Liang Xiaoman|poetry is system failure

“Sysetem Failure“, audio by Liang Xiaoman

Produced by The Tenonists

System Failure

 before we speak about this, can we
 lift you from your body like a saddle 
 being unburdened from a horse
 the ego is a type of processor
 not too advanced; sometimes
 inhibiting the way you
 run more difficult tasks
 we use it to solve 
 basic problems in life
 when feeling ill
 we’re able to go to the hospital by ourselves
 engage in simple transactions
 purchase daily necessities 
 and promote consumption, thereby
 acquiring a spark of dopamine
 which benefits us 
 when approaching the opposite sex
 and arranging a date in a buoyant mood
 under the influence of just the right amount of alcohol
 it updates its serial number for the gods
 before we speak 
 let's upgrade this processor
 facing the bathroom mirror
 you embrace yourself like embracing
 a line of code, you don’t experience
 love, nor do you feel desire
 at this point, let's begin by 
 speaking openly, what is love?
 love is one’s path to the ultimate
 what is the ultimate?
 the ultimate is the program that the gods wrote for you
 what then is death?
 death is system repair
 what is poetry?
 poetry is system failure...
 what is poetry?
 poetry is system failure...
 what is poetry?
 poetry is system failure... 

系统故障

 在谈论这个之前能否
 将你从你身上解除就像
 把马鞍从马身上卸下来
 自我是一种不太先进的
 处理器,它有时候妨碍你
 运行更高难度的任务
 有了它,我们能解决
 生活的基本问题
 身体不太健康的时候
 我们能够自行去医院
 进行简单的贸易
 购买日常用品
 促进消费,并因此得到
 某种多巴胺,那有益于
 我们怀着一颗愉快的心
 接近异性,安排约会
 在酒精适度的效用下
 为神更新它的序列号
 开始谈论前让我们
 先升级这个处理器
 面对浴室里的镜子
 你拥抱自己像拥抱
 一行代码,你感觉不到
 爱,也感觉不到欲望
 这个时候,让我们开始
 谈论吧,爱是什么?
 爱是一个人通向终极之路
 终极是什么?
 终极是神为你写的程序
 死亡又是什么?
 死亡是系统的修复
 诗是什么?
 诗是系统的故障
 诗是什么?
 诗是系统的故障
 诗是什么?
 诗是系统的故障……


Golden Pool

 at the junction of Shangbu Middle Road and Yuanling
 there are a few old buildings once used by the Municipal Party Committee
 downstairs there was a dining hall for the public
 selling leek steamed buns, food for northerners
 on the roof of the top floor, ground tiles
 broken and dirty, but on summer afternoons
 the pool at the bottom of the building
 glistens with golden starlight
 the blue water is rippling, and gently embraces
 those smooth, sturdy bodies
 surrounded by lush lychee forests 
 back then, sitting on the wall of the rooftop
 was a young girl whose thin legs swayed slightly in mid-air
 the warm summer breeze and the golden pool
 people’s laughter and words
 the young girl gazes a long time at the earth
 the soft sky above 
 this turret in the city, happy people
 the boundless lychee forest, even more distant
 as far as the eye (or perhaps the mind) can see, the sides of the railroad track
 are divided by the train heading north every night
 the black hole of the universe, the dreams of the young girl
 are also divided together —
 they once resonated with the pool at the bottom of the building 
 laughter, words
  
 the young girl’s thin legs sway slightly in mid-air
 she’s counting the hours, counting the twilights
 little did she know that she would go on 
 to live another twenty-nine years 

金色泳池

 上步中路与园岭的交界处
 有几栋老旧的楼,曾是市委
 楼下有面向市民的食堂
 卖韭菜包子,北方人的食物
 顶楼的天台上,地砖
 残缺、肮脏,然而
 夏天的午后,楼底的泳池
 闪耀着金色的星光
 蔚蓝的水波荡漾,温柔地拥抱
 那些光滑的、结实的身体
 周边生长着茂密的荔枝林
 那个时候,坐在天台的围墙上
 少女幼细的双腿在半空轻微摇晃
 温暖的夏风,金色的泳池
 人们的欢笑,言语
 少女长久地凝视着大地
 柔软的天空
 城市的这个角楼,幸福的人们
 漫无边际的荔枝林,更遥远
 目光所极(也许是意会),铁轨的一侧
 每个夜晚被驶向北方的火车等边分割
 宇宙的黑洞,少女的梦
 也一起被分割——
 那里也曾与楼底的泳池共鸣着
 欢笑,言语
  
 少女幼细的双腿在半空轻微摇晃
 她在默默数着时间,数着黄昏
 她不知道,后来
 她又活了二十九年 


Rainbow Train

 the little train leaves from the rainbow body
 dwarfs with round heads, round hands...
 a round bubble bursts and with a snap of the fingers
 childhood has departed
  
 she remains where she was
 waiting for a cold-day kiss
 falling in the eternal desert
 thirsting for the source of water in water
 unbuttoning her shirt, with bitter milk overflowing
 the ever-unredeemed desires
 as innocent as forbidden fruit
  
 they are cast like specks of light into this moment
 passing by the skylight
 heading into the past, flies a rainbow train

2019

彩虹火车

 虹身里开出的小火车
 圆脑袋的小矮人,圆的手⋯⋯
 圆气泡裂开,一响指间
 童年便过去了
  
 她还留在原处
 等待冷昼般的亲吻
 落在那旷日持久的荒漠
 于水中渴求水源
 解开衣裳,溢出苦涩的乳汁
 那一直未被拯救的
 与蛇果一样无辜的欲念
  
 它们如光斑投射在此刻
 天窗前经过的一辆
 驶向过去的彩虹火车 

2019


Ear

 at this moment, what makes us hesitate is an ear
 is it still there - like the sky pressing its vastness down,
 mist shrouding passing birds, questioning its silence 
 while holding its breath
  
 we anticipate this ear, which is acquainted with 
 the falling of sonorous thunder from the sky above, while down in the mire
 the moanings of insects blanket each other, and we indulge
 this ear to extract its obscure waves
  
 it’s as if the sea derives from its eardrums
 far away at times, closer at others,
 while the tide rushes to what it needs to listen to
 some lines of poetry, or ancient rhetoric
  
 it’s words that render us indistinguishable from each other
 that allow us to give each other lines of poetry as gifts and to denigrate each other
  
 that huge ear, as if God
 were hovering among us 

耳朵

 此时,让我们犹豫的是一只耳朵
 它是否还在——像天空垂下阔大
 雾霭笼罩着掠过的飞鸟,屏息中怀疑
 它的静默。
  
 我们期待这一只耳朵,它习惯于
 洪亮的雷声从高天坠下,淤泥中
 呻吟的虫鸣覆盖彼此,我们纵容
 那耳朵,掏出它晦暗的浪声
  
 仿佛大海来自它的鼓膜
 它一时很远,一时很近
 潮汐涌向需要它聆听的
 一些诗行,或古老的修辞
  
 是言说让我们无分彼此
 互赠一些诗行,互相诋毁
  
 那只巨大的耳朵,就像上帝
 悬在我们之中 


Travel

 the beehive-like, mirrored chest cavity
 on the clean and polished floor
 a late arrival only in comparison with the sky
 a bird lands, then flies away
 in a state of protracted expectation we chat about
 disease, how it
 penetrates the aging body
 disease is as ancient as the world itself
 the bird lands, then flies away
 on TV a great leader is
 constructing the history of East Asia
 we start to do some stretches, to show
 how sinews and bones rectify the growth of muscles
 in the cochlea the music of utopia rings
 we start to swallow some hyperreal pills
 on TV the hands of those political leaders meet, then wave towards the masses
 we talk about disease the way we talk about politics
 or the latest Sony earphones
 outside the landing window, a monstrous fuel-powered lump is waiting
 the lighthouse has not yet sent out its signal
 the bird keeps an abstemious distance from people
 the flight is one of all flights
 as the bird is one of all birds
 its eyes are so fresh, while the morning breeze skims the tip of the lighthouse
 and the shining wings
 are a kind of nostalgi —
  
 idling away our time, we witness
 our voices slowly fading in this tumorous cavity.  

旅行

 蜂巢状的镜子胸腔
 洁净的、发亮的地板上
 只比天空晚一点抵达的
 鸟儿落下,飞走
 我们在延迟的期待里闲谈
 疾病,如何
 进入衰老的身体
 疾病,和世界一样古老
 鸟儿落下,飞走
 电视机里一代伟人正在
 缔造东亚的历史
 我们开始拉伸腰肢,示范
 筋骨之术如何纠正肌肉的生长
 耳蜗响起乌托邦的音乐
 我们开始服食超现实的药丸
 电视机里领导人握手,向群众挥手
 我们谈论疾病像谈论政治
 或是索尼新款的耳机
 落地窗外由燃料发动的庞然巨物在等候
 灯塔迟迟未发出信号
 鸟儿与人保持着节制的距离
 这一趟飞行,是所有飞行的其中一次
 正如这只鸟儿,是所有鸟儿的其中一只
 它的目光如此新鲜,晨风正吹过灯塔
 与闪闪发亮的机翼
 那也是一种乡愁——
  
 无所事事的我们
 在这个多瘤的身体里逐渐丧失声音。 


November

 heat waves ebb only at night, the ocean rocks
 hairs tipped with tiny sweat beads, have the stars been here before
  
 the universe is imprisoned in a secret chamber, gazed upon, thus empty
 a planet in its prehistoric era, where tyrannosaurs reigned
  
 now plastic prevails, plastic feeding bottles, plastic dolls,
 homo plasticus - molecules of plastic invade our veins and brains
  
 a planet in its prehistoric era, where tyrannosaurs died of cold
 we are engulfed in wintry heat waves, the ocean rocks
  
 and rushes to the eyebrows, the forehead, the universe imprisoned therein
 an endless marine snow is falling 

十一月

 热浪只在夜晚消退,大海摇动
 细密的汗珠覆盖绒毛,星辰何曾来过
  
 密室禁锢的宇宙,因凝视而虚无
 史前的星球,暴龙曾是它的主人
  
 如今塑胶蔓延,塑胶奶瓶,塑胶娃娃
 塑胶人——塑胶微粒进入我们血液和大脑
  
 史前的星球,暴龙死于寒冷
  我们被冬天的热浪裹挟,大海摇动
  
 涌向眉额,在那里禁锢的一个宇宙
  一望无际的海雪正在落下 


You will mourn for others, and enter into sorrow

You will mourn for others, and enter into sorrows.
                                                                       —Ovid
  
 it is dry, so dry
 black blood gushes out of the seared and shattered well
 a metamorphic bird squawks prophecy
 endless night is but a great fire
  
 the ashes fall, the hurried, capricious faces
 of shepherds and immortals can hardly be recognized
 the mask transforms you, Cassandra
  
 no one listens, God will rebuke
 his forgetful people, ferocious ravens feeding on waste
 the throat of the Styx has been strangled, who in the void
 are mourning the loss of loved ones
 bite into the pomegranate, mutilated snowflakes deluge the lungs
  
(2020, in memory of Li Wenliang) 

你将与哀悼的人们为侣

 你将与哀悼的人们为侣
           ——奥维德
  
 干涸,太干涸了
 泉井迸裂,黑血冒涌
 变形之鸟,尖叫着预言
 永夜既是一场大火
  
 灰烬落下,牧羊人与仙
 奔走的脸不能被识别
 面具幻化你,卡珊德拉
  
 无人听佢,神将训诫
 失忆的子民,腐食的凶鸦
 冥河咽喉已封锁,虚空境内
 谁在哀泣失去的亲人
 咬开这石榴,破雪淹没肺腑
  
 (2020,悼李文亮) 


Playground

 summer is cruel
 hair, skin, fats, veins
 and muscles all march in one direction
  
 the reefs of middle age grow thick
 you feel their excess
 slowly, sweat drips onto
 a sharp blade edging into the heart
  
 the people on the playground amount to a zero
 the people on the playground are a rubber
  
 distorted into a shape or size by an intangible force 
 good for transporting, installing, lining up and storing
 it doesn’t know that your dreamscape lies outside reality
 it doesn’t know that all your life you’ve loved pranks 
  
 the rain is delayed; from the playground filled with empty cartons
 rises the sudden chirruping of birds. 

操场

 夏天是残忍的
 毛发、皮肤、脂肪、血管
 肌肉往一个方向正步
 中岁的礁石丛生
 你感受到它们的多余
 汗水缓缓地流向
 即将插入心脏的尖刀
  
 操场上的人是一个零
 操场上的人是一块橡皮
  
 被无形的力扭成一种形状与体积
 适宜运输、装置、列队、入库
 它不知道你的梦境在现实之外
 它不知道你这一生热爱恶作剧
  
 雨被延迟,堆满空箱的操场
 忽然响起了鸟鸣—— 


Nocturnal Animal

 animals fleeing in the dark 
 belonged to dreams and hepatitis A in quarantine
 a black chimpanzee on a swing gazed
 at your eyes gazing at her 
  
 too many beasts and exiles
 in those past nights
  
 there was always a gunshot behind your head
 boiling your blood and squeezing your bladder
  
 at night, the black ape you gazed at
 gazed at you, a small companion  
  
 night imprisoned the fleeing beasts
 upon your liver grew nocturnal flowers  

2019.4

夜行动物

 趁着夜色逃亡的动物
 属于梦与隔离的甲肝
 秋千上的黑猩猩凝视着
 你凝视她的双眼
  
 那些过去的夜晚       
 有太多的野兽与逃亡
  
 脑后永远有一声枪响
 让血液沸腾,小便失禁
  
 被你凝视的黑猿于夜晚
 凝视着你,一个小小的同类
  
 夜晚幽禁着逃亡的野兽
 你的肝上长出夜之花朵 

2019.4


Fire

 years later, from the spirit of the mortal 
 you were to recollect a dying instant of that dusk —
 scratching the evening star, outside organic glass, 
 a hawk, returning from the underworld, blew its whistle    
  
 finally, from a distance, you saw the prophesied fire city—
 it’s an infinity too, flashing her nine stars 
 from below, born in the abdomen of fire,
 banished from the city every night  
  
 ‘it is not you that moves; it is the dark’*
 from the land of sunrise to the boulevard of sunset
 the tired mortal, having taken a long trek, 
  
 reached the city of Christ, an uninhabited desert 
 and saw a towering mushroom cloud rising in the East
 an upside-down city, a one-legged priest…
  
 the bird in her spirit had yet to fly out
 it had been waiting its whole life for one signal: fire 
  
*Robert Penn Warren, ‘Immortality Over the Dakotas’  

 多年以后,从必死者的神中
 回忆那个傍晚将逝的瞬间——
 与晚星擦身,有机玻璃之外
 冥界返回的鹰它吹响的哨音
  
 终于望见那预言的火城——
 它也是一个无穷,在底下
 煊赫她的九大恒星,从火的腹部
 诞生,每一个夜晚被拒之城外
  
 移动的并不是你。是黑暗*
 从日出之国来到日落大道
 疲倦的必死者长途跋涉
  
 曾抵达基督的城,无人荒漠
 曾见高耸的蘑菇云在东方升起
 倒悬的城市,单腿的教士......
  
 她神中的那只鸟尚未飞出
 它这一生等待着一个信号——火 

 *移动的并不是你。是黑暗”——引自罗伯特.潘.沃伦 


Liang Xiaoman 梁小曼
Liang Xiaoman, born in Shenzhen in 1974, is a poet and translator. She has been composing poems since 2009, and her poetic work have been published in magazines including Today, Enclave, Hong Kong Literature, Ming Pao Weekly and Poetry East West; she has been featured in Selected Poems of Chinese Female Poets (2018 and 2019) and Anthology of Chinese Female Poets (to be published in Mexico); she published her poetry collection System Failure, and appeared in a collection of poems by ten female poets, The Night is Brighter than the Day. Liang also has several translated books published. 


“Playground”, “Nocturnal Animal” and “Fire” – translation: Shen Zhi (沈至) and Stephen Nashef
“Travel”, November” and “You will mourn for others, and enter into sorrows” – translation: Cui Yixiong (崔奕雄) and Stephen Nashef
“System Failure”, “Golden Pool”, “Rainbow Train” and “Ear” – translation: Jia Wei (葭苇) and Stephen Nashef

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