Chronicles of Love in Nanjing
Across a ditch, the hidden path resumes itself, passing by a pond, home
to a flock of wild ducks, and this trail
bypasses the ticket office and entrance to a tourist resort.
There, the graveyards of celebrities from the older dynasties are small-scale plazas,
at dusk, haunted by romance, remembrance and oblivion.
When people have left, what is left behind?
Which Hippocratic type will always tread the same often-traveled ruts and get stuck?
Spring warmth etches into wedges the thin ice around the Waterfront Pavilion stilts,
And pigeons cuckoo in the aromatized Herbal Garden where young lovers
Giggle behind the bushes and give dirty looks to whomever passing their way.
--Fools rush fast in pre-doomed love.
Pollen allergy is not his vulnerability but his conduct in the world,
therefore no one around him would suspect
whether his incentive is to undermine the morality of midsummer night
when he sneaks out into the dark.
For instance, at a certain 2 am, in front of the Life-Liberating Pond
of the ancient Cock-Crowing Nunnery, in a pavilion
a pair of arms disappeared into a pair of blouse and skirt, chafing and rubbing,
and he had barely accomplished his lingering walk on the sloping link
along which emptied carts from peddlers of joss sticks and gold-foiled papers are
chained to cherry-trees that stood on the blanket of fallen pinks.
--In the season of no faith, only falling petals are true.
From the rouge-greased moat of this capital of six short-lived dynasties, a frog
crawls out and jumps onto the second-story windowsill.
It holds a lewd posture,
sucking and blowing two air sacs, filling them up with noises.
Passion, when habitually tuned into the verbal, leaves little space
for compression, and he has written lines after lines, only to be written off,
and the frog season fades away without warning.
In southern country where the weather is either sultrily hot or humidly cold, it is hard
to keep the same posture throughout a night, and he turns and twists, finally
pillowing high to revise in his mind the scraps of poems posted on the white wall.
--dove sta memoria. This is where memory is conceived and grows.
The bladders of dawn are bloated when the night rain comes to
a stop, and at this threshold he falls
into half-sleep, visited by black tree trunks and yellow leaves,
as if a terminal love is approaching the climax of breakup
and all the trivialities, previous romantic gestures, are heated up and burning.
Seeds of time, ashes or sarīra, are waiting to be sifted,
the fine grains of memory sieved through, the knots of heart rolling like rocks.
On cooled feet he stands
on the riverbank of time and makes ducks and drakes, seeing
tiny crystal flowers fading and skimming away.
--He has another wet dream, much to his shame.
His friends, even with photochromic spectacles, have laser eyes;
formidable as it is, he is relieved, for he does not need
any disguise, albeit he feels a little cold-shouldered.
Before the desk at the corner of his dormitory, he practices, in the card-playing noises,
doing three things with words from different media—
a book on the left, a writing pad on the right, a boombox playing vissi d’arte vissi d’amore.
When the coloratura turns to a steep slope, his eyes fall on juxtaposed static characters
“a green sea, a blue sky, a heart, night after night” and a longer prosaic line winds
on the pad “dust grows on the sea of my heart as each dusk gives way to the dark
while your black hair is buoyantly smiling to spring breezes over the water.”
--As wild geese are nowhere to chase, who would sit up all the nights for their return?
In the everydayness of uniform variables, a trance is a black hole, sure to lead one
out of time; when he stares at the setting sun,
the autumn leaves have suddenly turned rusty in the Afterglow-Lingering Mount.
The black woman-made turtleneck soothes his professional ailment best,
faucitis from pollen to weather changes, from too much lecturing to chalk sticks.
The silvery chain of the zipper dangles like a tiny tail in and out of his collar,
now cool like a fish, then warmed to his body temperature, and then cool again,
coolness and warmth giving way to each other.
Like a largehead hairtail the Long River lies, down over there,
shimmering like a slate of ice between dark lands where chimneys emit smelly smokes.
--Sensation of coolness is a pleasure privileged for the warm-blooded animal.
April 9-12, 2008
——此乃记忆之生发之所dove sta memoria。
左眼看书、右手写字、耳听花腔女高音的咏叹vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore….