Fan Jinghua: Opening The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Opening The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Tomas drove through the zigzag country road
And arrived at a provincial sanatorium;
He quickly avoided a local amateur band
And sauntered into a housed hot spring
Where chronic men circled around a floating chessboard.
An awkward mermaid. Then, a petite figure
Sprang out of the pool, picked up a book, and held it under the left arm
And forward she cantered without turning her head,
Which Tomas could not help.......
He followed almost on her heels, through the narrow corridors
With institutionalized cells and distorted naked women behind the ajar doors,
And without turning his head, he picked them up in side glimpses.
His gait cleaved and swept (like waltzing) toward a half-deserted bar,
Where he occupied a corner over a small red book randomly opened,
Waiting for his facial expression to compose.
Sensible time had elapsed when he looked up to peep at the girl
Behind the counter and to capture the exact moment and angle
So that her eyes might meet his from different directions.
And they did. Not by chance.
He ordered across the room with exaggerated voiceless mouth,
And she checked his lip-rounding with hers
Three times before settling down to cognac.
He took out his wooden key tag,
And she added to his room fare the brandy and her time
To get out of there and meet him at the outside square.
Perfect for the rhyme.
But any tragic end starts with a unilateral seduction.
Tomas the chronic womanizer wanted to make affairs light, simple and direct,
Never delineating discrete instances into a lineal plot.
For instance, when he was seated on a hostess’ chair, he would order
Without a wink: Take off your clothes!
She would gasp in astonishment, agape, stoned, totally at a loss for words,
But that was what they could expect.
The pulse of electrified flesh would numb the trembling of soul.
His command was not to be repeated,
For he knew better the fatal power of concentration at that moment.
But this girl was different.
For one, she did not walk but leap upon rebounds;
For another, she carried a classic novel under her left arm;
And most of all, she was the name Tereza.
Their encounter could never be fully accounted for
Within the sphere of socio-psycho-somatic constructs of an individual.
There were far too many irrelevant onlookers on the platform in Anna Karenina.
One could see the warnings of danger at every turn
Only when scaling up the winding downslope: Dead Slow!
But they had boarded on a bobsleigh course,
All the eye-stopping spots flickering by, blurred, without a retainable frame.
Eye-to-eye look existed only as a memory
When Tomas looked at Tereza floating along a corridor, swerving
Among tables and chairs before standing behind the counter, half submerged,
While fits of worn-out brass were heard from outside
June 4-5 2007