translated by Xi Nan

The Mood of D Major

Undraw the curtains
Things suddenly become open and bright
Open and bright is just this
Simple (April-09-2013)
At the instant
When I undraw the curtains of the study room
Things suddenly become open and bright

About Hrabal

When I knew about Hrabal
Hrabal just fell off a building in Czechia
Since then when I was in too loud
A solitude*
Drinking
Writing
Taking pictures, I’ve called all the beers:
“Hrabal!”
Including Chinese liquor
Including the red wine
I am drinking
Right now

Saraband is Actually a Sorrowful Name

I say this, I don’t mean
Saraband isn’t moving
I say this, exactly because
Saraband is too
Moving, and because of so
Listening to Saraband has made me very very sorrowful
So when I think of the girls
In the past times, I just blurt
Out: Saraband!

Freedom

Now slowly
Raise your
Both arms
Spread
Upwards
And, reach
For
The sky
This is what the dancing goddess Duncan told a bunch of kids in Moscow when she was still alive
This is what Wang Yin excerpted and posted online from his home in Qingdao this noon

The Green House

Llosa’s novel The Green House that
I bought thirty years ago
Has been moving with me
For thirty years
I roughly read it in the old days
Later occasionally read it roughly
Then later, until the author
Won the Nobel Prize
I’ve never read again
One single page
But not for tonight
Tonight
I’m going to find out
The old
The Green House

This Latin American big author Llosa
Who was known and read by very few people
In the old days; also only very few people
Felt interested in
Today, suddenly on the Internet
Receives the top hits
It is all this damn coronavirus to blame!
Actually I’m now less interested
In his The Green House
Tonight, now, I am most interested in
This sentence
He has said:

My country either makes me angry
Or breaks my heart

Father Finally Gets to See His Father

This noon after 30 days
Of his ninety-third birthday
My father did not make it
Father’s little son
Touched him from head to toes
Except the little warmth remained in the hands
From his head to feet
All over his body
Were cold as ice
Father is gone
Father is on his way to find his father
After father was born
He’d never met his own father
Father was born on
The 21st day after his own father died
(When people were visiting the grave)
Father was a posthumous child
So
Father had a bad temper
For his whole life
Selfish
Capricious
Arrogant
So, for father
In this life, besides his old landowner
Grandson and his younger brother
Who had fled to Taiwan
He had
More disasters
One winter in 1946
Father’s grandma beautifully
Hung herself and died
He who howled
Holding the corpse
Had made it through
Overnight he fled from Gaomi Shakouzi
To Chen’s House
From the Chen’s House
To Jiaozhou
From Jiaozhou
To Qingdao**
Father also
Made it through
In the Three-anti and Five-anti Campaigns***
Made it through
In the Anti-Rightist Campaign****
Made it through
In the Socialist Education Movement*****
During the Cultural Revolution
His possessions were confiscated twice
He’d been repatriated to hometown twice
And he was stuck in the hometown
He had made it all through
After 47 years
He also made it through
In his ninety-third birthday
And 30 days later
After his ninety-third birthday
On the second day of the twelfth lunar month
January 21st (Wednesday)
Father failed to
Make it through
12:30 noon on January 21st, 2015
(12:30 noon on the second day of the twelfth lunar month of Jiawu Year)
Father
Finally failed to survive
Father died
Father really
Died
Father finally gets to see his father

I Will Keep This Unavailable Number for Life

Noon on September 15th
After my SIM card was upgraded
I returned from the China Mobile business hall
To home
Sat down
Took a sip of
The raw Pu’er tea
Lit up a cigarette
Then I started to check
My contact list
It turned out to be
The same as the previous contact list
Not one more
Not one less
They were all there
Old Man’s
Name
Was also there, 15336489787
For some reason unknown
I actually dialed
“Old Man”
“Hello, the number you dialed is unavailable, please check it before dialing again…”
Dazed for a moment
And then
I decided that
This name of
Old Man
Wouldn’t be deleted
It will be kept
Just like before
Be kept until
One day
I’m not in the world anymore
Like the Old Man

May is Just a Prelude to June

After seeing Miró’s oil painting May
This idea of mine has gone for a crescendo

The storm in May had not swept my heart away
The storm in May
Only caused some wind blowing and grass moving in my reed marshes
Although there was red in both May and June
Although I have the indulgence of sharks for liking red
But because the young man’s old Paris dream in his arms
Had been shattered long ago
It was shattered in June
It was June that
Had shattered it

So I say, May is no longer the theme
May is just a prelude to June

An Empty Scene in Autumn

A gust of wind
Some yellow colors jump up to my eyes
Then, three or five pine needles
Silently
Fall
Down
On the table, on the knees, on the chair
On the floor
And the pint glass is
Like fish-scales, still glittering, just like the beer inside
Besides this, my lens
Only colludes
With the air
Seeing nothing else

Cherry Blossom

Watched for half a lifetime—
Cherry blossoms
So far I still don’t know
How many petals does a cherry blossom have
Every year, I seem only paying attention to
Fallen petals all over the ground
Pieces by pieces

Recalling Summer in Summer Time

It is now summer
But I don’t smell the taste of
Summer in the old days
That used to be pieces
Or strings of milky white
Sophora japonica blossoms
Among the green

The Bell of St. Paul’s Church

Summer night
The rain is good
Listening to the rain at home
Especially listening to the rain
At home that’s
Near the church
Is even better
Because this rain is
Very long
Very long
As if it is
The bell
From Wang Yin’s dream

Qingdao Attractions: [88] Mt. Fufeng******

She lives in front of Mt. Fufeng
I live behind Mt. Fufeng

She can see the sea
While I
Am obstructed by Mt. Fufeng from everything.
Needless to mention the sea
I can’t
Even see her—
She
Who sees the sea.
Every day I can only
Imagine hard the sea in front of Mt. Fufeng
And her
Who sees the sea.
She—
“Kitten (猫猫)” is her nickname
Who has followed me for
Six years to learn piano as a student
She –
Is actually my daughter who is
Entering junior middle school real soon.

She lives in front of Mt. Fufeng
I live behind Mt. Fufeng

My Daughter Wang Zijun and Brahms’ Lullaby

In the three famous lullabies
The one by Brahms
Is the most beautiful
From childhood, Kitten
Has been listening to me playing
This F major
Lullaby
And learned to crawl
To sit
To stand
To slowly walk
To walk well
To trot
To run
To liberate her limbs with music
To hum
To dance freely with music
To play this music by herself
To play and sing and
Accompany others
This lullaby
By Brahms
Really is
So beautiful

Wang Yin’s Epitaph

At the funeral
A girl was crying so hard on my shoulder, even forgot herself
Her father Wang Yin died yesterday
Yesterday, for her—
I went to see her father
Before stopped breathing
He held her hand
Said: “…time heals all wounds—even those inflicted by dissonant harmonies”
(Seemed her mother didn’t show up after all)
Waking up from the above dream
I remember that sentence
I also remember, that sentence
Was originally from
The mouth of
That old stubborn
Schoenberg

***

Refers to Too Loud a Solitude, a short novel written by Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal. Self-published in 1976 and officially in 1989 due to political censorship.

** Gaomi Shakouzi (高密沙口子), Chen’s House (陈家屋子), “Jiaozhou (胶州), and Qingdao (青岛) are all place names in China.

*** Three-anti and Five-anti Campaigns (三反五反运动): reform movements started by Mao Zedong a few years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in an effort to “rid Chinese cities of corruption and enemies of the state.”

**** The Anti-Rightist Campaign (反右运动): a campaign from 1957 to 1959 to purge alleged “Rightists” within the Communist Party of China and abroad.

***** Socialist Education Movement (四清运动): a movement launched by Mao Zedong in 1963 in the People’s Republic of China. Mao sought to remove reactionary elements within the bureaucracy of the Communist Party of China, saying that “governance is also a process of socialist education.”

****** Mt. Fufeng (浮峰山): also known as Fushan (浮山) or Wenfeng Mountain (文峰山) in the Qing (清) Dynasty, is located in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China.

About Xi Nan

Xi Nan (Nancy) 西楠, born in China, writes and translates, author of different genres. Latest hybrid texts: Brandy (published by Alien Buddha Press). Her Twitter page is here.