You ask me the date of my return—no date has been set.
The night rain over the Pa Mountain swells the autumn pond.
O when shall we together trim the candle by the west window,
And talk about the time when the rain fell on the Pa Mountain?
translated by James J. Y. Liu
The river, looking bleak,
reflects the autumn sky
bits of lotus and chestnut
drift along on its surface
I’m wandering slowly
into my empty old age
I watch the sand and pebbles
stirring along the shoreline
hearing a lone swan call
in search of other swans.
translated by David Young
Against the screen of “mother-of-clouds” the candle throws its deep shadow;
The Long River gradually sinks, the morning star sets.
Ch’ang-o should regret having stolen the elixir:
The green sea—the blue sky—her heart every night!
translated by James J. Y. Liu
the candle flickering
on the wall
bring back a memory
of you dancing
in that house
the dog curled up
on the shag rug
the only witness
not so drunk
not to know
would never be
i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like my body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it-comes
over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big love-crumbs,
and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you so quite new
My love’s manners in bed
are not to be discussed by me,
as mine by her
I would not credit comment upon gracefully.
Yet I ride by the margin of that lake in
the wood, the castle,
and the excitement of strongholds;
and have a small boy’s notion of doing good.
Oh well, I will say here,
knowing each man,
let you find a good wife too,
and love her as hard as you can.
Should I get married? Should I be good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood?
Don’t take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understand why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It’s beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky—-
How hard is it for me, who live
in the excitement of women
and have the desire for them
in my mouth like salt. Yet
you have taken me and quieted me.
You have been such light to me
that other women have been
your shadows. You come near me
with the nearness of sleep.
And yet I am not quiet.
It is to be broken. It is to be
torn open. It is not to be
reached and come to rest in
ever. I turn against you,
I break from you, I turn to you.
We hurt, and are hurt,
and have each other for healing.
It is healing. It is never whole.
hearing those harmonies
evoking the dream
to be safe
far from brown leaves
and gray skies
in the LA
of our collective fantasy
where once long ago
I left that promise
for the slap
in the face
of the cold air
In this woman the earth speaks.
Her words open in me, cells of light
flashing in my body, and make a song
that I follow toward her out of my need.
The pain I have given her I wear
like another skin, tender, the air
around me flashing with thorns.
And yet such joy as I have given her
sings in me and is part of her song.
The winds of her knees shake me
like a flame. I have risen from her,
time and again, a new man.