptic
Which is why we have this baby alarm

— from Poetry Now 10, translated by Steve Bradbury

The Saw
I visualize you walking on the other side from me
In our scanty understanding of the universe
We propose a simple definition
Which we call “the time difference”
Whenever I feel delicious or defeated
In the watery regions of the night
We author our “form and meter”
Like the cardinal principles
Certain schools of painting have long advanced
Pressing myself against the dark
I continue my contemplation of a kind of saw-tooth-shaped truth

I engage in the contemplation
Of serration
An opened can for instance
My contemplation of the can goes thus:
The opening of a can turns
Upon a kind of saw-tooth-shaped truth

I contemplate but then I sleep
Sleep being an ancient practice
Older than civilization
Older yet than poetry
I sit and puzzle over it for hours
Resolved to not resist it

I contemplate sleep
When like a saw
I drag myself awake

I contemplate the saw

-- From the Chinese by Steve Bradbury
From the collection FUSION KITSCH

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