For many times, I open this file, created more than a year ago,
Many versions of a poem called "Late Spring."
Every time I open it, different moods precede and confuse my reading;
The atmosphere sustained by a few catchwords is enough
To bring out from me
The central image of a figure standing in front of a window,
Like a broad fallen leaf stuck in the mid-air in my view,
And I only want to know what the face is like that never turns,
The facial expression that can be understood in any language.
The first version starts like this, which may need a translation for you to read:
"Younger ones begin to peel in March,
Boys from the outer layer, girls from the inner;
Eyes searching like a breeze, stealing into the thinned clothes, easily.
But my tongue is still wearing mittens…"
It seems that whenever I cannot say something direct,
I start a poem with a season or a word to indicate the time of a day,
As if a woman said once every ten years she needed a suicidal attempt
To purge her heart and mind.
I have many Marches in a year, like flowers
Whose petals encircle the most untouchable filaments.
This version ends up at the lingering dragonflies and damselflies in a pond:
"See they lift off and land, hover and circle, never staying away from the stamens,
Their glassine wings emitting shifty light.
A later revision seems to aim at a masculine loftiness:
"There has never been a balustrade outside the north-facing windows,
And only when we climb a tower and eastbound water lies below in our view,
Do you suffice to become my irreversible loss, like a tradition…"
But my study is nothing but a snail’s coiled shell, and I can only
Imagine the once dreamt-of vagabond life and your lasting lure that attracts me
At every nightfall, the lean desire for your fleshy smile
And a bowl of noodles with an ox-eyed egg and emerald patch of pea leaves.
From the desk, I look up, with you behind me for a while,
Examining a horizontal scroll print of mountains and rivers from the left to the right,
A leaf-like boat making the blank water cooler and broader.
Perhaps I too soon realized that there was a kind of incongruity.
When one cannot do away with luxuries and women,
He shall not convince anyone that he’s taken the world and men in his heart;
When one holds a woman by her waist, he shall not sigh for any suffering.
I read that version, my left hand stroking the shaven chin,
Then the palm holding the cheek, fingers combing the short hair.
One leg of my spectacles was touched and all I saw jerked,
While my right hand on the mouse had scrolled down the file to the bottom:
"Your man occupies the living room, watching a football match, as if in a stadium,
While you are thinking of a man who does not like balls, quiet, sensitive,
A little melancholic. He is far away, and your man is forthright, tough and strong.
Eyes closed, pleasure of light could come out of the dark (who/from whom?)
For the while you stand in front of the window,
Spring turns to summer, and stars are diamonds."
As you can see, there is an alternative in parentheses beside the line, indicating
The uncertainty over the possibilities in the moment or any stilled moment:
Are the closed eyes referring to my eyes or yours?
And from whom could the pleasure out of the dark be? You, him or me?
Or if it is "If you close your eyes, you may get pleasure from me out of the dark"
While actually it is he who is getting pleasure out of you and I am here,
Standing before a window in a far-away country,
The ambiguity would certainly make me a dirty middle-aged man looking at stars.
And a few lines of blank space down, there are some isolate phrases, uncannily related:
"At their middle age, still in mind
Those fatless wrinkleless years years ago, beauty
Bad beauty, beauty of purified desire, landscape of you and me"
July 9, 2008
“中年 仍然想 自我尴尬的美
望 不美也难 你我的山水”