translated by Xi Nan

I often say that poetry is a kind of reality. This reality crosses the line between dream and daily life. Some of the following poems you are going to read come from everyday reality, some from dreams, and some are both dreams and reality. The boundaries between them are blurry; they communicate with each other. And they together constitute my life.

Fish Lu

February 2020

I Wrote My Phone Number on a Telephone Pole

I wrote my phone number
On a telephone pole
This can be done with a chalk or
A sign pen or
Any other things you can find
People who often write their phone number
On a telephone pole are no more than
Some fake-certificate makers, medical quacks
Real-estate agents, small factory recruiters,
Potential tenants, property sellers
Second-hand item sellers, same-sex friend seekers
And whose husbands are infertile—
Who hope kind-hearted people would fulfill
Their dreams of pregnancy, I obviously don’t belong to
These people I just wrote my phone
Number on a telephone pole

Raining Since Yesterday Afternoon and it’s Still Raining

Do you remember I once found a piece of tree trunk by the river?
I liked it but it was really too big and I couldn’t get it home
Still that tree trunk. Last evening someone had it brought to me
Brought it to my place. That is really a piece of good wood!
And I also remember. I said I wanted to use it to make a stool
I am right now making it into a stool
I already have cleaned its skin and the rotten parts.
The next thing to make it resemble a stool as possible and stable


Our father died
We did not bury him
Father was placed in a corner of our house
At first we were worried
Whether father would got rotten
Smell foully
In fact, did not rot at all
Father just got more and more mummified
Finally turned into a bunch of totally withered branches
Just piled there
Sometimes we still see

The Dead

Suddenly saw two dead persons
One had died for many years
One just died last year
One of them invited me to dinner
At a restaurant that opened in the early morning
Drank a kind of rice wine I’d never tried before
The other said to me
Some mysterious words
They both came without signs and left without traces
They both were younger than before their deaths
They seemed to be doing very well

The Sixth Floor

One person is walking in the front
I walk follow him
We walk through one alley
After another
Finally we climb up to the sixth floor
Of a building
The sixth floor is already the highest
One side is a rooftop
The other side is a small room
That person opens the room door
Walks inside
I stand on the rooftop
Looking at the stars
The night weather is exceptionally good
Already a little cold
The stars I see from the sixth floor
Are bigger than those I see from the ground

Ideal Life

I think I should
Buy a lawn mower
And before that
I’ll need to buy one
Bigger house
Its yard should be big, too
All year round
The yard is covered with grass
I write poems upstairs
When tired, I turn on my new lawn mower
Hoo-la-la-la, to mow the grass
The grass flies up and down
Surrounding my lawn mower
Good smell of grass pervades the whole yard

The Drinker

For a glass of liquor
The drinker
Took off his gloves
Then took off the hat
Although he could
Finish this glass of liquor all the same
With gloves and hat on
He still had
Without hesitation
Taken them off

Go Out and Head East

I go out every day
Head east
Usually to the Emancipation Park
Only for very few times
I go to the bus stop
To take a bus
I sometimes
Those people
Who go north
Or south
Where have they been
Every day?
One day
I don’t not go out and head east as usual
No one knows what I’m going to do
No one knows where I’m heading to, either

Three Trees

Have you been to
A place called “Three Trees”
I haven’t
The place I’ve once been to
Was called “Four Trees”
In fact I never saw
Even one tree there
Or I might have seen some
But later forgot
“Three Trees” is neither the name of
The book I’m reading right now
Just that I’m about to finish the book
I suddenly get sorrowful
And this is the time
When I hear from the radio
The name “Three Trees”
It is a new brand of paint

A Contest: Giving Birth to a Lamb

In order to develop the family wealth
The women
Decided to give birth to a lamb by themselves
And held a contest for this
The first one who gave birth
Was a young woman
Easily gave birth to a
Spotlessly white lamb
With one end of the navel string yet uncut
The lamb started running around the ground
It ran really fast
Like a white colt!

About the Translator

Xi Nan (西楠), born in China, writes and translates, author of different genres. Latest translation work: 207th Bone (authored by Zhou Li, Simi Press, America). Her Twitter is here.