Posts Tagged ‘the Great Wall’

9/11, 20 years on

9月 12, 2021

20

9/11 is like 1989.
People will remember.
20, 30, a hundred years after.
One such year is more than enough
in a lifetime, if you were there
among the carnage
or when the wall came down,
or was opened​, at first.
I was on a beach in 1989,
in the winter.
Weeks on a beach,
and Romania burned,
after Czechoslovakia didn’t,
and so on and so on.
A beach in Thailand, sunset beach.
Sunrise is on the other side
of the peninsula.
There is a mountain in between,
and there was one water buffalo left,
as far as I remember.
Krabi, Krabi! crie the boatsmen,
we didn’t go back to Krabi, the nearest town,
for quite a while.
Newspapers were from days ago, a week ago.
It was a marvelous year.
In 1989, I was in Taiwan, and in between, in the US and in Thailand.
In 2001, I was in Beijing.
Jackie worked in the Austrian embassy.
I was teaching and translating.
We saw it on TV, not right away,
as far as I remember.
We talked to friends and relatives
on the phone.
It was two years after 1999,
when Belgrade was bombarded.
They bombed the Chinese embassy,
it’s still not clear why.
I was in China then too,
in Chongqing.
I cried when I saw the towns over there on TV,
it looked too much like home.
They did to Belgrade what the Serbian side
had done to Sarajewo, and other cities,
and there was the massacre of Srebrenica
and so on and so on.
Yugoslavia is the place in Europa
that had no walls coming down in 1989,
rather some going up, more and more.
In 2012 we did a magazine issue here in Vienna,
Headfirst through the Great Wall of China,
or something like that.
It was crazy.
We had Yan Jun for reciting poetry and drama,
and we had Hui Ye, a very versatile local artist, mostly based in Austria.
Yan Jun is a famous poet and experimental musician from Lanzhou,
lives mostly in Beijing, very much on the fringe.
So we were doing a small local magazine,
but we were so excited, we told all the world!
I did, mostly. It was really great.
We had Yugoslavia, mainland China, Taiwan
and a Turkish German author wrote
the Great Wall was a sleeping dragon
that woke up once in a few centuries
and people came to grief.
And the magazine editor wanted to kill that,
thought it was disrespectful.
I don’t think he knew anyone from China.
How is this about 9/11?
9/11 was like 1989, in a way.
Everyone knows what happened in 1989,
or everyone doesn’t,
depends where you are.
There are still thousands of people
who died in New York on that day,
but there are no remnants.
They are still searching for traces.

MW September 2021

 

 

 

WHAT TO EAT ON THE GREAT WALL – 闫永敏

6月 10, 2014

what to eat on the great wall

Yan Yongmin
WHAT TO EAT ON THE GREAT WALL

Tomorrow I’m going to Beijing to see the Great Wall!
I couldn’t wait to tell my colleagues.

You better bring something to eat!
On the Great Wall, things are not cheap.

I’ll bring steamed Mantou
and Xian Cai sauerkraut.

You really want to lose face
up on the Great Wall?

I was joking.
I’ll bring milk and bread.

Tr. MW, June 2014


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