Posts Tagged ‘intellect’


五月 3, 2021

Xu Jiang

The France I used to like has disappeared,
Paris is thronged with people from places
very far away from the outskirts of Gaul.
The America I used to love
has gone back into the movies.
Many people who live there now are villains from fiction,
Robert Penn Warren, William Styron, Faulkner and Steinbeck.
Hemingway characters have been condensed into fairytales.
And those bumpkins ridiculed by Thomas Wolfe,
they would like to hold the world by its throat as a matter of course.
I am thinking of Ellery Queen, Bogart, Jack Nicholson
and all sorts of Pacino,
standing between shadows and light, DeNiro people.
I am not sure whether the lives
described by the great Annie Proulx and Ring Lardner
have really existed.
If it really was like that,
then Philip Roth and Salinger, those two masters,
they didn’t have it any easier than Bernard Malamud or myself.
The Britain I liked and also hated,
the world of Dickens, Hardy, Emily Brontë, Evelyn Waugh,
also the world of Guy Maddin.
Chaplin and Hitchcock, they came from England,
no matter if they thought of it as their grandmother‘s home or whatever,
that kind of world is gone, no-one can go back to it.
Italy, of Umberto Saba’s bitter poetry,
of Tornatore’s splendor,
Fellini’s ghosts and deities,
a world has gone under but another world has not risen.
Poor Barcelona, poor Spain,
aside from Messi, what else can you make me think of?
The bullets shot at Lorca?
Thick smoke covers Cervantes and Unamuno.
But you are singing, saying what does this have to do with you?
As you go north, farther north, everywhere north in the world
you’ll run into people drinking forever.
They are crawling out of Ibsen, Hamsun, Dostoyevski’s White Nights,
Crawling all the way till today until half of what Solzhenitsyn described is gone.
I really don’t know if this is a good thing or not.
Neither Tolstoy nor Maupassant nor the wisdom of Martin du Gard can advise me.
Old Hesse stares into the distance with his Steppenwolf eyes and doesn’t speak.
At this time everyone can understand a little why Stefan Zweig and Richard Strauss broke down.
Bukowski didn’t care about any of this, he drank a bottle and went on writing.
Pasternak screwed up his horse face and stared at a row of trees in the snow.
Wandering souls drive their chariots, circling and circling,
soundlessly crushing expectations and fear;
crushing Nietzsche and Stephen Hawking, actually
all of this can be seen to belong to Stephen King.
But it’s ok,
just be glad it’s still ok,
food is eaten, television’s turned on.
Ineffective dreams are about to start,
about to start again.
You will wake up, we will wake up,
from utter sadness, wake up to enter
indefinite nights, poisoned days.
Yes, everything definitely indefinite.
Let us clear away this forest,
let us see the distance in the past.
Not so we can see the past,
but so we can see once more
the distance we longed for.

Translated by MW on May 2nd, 2021



Calligraphy by Huang Kaibing

Calligraphy by Huang Kaibing


Calligraphy by Huang Kaibing

Calligraphy by Huang Kaibing



Calligraphy by Huang Kaibing

Calligraphy by Huang Kaibing





Calligraphy by Huang Kaibing

Calligraphy by Huang Kaibing


1977 – 何金 He Jin

五月 11, 2020

He Jin

It was a beautiful time,
it was a fucking bad time.
We supposed-to-be-educated youths went off to exams
and more than half fell through.
If I had managed to fill in those two blanks,
I would have survived.
Who was Cao Xueqin?
Who was Qin Keqing?

Forward to now, Cao wrote Dream of the Red Chamber, everyone knows.
Qin Keqing, she’s one of 12 beauties
in the mystery novel,
the one most tight with Sister Feng.
In that blank space,
I drew a cow turd.
In the space for Cao Xueqin, because I was mad,
I wrote he was the third little girl
of old Cao
in our backyard.

Translated by MW, May 2020

He Jin, orig. name Jin Weixin, Muslim Hui nationality, born in the last lunar month of 1956. Published a story collection, one book of poetry and one book of essays. Poems and stories appeared in anthologies. In January 2018 he founded the poetry magazine Xiao Shi Jie (Small Verse World). He lives in Jilin city. 《新诗典》小档案:何金,原名金伟信,回族,1956年腊月出生。著有小说集《沉默的星空》、诗集《身体的宣言》、随笔集《平民天堂》。作品收入《中国口语诗年鉴》(2019年卷)、《中国回族文学通史·当代卷》。2018年1月创办《小诗界》诗刊,现居吉林市。






五月 11, 2018

Jun Er

man trinkt tee im teehaus
er bestellt bier

als das bier kommt
nippt er und sagt es sei schlecht

sie eilen schnell in ein anderes hotel
er nippt wieder

gibts hier frische mädchen

Übersetzt von MW im Mai 2018


七月 26, 2016

photo by David Howard

photo by David Howard


vernunft ist jetzt ein brauner bodensatz
das recht geht dem volk aus
das war immer schon so
das recht gehört denen die sichs richten können
in allen parteien
wer ist schuld wenn
der braune bodensatz präsident wird
jeder der haider cool fand
helmut zilk
jeder der nachgemacht hat
löschnak cap und so weiter
nicht nur die schwarzen
jeder der inseriert hat
in österreich das gratis aufliegt
im großen schmierblatt
dem unser kanzler sein amt verdankt
als er mit seinem vorgänger
auf einmal arschgeküsst hat
der fischer sagt auch nichts
wär doch schön irgendwie
könnt sich der handke für die republik
gegen die blauen staatsfeinde
so engagieren wie für milosevic
österreich ist ein schlechter witz

MW Mai 2016

photo by David Howard

photo by David Howard



ist die vernunft
der im parlament
herbeigestimmte notstand
der beiden parteien
für die zehn prozent noch zu viel sind?
die stimme der vernunft ist leise,
hat freud gesagt.
und ich vergess es
auch immer wieder.

MW Mai 2016




es war die stimme des intellekts
die stimme des intellekts ist leise
hat freud gesagt
jedenfalls stimmt es
das dreiste grinsen
auf den plakaten
ist wohl genau das gegenteil
in beiden fällen

die lust am für-blöd-verkaufen
das fahnenschwenken
wer den antifaschistischen konsens
in der verfassung
in frage stellt
gehört ins gefängnis
nicht ins parlament
oder in die hofburg

das kann man nicht laut genug sagen

MW Juli 2016

Photo by David Howard

Photo by David Howard


六月 3, 2014

chun sue questionsChun Sue

do you think you are an intellectual?

du you think you are an existentialist?
do you think you like to eat zha jiang mian?
do you think you are collecting antiques?

do you think you are following fashion?
do you think you have improved since you started?
do you think you have fulfilled your ideals?
do you think you’re a patriot?

do you think you love the truth?
do you think you dare to say it?
do you think you don’t fear retribution?
do you think you’re a good writer?

do you think you’re a poet?
do you think you’re a good mother?
do you think you’re a good father?
do you think you have loved?
do you think you are moral?
do you think microblogging makes China improve?

question mark mark mark
do you think they are prophets?
do you think you’re a groupie?

do you think there are things you don’t talk about?
do you think there are people you cannot offend?
do you think this novel is your autobiography?
do you think you have talent?

do you think your stuff is going to last?
do you think you have secrets?
do you think you have a big heart?

do you think you are fair to everyone?
do you think you’re responsible?
do you think you play by the rules?
do you think you have nothing to be ashamed of?

do you think you are self-important?
do you think you want revenge?
do you think you are scared of dying?
do you think you make people like you?
do you think you make people hate you?
do you think you have a future?
do you think you are falling behind?
do you think you are lonely?
do you think you are writing a poem?

this girl makes you crazy
let her go on babbling
asking herself

Tr. MW, June 2014

Chun Sue TraumChun Sue

Tr. MW, June 2014

Published in EPIPHANY magazine, fall 2014. Go on, look for this great Chinese Dream! I spent October 2014 at Vermont Studio Center with Yi Sha, editor of the daily New Century Poetry series 新世纪诗典. Chun Sue is one of the most well-known figures within this huge independent circle of poets.

Chun Sue Avenue of Eternal PeaceChun Sue

Little Brother says: dad, Avenue of Eternal Peace
take a good look
This is the road you walked for over 20 years
I am sitting with Papa and Little Brother
I am almost crying
Finally I know
why I like the Avenue of Eternal Peace
Slowly the car passes the Military Museum
and the red walls of Zhongnanhai
and Xinhua Gate
Papa is small now he fits in an ash box
sitting between us
doesn’t take up much space
We pass the Gate of Heavenly Peace
and I see him
He stands on the square
watching us while we’re passing

Why was it so hard to write about you
You’re the son of a peasant
I was born in a village
I am also the child of a peasant
I put on army songs for you all night
Crying my heart out —
I like all that too.

Tr. MW, May 2014

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