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Poetry

Two or Three Things from the Past

By Yu Jian
Translated from Chinese by Wang Ping & Ron Padgett
During China's Cultural Revolution, a government campaign to rid China of "counterrevolutionary" influences, millions of innocent people were persecuted: forced to leave their homes, fired from their jobs, imprisoned, tortured, and murdered. This poem depicts events from that time.

I
So hot then
red trucks loaded with burning tongues
forward forward again disappearing deep down inside escaped students rolling toward hometown
Ah the summer of the era schools closed
theaters closed weeds in parks
loudspeakers over the basketball courts a revolution full blast in Mandarin
only teenagers on the bank of an ancient river
felt the call they opened their pants
took hold of that little thing that had always brought them
pleasure like cavemen drilling on a piece of wood
till it sparked a yellow flame

2
We must visit the exhibition
we must stand in line
with a serious attitude past
the portraits of those villains each of them
in line all wearing
the same prison uniform confessing their crimes
their sins come
from somewhere else it’s as
if our obedience becomes a boring crime
with great attitude we walk in single file
our heads turn in unison from the left wall to the right like products
being inspected from different
sides their serious attitudes
the same as if their crimes are walking out from the wall
seriously into our bodies

3
These people stand in my parents’ bedroom
as if standing in a trench, serious expressions
only for
those who are furthering the grandest cause
a little nothing for my mother’s face a box with soap
stamped under the heel of a Liberation sneaker
cracked open
the green soap
popped out
like a plant’s eyeball

4
He stood on the side watching everyone play
as lonely as a shepherd
at twelve grapes growing in his eyes
at twelve he understood the whisper
of the little dwarfs at twelve
a loyal younger brother but all the children
turned their backs forbade him to touch their
spinning tops or to curse his father was
a counterrevolutionary thus he grew into
an adult

5
Spring 1967 his cousin suffered from schizophrenia
day and night he suspected
someone was persecuting him
You’re only a worker
Who will come to arrest you? Wouldn’t listen
asked the monkeys at the zoo
Are you coming to arrest me?
His work unit decided to commit him
cousin refused to leave like a rock
he pressed against the bed
sleeping with all his might
as if glued to his bed forever
at the end of their wits
his co-workers squatted
lifted him and the bed like lifting a car
and carried him to the madhouse

6
For twenty years at 1:10 A.M.
he rode his bike past the square
at the end of Nanping Street like a
thief who had just stolen something
from the state warehouse
for twenty years under the moonlight
in a thunderstorm
when lightning lit up this skinny night worker
and the bronze statue
in the square neither
had a raincoat on
for twenty years when it was time
the broken bike wheels started clanking punctually
he was always afraid of what
he had no idea he was a lathe turner
in a factory forever felt like a criminal
forever worried about someone watching behind his back
till one day
he fell from his bike
his empty lunch box
rolled away broke apart
only once in his life he had a heart attack
in the middle of the square after a quick dance
he dropped died
on Nanping Street Square
at 1:10 A.M.
only one immortal figure
stood fearlessly

7
Winter 1966
two grown-ups arrived at our home they
were not cops but revolutionary comrades
from my dad’s work unit they wanted me to expose
my father what he had written in his diary
he had counterrevolutionary thoughts had been hiding
in our army said his old comrades
whom I’d been calling uncles
on the stairs on a spring day they handed me
a big handful of milk candies
smiling like two trustworthy cows
even touched my head that was growing bigger every day
suddenly the grassland collapsed exposing
the iron hooves that’d been hiding in the grass
I kept quiet looking at my father’s hands
his stubborn left-handedness
that year I’d just started writing
just learned how to imagine my country
as a golden grassland but I
hadn’t learned from my father
a more sophisticated way to imagine
such as linking the finger calloused
from writing to a wiggling
dagger

8
The beautiful woman lived above us
the beautiful woman worked in the propaganda department
she played the only piano
summer became beautiful roses beautiful
my teen years beautiful
the beautiful woman looked at the blue sky beautifully
the beautiful woman gave me an apple
the beautiful woman reached out her featherlike finger
to touch my face ah that summer
my life flew out of my homework
she was a woman I was a boy
I wanted to say something like a man
didn’t know how I was still in grade school
I tried for a whole year from the summer
of 1965 to the summer of 1966
when I was finally ready to say it
her neck hung from the bloody sky
turned into a frozen scarf

9
On Book Forest Street there’s a pagoda from the age of Nanzhao
Nanzhao, king of the ancient Yunnan
ruled his kingdom west of the Tang Dynasty territory
one day I came to the tower
the big-character poster had a crack
that revealed a black line
I pressed my head against it to peek
someone shouted What are you looking at
I was so startled that winter
popped out of my cracked back
he laughed Nothing to see
only bricks inside

10
Once I wrote a letter to my father far away
his name turned into a nest of fleas under my pen
the three characters had become strangers at home
he was still the only boss but on paper I rarely
wrote about Father he wasn’t history but a particular
smell of sweat a very heavy
hand suspended above my homework notebook
I was used to the accent I’d learned in my mother’s womb
my vernacular impossible to write down all tangled up
and in his rocking chair he mocked my scribbles
then one day I saw his name on the street
painted in bold black every stroke
regular correct within the boundary
black words on white paper crossed out in red
people couldn’t help reading it out loud
that day I suddenly lost my voice at dinner
I quietly handed him his toothpick
not knowing what to call him
this so-and-so whose name was on the big poster
whom I had to eat with three times a day

11
April 3, 1970 Little Ding finally got hold of his father’s
only property a radio
with three wave bands hidden in his greasy uniform
I followed him to the fields outside his steel factory
endless wheat not a peasant around
everyone was at meetings only Little Ding and I
our ears bright red longer and longer
his hands that stroke iron every day turned the dial
awkwardly searching for foreign devils’
short waves I looked about
staring at the wheat
for fear of the masses their bright eyes
hidden inside after a lot of fiddling around
we finally heard someone speaking Chinese
ears pressed closely
like rabbits gone nuts inside a cage
the black plastic box was talking
I confess it said nothing
counterrevolutionary only a deep voice
broadcasting a football game

12
Wang Xiangdong’s father was a rebel
whose mother had bound feet loved millet porridge
and peaches and whose father was a calligrapher
who loved Li Yu’s poems addicted all his life
To two plum trees a deep pond and new moon
at sixteen he broke away from his father’s compound
his two-acre plot Wang Xiangdong’s father
walked out left his hometown
feared neither hardship nor death
became a government official at twenty-three
seen on the street running
shouting waving his right arm with a red band
before him women withered as if in a drought
dimmed dried hardened
he exposed his wife bravely to his work unit
her diary hidden in a pillow
showered in cold water every day arrived at work punctually
boiled everyone’s tea water hated colors hated
pleasure cursed loudly at the kids bathing
in the winter sun Too lazy to get ahead, you!
His son Wang Xiangdong head bent fled like a chicken
revolution struggle five or six battles
now he reached seventy
moved a sixth time a big apartment
allotted by his work unit the biggest
but still not as big as his father’s house
under the new chandelier one leg on top of the other
sitting awkwardly on the new couch
the smell of paint a little stinky
the gray-haired revolutionary
sighed “So bright!”
then had a stroke
before his death he said:
“I’m homesick Mama”
it startled Wang Xiangdong in his sunglasses
who had been condemned as decadent all his life
the filial son sent his father’s coffin
back to his native Wang Village in Hubei Province
in his old home Wang Xiangdong
who grew up in a government compound
saw for the first time
plum blossoms

Read

I
So hot then
red trucks loaded with burning tongues
forward forward again disappearing deep down inside escaped students rolling toward hometown
Ah the summer of the era schools closed
theaters closed weeds in parks
loudspeakers over the basketball courts a revolution full blast in Mandarin
only teenagers on the bank of an ancient river
felt the call they opened their pants
took hold of that little thing that had always brought them
pleasure like cavemen drilling on a piece of wood
till it sparked a yellow flame

2
We must visit the exhibition
we must stand in line
with a serious attitude past
the portraits of those villains each of them
in line all wearing
the same prison uniform confessing their crimes
their sins come
from somewhere else it’s as
if our obedience becomes a boring crime
with great attitude we walk in single file
our heads turn in unison from the left wall to the right like products
being inspected from different
sides their serious attitudes
the same as if their crimes are walking out from the wall
seriously into our bodies

3
These people stand in my parents’ bedroom
as if standing in a trench, serious expressions
only for
those who are furthering the grandest cause
a little nothing for my mother’s face a box with soap
stamped under the heel of a Liberation sneaker
cracked open
the green soap
popped out
like a plant’s eyeball

4
He stood on the side watching everyone play
as lonely as a shepherd
at twelve grapes growing in his eyes
at twelve he understood the whisper
of the little dwarfs at twelve
a loyal younger brother but all the children
turned their backs forbade him to touch their
spinning tops or to curse his father was
a counterrevolutionary thus he grew into
an adult

5
Spring 1967 his cousin suffered from schizophrenia
day and night he suspected
someone was persecuting him
You’re only a worker
Who will come to arrest you? Wouldn’t listen
asked the monkeys at the zoo
Are you coming to arrest me?
His work unit decided to commit him
cousin refused to leave like a rock
he pressed against the bed
sleeping with all his might
as if glued to his bed forever
at the end of their wits
his co-workers squatted
lifted him and the bed like lifting a car
and carried him to the madhouse

6
For twenty years at 1:10 A.M.
he rode his bike past the square
at the end of Nanping Street like a
thief who had just stolen something
from the state warehouse
for twenty years under the moonlight
in a thunderstorm
when lightning lit up this skinny night worker
and the bronze statue
in the square neither
had a raincoat on
for twenty years when it was time
the broken bike wheels started clanking punctually
he was always afraid of what
he had no idea he was a lathe turner
in a factory forever felt like a criminal
forever worried about someone watching behind his back
till one day
he fell from his bike
his empty lunch box
rolled away broke apart
only once in his life he had a heart attack
in the middle of the square after a quick dance
he dropped died
on Nanping Street Square
at 1:10 A.M.
only one immortal figure
stood fearlessly

7
Winter 1966
two grown-ups arrived at our home they
were not cops but revolutionary comrades
from my dad’s work unit they wanted me to expose
my father what he had written in his diary
he had counterrevolutionary thoughts had been hiding
in our army said his old comrades
whom I’d been calling uncles
on the stairs on a spring day they handed me
a big handful of milk candies
smiling like two trustworthy cows
even touched my head that was growing bigger every day
suddenly the grassland collapsed exposing
the iron hooves that’d been hiding in the grass
I kept quiet looking at my father’s hands
his stubborn left-handedness
that year I’d just started writing
just learned how to imagine my country
as a golden grassland but I
hadn’t learned from my father
a more sophisticated way to imagine
such as linking the finger calloused
from writing to a wiggling
dagger

8
The beautiful woman lived above us
the beautiful woman worked in the propaganda department
she played the only piano
summer became beautiful roses beautiful
my teen years beautiful
the beautiful woman looked at the blue sky beautifully
the beautiful woman gave me an apple
the beautiful woman reached out her featherlike finger
to touch my face ah that summer
my life flew out of my homework
she was a woman I was a boy
I wanted to say something like a man
didn’t know how I was still in grade school
I tried for a whole year from the summer
of 1965 to the summer of 1966
when I was finally ready to say it
her neck hung from the bloody sky
turned into a frozen scarf

9
On Book Forest Street there’s a pagoda from the age of Nanzhao
Nanzhao, king of the ancient Yunnan
ruled his kingdom west of the Tang Dynasty territory
one day I came to the tower
the big-character poster had a crack
that revealed a black line
I pressed my head against it to peek
someone shouted What are you looking at
I was so startled that winter
popped out of my cracked back
he laughed Nothing to see
only bricks inside

10
Once I wrote a letter to my father far away
his name turned into a nest of fleas under my pen
the three characters had become strangers at home
he was still the only boss but on paper I rarely
wrote about Father he wasn’t history but a particular
smell of sweat a very heavy
hand suspended above my homework notebook
I was used to the accent I’d learned in my mother’s womb
my vernacular impossible to write down all tangled up
and in his rocking chair he mocked my scribbles
then one day I saw his name on the street
painted in bold black every stroke
regular correct within the boundary
black words on white paper crossed out in red
people couldn’t help reading it out loud
that day I suddenly lost my voice at dinner
I quietly handed him his toothpick
not knowing what to call him
this so-and-so whose name was on the big poster
whom I had to eat with three times a day

11
April 3, 1970 Little Ding finally got hold of his father’s
only property a radio
with three wave bands hidden in his greasy uniform
I followed him to the fields outside his steel factory
endless wheat not a peasant around
everyone was at meetings only Little Ding and I
our ears bright red longer and longer
his hands that stroke iron every day turned the dial
awkwardly searching for foreign devils’
short waves I looked about
staring at the wheat
for fear of the masses their bright eyes
hidden inside after a lot of fiddling around
we finally heard someone speaking Chinese
ears pressed closely
like rabbits gone nuts inside a cage
the black plastic box was talking
I confess it said nothing
counterrevolutionary only a deep voice
broadcasting a football game

12
Wang Xiangdong’s father was a rebel
whose mother had bound feet loved millet porridge
and peaches and whose father was a calligrapher
who loved Li Yu’s poems addicted all his life
To two plum trees a deep pond and new moon
at sixteen he broke away from his father’s compound
his two-acre plot Wang Xiangdong’s father
walked out left his hometown
feared neither hardship nor death
became a government official at twenty-three
seen on the street running
shouting waving his right arm with a red band
before him women withered as if in a drought
dimmed dried hardened
he exposed his wife bravely to his work unit
her diary hidden in a pillow
showered in cold water every day arrived at work punctually
boiled everyone’s tea water hated colors hated
pleasure cursed loudly at the kids bathing
in the winter sun Too lazy to get ahead, you!
His son Wang Xiangdong head bent fled like a chicken
revolution struggle five or six battles
now he reached seventy
moved a sixth time a big apartment
allotted by his work unit the biggest
but still not as big as his father’s house
under the new chandelier one leg on top of the other
sitting awkwardly on the new couch
the smell of paint a little stinky
the gray-haired revolutionary
sighed “So bright!”
then had a stroke
before his death he said:
“I’m homesick Mama”
it startled Wang Xiangdong in his sunglasses
who had been condemned as decadent all his life
the filial son sent his father’s coffin
back to his native Wang Village in Hubei Province
in his old home Wang Xiangdong
who grew up in a government compound
saw for the first time
plum blossoms

English Chinese

I
So hot then
red trucks loaded with burning tongues
forward forward again disappearing deep down inside escaped students rolling toward hometown
Ah the summer of the era schools closed
theaters closed weeds in parks
loudspeakers over the basketball courts a revolution full blast in Mandarin
only teenagers on the bank of an ancient river
felt the call they opened their pants
took hold of that little thing that had always brought them
pleasure like cavemen drilling on a piece of wood
till it sparked a yellow flame

2
We must visit the exhibition
we must stand in line
with a serious attitude past
the portraits of those villains each of them
in line all wearing
the same prison uniform confessing their crimes
their sins come
from somewhere else it’s as
if our obedience becomes a boring crime
with great attitude we walk in single file
our heads turn in unison from the left wall to the right like products
being inspected from different
sides their serious attitudes
the same as if their crimes are walking out from the wall
seriously into our bodies

3
These people stand in my parents’ bedroom
as if standing in a trench, serious expressions
only for
those who are furthering the grandest cause
a little nothing for my mother’s face a box with soap
stamped under the heel of a Liberation sneaker
cracked open
the green soap
popped out
like a plant’s eyeball

4
He stood on the side watching everyone play
as lonely as a shepherd
at twelve grapes growing in his eyes
at twelve he understood the whisper
of the little dwarfs at twelve
a loyal younger brother but all the children
turned their backs forbade him to touch their
spinning tops or to curse his father was
a counterrevolutionary thus he grew into
an adult

5
Spring 1967 his cousin suffered from schizophrenia
day and night he suspected
someone was persecuting him
You’re only a worker
Who will come to arrest you? Wouldn’t listen
asked the monkeys at the zoo
Are you coming to arrest me?
His work unit decided to commit him
cousin refused to leave like a rock
he pressed against the bed
sleeping with all his might
as if glued to his bed forever
at the end of their wits
his co-workers squatted
lifted him and the bed like lifting a car
and carried him to the madhouse

6
For twenty years at 1:10 A.M.
he rode his bike past the square
at the end of Nanping Street like a
thief who had just stolen something
from the state warehouse
for twenty years under the moonlight
in a thunderstorm
when lightning lit up this skinny night worker
and the bronze statue
in the square neither
had a raincoat on
for twenty years when it was time
the broken bike wheels started clanking punctually
he was always afraid of what
he had no idea he was a lathe turner
in a factory forever felt like a criminal
forever worried about someone watching behind his back
till one day
he fell from his bike
his empty lunch box
rolled away broke apart
only once in his life he had a heart attack
in the middle of the square after a quick dance
he dropped died
on Nanping Street Square
at 1:10 A.M.
only one immortal figure
stood fearlessly

7
Winter 1966
two grown-ups arrived at our home they
were not cops but revolutionary comrades
from my dad’s work unit they wanted me to expose
my father what he had written in his diary
he had counterrevolutionary thoughts had been hiding
in our army said his old comrades
whom I’d been calling uncles
on the stairs on a spring day they handed me
a big handful of milk candies
smiling like two trustworthy cows
even touched my head that was growing bigger every day
suddenly the grassland collapsed exposing
the iron hooves that’d been hiding in the grass
I kept quiet looking at my father’s hands
his stubborn left-handedness
that year I’d just started writing
just learned how to imagine my country
as a golden grassland but I
hadn’t learned from my father
a more sophisticated way to imagine
such as linking the finger calloused
from writing to a wiggling
dagger

8
The beautiful woman lived above us
the beautiful woman worked in the propaganda department
she played the only piano
summer became beautiful roses beautiful
my teen years beautiful
the beautiful woman looked at the blue sky beautifully
the beautiful woman gave me an apple
the beautiful woman reached out her featherlike finger
to touch my face ah that summer
my life flew out of my homework
she was a woman I was a boy
I wanted to say something like a man
didn’t know how I was still in grade school
I tried for a whole year from the summer
of 1965 to the summer of 1966
when I was finally ready to say it
her neck hung from the bloody sky
turned into a frozen scarf

9
On Book Forest Street there’s a pagoda from the age of Nanzhao
Nanzhao, king of the ancient Yunnan
ruled his kingdom west of the Tang Dynasty territory
one day I came to the tower
the big-character poster had a crack
that revealed a black line
I pressed my head against it to peek
someone shouted What are you looking at
I was so startled that winter
popped out of my cracked back
he laughed Nothing to see
only bricks inside

10
Once I wrote a letter to my father far away
his name turned into a nest of fleas under my pen
the three characters had become strangers at home
he was still the only boss but on paper I rarely
wrote about Father he wasn’t history but a particular
smell of sweat a very heavy
hand suspended above my homework notebook
I was used to the accent I’d learned in my mother’s womb
my vernacular impossible to write down all tangled up
and in his rocking chair he mocked my scribbles
then one day I saw his name on the street
painted in bold black every stroke
regular correct within the boundary
black words on white paper crossed out in red
people couldn’t help reading it out loud
that day I suddenly lost my voice at dinner
I quietly handed him his toothpick
not knowing what to call him
this so-and-so whose name was on the big poster
whom I had to eat with three times a day

11
April 3, 1970 Little Ding finally got hold of his father’s
only property a radio
with three wave bands hidden in his greasy uniform
I followed him to the fields outside his steel factory
endless wheat not a peasant around
everyone was at meetings only Little Ding and I
our ears bright red longer and longer
his hands that stroke iron every day turned the dial
awkwardly searching for foreign devils’
short waves I looked about
staring at the wheat
for fear of the masses their bright eyes
hidden inside after a lot of fiddling around
we finally heard someone speaking Chinese
ears pressed closely
like rabbits gone nuts inside a cage
the black plastic box was talking
I confess it said nothing
counterrevolutionary only a deep voice
broadcasting a football game

12
Wang Xiangdong’s father was a rebel
whose mother had bound feet loved millet porridge
and peaches and whose father was a calligrapher
who loved Li Yu’s poems addicted all his life
To two plum trees a deep pond and new moon
at sixteen he broke away from his father’s compound
his two-acre plot Wang Xiangdong’s father
walked out left his hometown
feared neither hardship nor death
became a government official at twenty-three
seen on the street running
shouting waving his right arm with a red band
before him women withered as if in a drought
dimmed dried hardened
he exposed his wife bravely to his work unit
her diary hidden in a pillow
showered in cold water every day arrived at work punctually
boiled everyone’s tea water hated colors hated
pleasure cursed loudly at the kids bathing
in the winter sun Too lazy to get ahead, you!
His son Wang Xiangdong head bent fled like a chicken
revolution struggle five or six battles
now he reached seventy
moved a sixth time a big apartment
allotted by his work unit the biggest
but still not as big as his father’s house
under the new chandelier one leg on top of the other
sitting awkwardly on the new couch
the smell of paint a little stinky
the gray-haired revolutionary
sighed “So bright!”
then had a stroke
before his death he said:
“I’m homesick Mama”
it startled Wang Xiangdong in his sunglasses
who had been condemned as decadent all his life
the filial son sent his father’s coffin
back to his native Wang Village in Hubei Province
in his old home Wang Xiangdong
who grew up in a government compound
saw for the first time
plum blossoms

往事二三

那段时间多么炎热
红色的大卡车满载着
燃烧着舌头的大人们
向前     再向前
消失在意志的核心
漏网的小学生    捏着
尖叫的麻雀     滚向故乡
啊     时代中的夏天     学校停课
电影院关着门     花园荒芜
篮球场上挂着高音喇叭
革命     用普通话进行
只有少年     在古代的河岸上
哑哑地感动     一个个解开裤带
握住那     总是会带来好感觉的
小玩意     像猿人在钻木取火
直到它     喷出白色的火焰

 

我们必须看这个展览
我们必须排着队
态度端正地     从
那些五毒俱全的坏人们
的照片下面     一一走过
他们排着队     一个个穿着
统一的囚服     坦白了罪行
他们的罪恶     来自
另一种质量     仿佛
我们的循规蹈矩
是一种平庸的罪行
态度端正     齐步走
我们的头一齐从墙壁的左边
转向墙壁的右边    象产品
在接受检验     所处的位置
不同     端正严肃的姿态
是一致的     仿佛罪恶
已经从他们的墙上
郑重地     传递到我们体内

 

这些人站在我父母的卧室里
象是站在战壕里     表情严肃
那必定是在从事最崇高的事业时
才会有的
一只香皂盒     我母亲洗脸的小东西
被一只解放鞋的后跟踩中
嘣地一声破裂
绿色的胰子
象植物的眼球
被挤了出来

 

他站在一边     看着大家玩
孤独得就象一个牧羊人
十二岁     眼睛里葡萄在生长
十二岁     听得懂小矮人讲的
的悄悄话     十二岁 一个
忠诚的弟弟     但孩子们全体
背过身去     不许他碰他们的
陀螺和脏话     他爸爸是
反革命分子     他就是一个
大人

 

1967年春天
表哥精神分裂
他日夜不停地怀疑
有人要迫害他
你不过是个小工人
谁会来抓你?     不听
他对动物园的猴子说
你们是不是派来抓我的!
单位上就决定     把他送走
表哥不走     象一块大石头
死死地睡在床上
他用一生的力气来
睡这一觉     似乎要
永远睡在他的床上
单位上的人没有办法
只好蹲下     象千斤顶那样
把他连床一起顶起来
抬到疯人院去了

 

二十年来     他总是
在深夜一点十分的时候
骑着单车     飞过南屏街口
的广场     象一个
刚刚在国家仓库里
盗窃了什么的小偷
二十年     在月光下
在雷雨轰鸣的时候
这个下夜班的瘦人被照亮过
同时也照亮了广场上的
青铜塑像     两个人
都没有穿雨衣
二十年     总是时间一到
那破轮子的声音
就叮当叮当地响起来
他总是害怕着     害怕什么
他没有想过     他是机车厂的
一名车工     做什么都象是在犯罪
担心有人在后面盯着他
直到有一天
从车子上摔下来
夹在单车后座上的空饭盒
滚得老远     分成两半
那是唯一的一次     他心脏病发作
在广场的中央     跳了一阵舞
然后倒下去     死了
南屏街那个广场
在深夜一点十分的时候
只有一个不朽的人物
无所畏惧地站在那里

 

1966年冬天
两个大人来到我家 他们
不是警察     是父亲单位的
革命同志     要我揭发
爸爸     在日记里写了些什么
他思想反动     暗藏在我们的
队伍里     昔日的战友说
我一直都叫他们叔叔
在春天的楼梯上     掏出
一大把牛奶糖     给我
象俩头可以信赖的奶牛
那样微笑着     还摸摸孩子
肩膀上     正在天天向上的头
突然间    草原崩溃     露出了
暗藏在草根里面的铁蹄
我沉默着     低头看着左撇子
父亲的     左手和右手
那一年     我刚刚学习作文
我已经知道怎么     把祖国
想象成金色的草原     可是我
还没有学会     更高级的
虚构     ——从我父亲
因为书写过度     长着茧子的
指节     联想到一把
蠢蠢欲动的
匕首

 

美丽的女人住在我家楼上
美丽的女人在机关的宣传科
旁边     弹着唯一的一部钢琴
夏天美丽起来     玫瑰花美丽起来
我的少年时代美丽起来
美丽的女人美丽地看着蓝天
美丽的女人美丽地看着少年
美丽的女人给我一个水果
美丽的女人伸出羽毛般的手指
摸了摸我的脸     啊     那个夏天
我的生命     从作业本上飞翔起来
她是女人     我是男孩
我想对她说一句男人的话
我还不会说     我还在读着小学
我想了整整一年     从1965年
的夏天     到1966年的夏天
我终于想好说什么的时候
她的脖子从血红的天空中垂下来
变成了一根冰冻的围巾

 

书林街有一个南诏时代建成的塔
南诏     是古代云南的一个王
他统治的时期     唐朝在他的东面
有一回我来到塔底下
大字报裂开了     露出
一截漆黑的缝
我贴着脑袋朝里面张望
有人喝道     看什么看!
我被吓得立即开裂
一个冬天从脊背上长出来
那人笑着说     没什么好看的
里面是砖头

 

10

有一回我给正在外地的老爸写信
我把他的名字写成了一窝小跳蚤
这仨字我太生疏     在家里
他当然是唯我独尊     但我很少在纸上
书写父亲     他不是历史     他是一种
特殊的汗酸味     一个很重的
巴掌 高悬在我的作业本上
我习惯用母亲胎里教我的发音
那些没法写的口语     缠着他
后来他躺在藤椅上嘲笑我的狗脚字
另一天我看见他的姓名被贴在大街上
用油漆刷刷成了黑体字     一笔一划
写得那么规范    那么标准     那么正确
白纸黑字     还划了红叉子
令人忍不住要高声朗诵出它们的拼音
那天我忽然失语     晚餐时
我只是默默地把牙签递给他
我不知道那个名字被大写出来的
某某份子与这个每天都要与我
一道吃饭的人
应该如何称呼

 

11

1970年的4月3日
小丁终于偷走了他父亲
唯一的财产     一个三波段的
收音机     揣在油腻腻的工作服里
我跟着他     来到铁工厂外面的田野中
无边无际的麦地     没有一个农民
都开会去了     只有我与小丁
的耳朵发着红     越来越长
他用打铁的手     笨拙地
拨动波段钮     寻找着外国魔鬼
的短波     我四下张望
警惕地盯着麦穗
害怕里面     藏着人民群众
雪亮的眼睛     调试了好一阵
我们终于听到了
一家电台的华语广播
耳朵紧紧地贴上去
就像两只被笼子蹩坏了的兔子
那黑色的塑料盒子说话了
我交代     它并没有发表什么
反动言论     只是有一个男低音
在介绍一场足球

 

12

王向东的父亲是造反者
他母亲是小脚     爱炖小米粥
爱吃桃     他爹擅长书法
热爱李煜的词     长年累月
迷恋着两树梅花     一潭新月
十六岁     与地主大院决裂
占地两亩的豪宅     王向东
摔门就走     离乡背井
一不怕苦二不怕死
二十三岁成为机关干部
常常看见他在大街上     奔走
高呼     挥舞着戴红袖套的右臂
女人们看见他就像遇到旱灾一样
萎缩     暗淡     干掉     坚硬起来
他勇敢地向组织     揭发他爱人
暗藏在枕头芯里面的纸
天天洗冷水澡     准时去办公室
打开水     讨厌花花绿绿     讨厌
玩乐吃喝     孩子们在冬天烤太阳
他大骂     不求上进!他儿子王向东
就和我们一道低着头
逃进翅膀里去了     革命     斗争
五六个回合     就到了七十岁
第六次搬家     单位分给他
一套大房子     全单位
最大的一套     但是
没有他父亲的庄园大
刚刚安好吊灯     翘着腿
生硬地坐在新买来的沙发上
满屋的油漆味     有点呛
白发苍苍的老革命
叹了一句     亮啊!
就中风了     临终前
这个外地人说的是:
“我想家啊     妈妈。”
把戴着墨镜     一贯被父亲视为
思想落后的王向东     吓了一跳
孝子     就把他父亲的棺材
运回河北省的王家庄去了
在老家     机关大院长大的
王向东     第一次
看见了梅花

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