李必豐 Li Bifeng (English)

Painting by Sara Bernal

Painting by Sara Bernal

Li Bifeng
YOU ARE

You are
the worm wriggling inside my skull
Freedom is outside these great walls
My love is outside these great walls
My son is outside these great walls
Mother and friends are ouside these great walls
I am in prison
You are in my blood
Although your wriggling makes me crazy
But you have healed me from inside

Tr. MW, May 2013

 

Li Bifeng: A NOTE FROM PRISON

In the summer of 1992, in a vegetable garden on the roof of a shed housing inmates of the Sichuan Province Prison # 1, I spent three days alone with the old prisoner Zhang Fafu, who had been transferred to this prison at Nanchong from forced labor at a coal mine. Our task was to build a wall out of plastic parts and wire at the side where the roof garden faced the bathing pool, to prevent other prisoners from secretly watching the women taking their baths down below. I got this assignment at that time because my sentence was short, I was working at the kiosk of my unit and wasn’t considered as a common criminal. So the cadre chose that old prisoner from the coal mine and me.

From the second day on he told me everything about himself. From his talking, I could feel the jolts in his soul. He had attended high school before Liberation in 1949, he loved reading and understood a lot of things; he even liked poetry. He asked me so often until I had no choice but to give him one of the poems I had written. A few days later, I was transferred. After I arrived at Prison # 3, someone from # 1 came to go over my accounts. That’s when I heard something happened to Zhang Fafu. He had taken the plastic parts from our wall, tied them to is arms and jumped from a building. He wasn’t dead, but he became a vegetable.

I don’t know if he read my poem. Later, when I was released from Prison # 3 upon completion of my sentence, I stuffed the original manuscript of this poem into a bamboo flute I had got from Liao Yiwu, and blocked the hole at the bottom with soap. This way I got to take the poem with me. All these years, whenever I think of Zhang Fafu, I think of our plastic wall. It’s not the same as the wall in my poem, but now I cannot separate the poem from Zhang Fafu.

Tr. MW, May 2013

Translator’s note: Li Bifeng‘s NOTE and the following poem are part of his novel Wings In The Sky (天空中的翅膀). One chapter is available on the LIBIFENG2012 WordPress site. The main characters are an old prisoner, a bird and a woman who lives in a shed not far from the prison with her daughter. The plot is rather interesting.

 

Li Bifeng
INVISIBLE WALLS, WHOSE WALLS?

无形的墙,谁的墙?
李必豐

父亲
Father
我们到哪里去
Where are we going
青烟袅袅
Smoke is curling
星系、化石、现代社会
Galaxis, fossils, modern living
街市的脚步密密麻麻
Streets and cities footsteps thronging
星星纽扣般排列
Stars arranged in rows of buttons
墓地咀嚼着匆匆人流
Gravesites chewing streams of people
磷火的唾液洗涤回忆
Phosphor spittle rinsing memories
树与草们的根须触摸太阳
Treeroots, grassroots touch the sunlight
老子、孔子……
Lao Tzu, Confucius, one after the other
一个个幽魂在寂寞的颅腔
Wandering soul in lonely craniums
用五千年锤打钻石颗粒
Five thousand years beating diamond grains
钟摆蚯蚓般穿来穿去
An earthworm a pendulum going through back and forth
躯壳空洞
Empty shell
宇宙噼里啪啦
Crackling universe
城市锋利的牙齿
The city’s sharp teeth
算盘被谁拨的如此之快
Abacus moved so quickly by whom
蜂拥的土壤如洪水
Crowded earth like a flood
从拥挤到拥挤
Crowded and crowded again
风的软指弹动树条
Wind’s soft fingers flicking tree boughs
云琴萧萧
Organ music in the clouds
瓦楞间鸽子收敛着翅膀
Doves in the folds of the roof hide their wings
遗骸里跳跃着淡绿色芽孢
Green bacilli jumping in the remains
你的爪子撩拨母亲奶头
Your claws are teasing mother’s nipples
皱纹下
Under wrinkles
子宫裸露
Uterus exposed
宇宙爆炸
Universe exploded
意象分蹦析离
Images shattered
血液航程
Blood stream voyage
暗礁撞毁远航彗星
Foundering on reefs distant comets
一滩羊水托起七块浮萍
Amniotic fluid with seven duckweeds
生命之根于水与火里燃烧成一条条鱼
Root of life in water and fire burns into one fish after the other
那么我们是哪一鱼种
What kind of fish are we then
这世界为何不见供我们修房搭屋的浮萍
Why are there no duckweeds for us to repair our roofs on this world
淡蓝的火焰烘灼天宇
Pale blue flames scorching the heavens
苍蝇般的星星在夜的花丛中眨眼睛
Stars like flies blinking eyes in the bloom of the night
涪江轻轻揉搓城池脚背
Fu river rubbing the feet of the city
归鸦送藏落日
Crows return and hide with the sunset
荧光闪烁
Fireflies flickering
琥珀、月亮、星星
Amber, the moon and the stars
一盒
A box
珠宝被云压进大理石天枕
Of pearls pressed by clouds into marble pillows
光明隐逸
Shining hermits
翅膀从母亲的乳峰下飞起
Wings take flight from mother’s breasts
鱼钩密布
Many fishhooks
欲望操纵意识之竿垂挂时间钓线
Desire controling lines of time the rod of the mind
生命诱饵下
Under the bait of life
泥土伸出长长的脖子
Long, long necks streching out from the soil
嘴与嘴的对垒
Mouths pitted against other mouths
头鱼散发迷幻剂
Head fish emit psychodelic drugs
数不清的母亲临盆于漂流瓶底
Innumerable mothers in labor float down a bottle
饥饿的脚伸出十指捧着叫儿女的漏碗四处乞行
Hungry feet stretch out fingers with the kid’s leaky bowls going begging
灯,灯,灯
Lamps, lamps, lamps
照耀万物的不灭之灯究竟被谁占据
Who occupied the everburning lamp that shines on all things
黄土弥漫
Yellow earth everywhere
这么多人
So many people
这么多船
So many boats
一双双软桨被羽毛自戕
Many pairs of soft oars killed by their feathers
夜的寒窑
Night’s frosty cave
落叶溅起璨玉碎粒
Fallen leaves splashing splinters of jade
黑蛇筑巢于中庸堂顶
Dark snakes build their nests on ancient roofs
水鸟踩碎珍珠般细浪
Water fowls trample ripples like pearls
于睫毛丛中啄食上望下看的眼睛
Eyes look up and down picking food in the eyelashes
步入楚河汉界
Stepping into the River of Chu and the border of Han
我寻觅缥缈花朵
I am looking for flowers in the mist
父亲
Father
我们家的小花在哪里绽放
Our family’s flowers, where do they bloom?
是谁用刀砍削汉字如此随意
Who cut away the writing at will
天坛与地坛上
On the Temple of Heaven, Temple of Earth
皇帝们用鞭子正在抽打一只只陀螺
Emperors spinning tops with their whips
“栓住嘴巴为中
长鞭围处为国”
“Tied up mouths as the Middle
Whips surrounding as Kingdom”
烟波浩淼
Misty waves and rolling waters
五千年渊薮沉船叠桅
Sunken ships pile up five thousand years
苇花与帆影吹乱拉网小调
Reeds blooming, sails billowing, random whistling, pulling the net
码头在鱼市上活蹦乱跳
Hopping about at the harbour fish market
渡口的石阶挤满捉虱子的乞丐
Stone steps at the ferry crowded with beggars hunting for fleas
一只
One
两只
Two
三只
Three
我们、你们、他们
We, you, they
这么多人、这么多嘴、这么多血
So many people, so many mouths, so much blood
神庙前人头簇拥
Heads flocking in front of the temple
无数条忙乱的小虫在裤裆里挤来挤去
Countless bugs jumping in crotches
两把卵形手术刀眨眼就把人肢解为上亿的小鱼
Two oval scalpels dismember people rapidly into millions of fish
下雨了
It is raining
下雨了
It is raining
谁倾大缸于星际
Who poured a big pot over the skies
这么多人这么多嘴这么多爪
So many people, so many mouths, many underlings
洪荒铺天盖地
Flood, famine over heaven and earth
大禹不知何去
Where is King Yu
人们自己湮没自己
People are drowning themselves
生存空间
Living space
生存空间在哪里
Where is their living space
遗址残存
Ruins remain
到处是涂抹法典彩釉的宫殿与庙宇的残垣断壁
Ruins of temples and palaces inscribed with laws and color glaze
只有死人是不分阶级的
Only the dead are classless
一颗颗头颅在我们的鞋底静坐示威
So many skulls under our shoes in silent protest
活着的人却从不搭理
Ignored by the living
口琴声从远处传来
Harmonica tune comes from afar
谁的小嘴吞噬在
Whose little mouth swallowed up
这世界
In this world
博物馆的柜厨里
In the museum’s display cases
挤塞一只只僵硬的耳朵与眼睛
Stuffed with rigid ears and eyes
陶俑布列方阵
Terracotta warriors phalanx
出征
Sent to battle
秦雕汉刻
Sculpted by the Qin and Han
一颗颗头颅浇铸铅水
Skulls are cast with molten lead
这么多人
So many people
比赛一站接一站
Many contests in a row
看谁最慢到达终点
Who will reach the goal most slowly
太阳吮吸大地之血
Sun sucking blood out of the earth
旱田大坼
Draught, the fields are cracking up
瑟瑟枝叶扎入空空灵魂
Empty souls in rustling leaves
风的脑髓开始流浪
From the wind the brains go wandering
一些干瘪的籽粒生根、发芽、开花、结实
Some shriveled seeds taking root, sprout and bloom, forming fruits
最终于秋收的空旷里
In the end in harvest’s empty spaces
等待御火的焚烧
Waiting to be cast into fire
灰烬茫茫
In the ashes
我们只是保育员与纵火犯
We are but nursery attendants and arsonists
公元
In the year of
1989
Nineteen-eighty-nine
有人在自家门前放火
Someone set fire at his own door
淘金者
Golddiggers
一串联一串
Rows and rows of golden crowns
黄金之冠扣压泪水浸泡的史篇
Holding down tear-drenched history records
活埋汉字的幽台
Gravestones of characters buried alive
宴席密布
Banquets all over
一块块白骨摆堆大碟小盘…
Heaps of bones on plates and bowls
揩干夜的浊气
Wipe the night’s impurity
太阳烂醉如泥
Sun drunk as a fish
风的经脉
Wind meridians
琉璃瓦荡漾
Play on glazed tiles
我的老爹
My old dad
昨夜是不是搂着母亲醉困杯底
Last night hugging mother drunk and tired in the dregs
算一算酒钱
Did he try to count the grain
需要多少粮食
He would need to buy wine
折抵几筐贝币
How many baskets of cowries
面对上苍
Facing the heavens
我的火眼早被暴雨浇灭
My blazing eyes put out by thunderstorms long ago
活着是一堵墙
To be alive is a wall
死是唯一泥匠
Death is the only plasterer
寒冬狂吹着雪风
Snowstorms raging in winter
人们依旧在用冰块搭筑定律
People are still building laws with ice-cubes
等待春天的太阳
Waiting for the sun in spring
只有自然涌动精灵之海
Only the sea, ever surging with spirits
一缕缕撵散的灵气跳跃蒸腾
Steaming, leaping, ejected, dispersed
风起动云的囚车
Prison van, raising wind, moving clouds
水流放到雨里、冰里、雾里、火里”
Water forced into rain, into ice, into mist, into fire
千古以来
Since time immemorial
谁对这糖衣裹着的炮弹进行过拒绝
Who has refused sugar-coated bullets
我只是一次一次听见有人说
I only heard many times someone said
他能够
That he could
把糖衣吃掉将炮弹还给贿赂者
Eat the sugar and hand the bullets back to the bribers
沼泽困绕
Hemmed in by swamps
我们寻觅木桩、锯子、螺丝钉、拉链
We look for wood piles, saws, screws and chains
神们在棺材般的石像里滴淌尸水
Gods leaking fluids in their coffin-like statues
死亡一圈圈剥蚀皮肤深处的廊拄
Death rippling deep under the skin eroding supports
我的舵哟!
Oh my helmsman!
你是否还驾御我这出租船于水与土之间划来划去?
Are you still steering my taxi boat paddling back and forth between water and land?
家是日渐衰败的残枝
Home is a broken branch going down by the day
绿色的爪子撕扯阳光
Green claws rip up sunlight
星球在嘴唇里一点点消亡
Stars go out in your mouth one by one
几只蜜蜂飞过温润的花蕊
Bees fly by soft moist pistils
橡皮奶头里
In rubber teats
艺术、哲学、宗教勾兑着魔幻之液
Art, philosophy, religion mixed in a magic liquid
一只只蚂蚁衔着一枚枚腐叶拖进洞穴
Ants in a row carry one rotten leaf after the other into their cave
无数个发掘者从那句号的孔洞里掏出一块块光灿灿的金币
Countless explorers dig out from the hole of that full stop one shiny gold coin after the other
碑倒了
Tablets collapsed
人头正在向方形进化
Human heads evolve into squares
鳞甲铜绿毛茸茸地遮盖视线
Scales shell hairy verdigris covers your vision
苦涩的目光回映滴血的孔洞
Pained eyes reflect blood-dripping holes
枫叶拂扫秋影
Maple leafs sweep autumn shades
脚步由远而
Footsteps from afar coming

Close
谁在急促推打寒窗?
Who pounds at my study windows
收帐的链子来了
Chains are coming debt collecting
这高利贷
Usury for generations
祖祖辈辈
From our fathers, forefathers
?
?
一代又一代
Debt bills flowing in our blood
欠帐的单据化在血里从祖宗高高的山上向我们流来
Down from the peaks of our ancestors
遗传是我们的泉眼
Inheritance is our spring
是清是浊
Whether it is clear or muddy
我们自己已经无法改变
We can’t change it anymore
祖辈欠下的债务
No-one can pay back
没有人还得清
The debts of his forefathers
告诉我
Tell me
?
?
谁最终将榨干我们最后一滴血
Who will press out our last drop of blood
然后把我们还给地底放高利贷的钱庄
Then hand us back to the underworld banks
我们去死
When we go to our deaths
谁又去活
Who will go to their lives
拿去吧
Go on, take it
骷髅是我唯一的资本
My skull is my capital
去哪里
Where are we going
去哪里
Where are we going
老天
Oh my god
你的肉胯把我夹得好痛
Your hips are clasping me, it hurts
我再也跑不动
I cannot move
天狗吃月的传说
Heavenly dog eating the moon
下雨前一只只鱼头在水面串跃
Fish heads jump in a row before the rain
风儿掐破星星的睾丸
Storms crushes the balls of the stars
我一拳打瞎自己的眼睛
With one fist I punch out my own eye
河床内奔腾的血
Rushing blood in river beds
狱吏伪装成太阳
Warden dressed up as the sun
在窗外走来走去
Walking back and forth outside
叛徒纵有千万条理由最终少一滴血
Traitors with a million reasons short of one drop of blood
骗子纵有千万张嘴脸最终少一真诚
Cheaters with a million features short of one honest look
暴君纵有千万把屠刀最终少一人性
Tyrants with a million knives short of one human heart
命运纵有千万次机遇最终少一过去
Destiny with a million chances short of one past
这世界向来如此
The world has always been like this
万万年过后
After aeons
生命依然是一张张白纸
Life is a blank page every time
(公元一九九二年于南充四川省第一监狱)
(Written in 1992 in Nanchong at Sichuan #1 Prison)

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3条回应 to “李必豐 Li Bifeng (English)”

  1. Li Bifeng | 中国大好き Says:

    […] Li Bifeng: http://www.worldwide-reading.com, http://libifeng2012.wordpress.com Some new translations into English and […]

  2. Reading for Li Bifeng | 中国大好き Says:

    […] am currently translating a long poem by Li Bifeng into English, and have translated several small texts into German. Two of these will appear in the literary […]

  3. 23. Art is unsettling | Lyrikzeitung & Poetry News Says:

    […] am currently translating a long poem by Li Bifeng into English, and have translated several small texts into German. Two of these will appear in the literary […]

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