Metals by Anton Arrufat

What do you think of the word metal?
Do you like it?
If I say,
the metal of your voice,
do you like it?
Metal sounds,
shimmers, endures.
Gleams in the dirt
of excavations.
“It’s a metal,” says
the Egyptologist’s helper.
A metal in Etruria,
in Uxmal,
in the remote
city of Ur.
A metal,
the metal of your voice.

translated by Katherine M. Hedeen

open the door

are your feet tired
baby
from all that running
in my mind
she says
that seductive smile
slightly parted lips
the hint of a tongue
lying in wait
all this
her eyes say
and heaven too
only seconds
from now
hear my knock
again that smile
now open the door

oh how brief

the ice melts
in the glass
of Black Bush
and my mind
like the ice
dissolves
into memories
of shared bottles
of old friends
of time past
and oh how brief
ice lasts
in a glass

Drinking Alone in a Small Garden by Li Shang-yin

Who could have knit the willow’s belts?
The flower buds are unwilling to open yet.
Only a pair of dancing butterflies are left;
Not a single person has come here.
I half unfold the dragon-whisker mat,
And lightly pour into the horse-brain cup.
Every year the arrival of spring is uncertain;
I have been deceived by the early blooming plum!

translated by James J.Y. Liu

Goodbye At The River by Li Po

In this little river town
the autumn rain lets up
the wine’s all gone
well then, goodbye!

you stretch out in your boat
the sail fills, you skim home
past islands burning with flowers
banks crowded with willows

what about me? I don’t know
I think I’ll go sit
on that big rock
and fish

translated by David Young