Preparing for a summer trip to China. June-July in Shanghai-Beijing. After years of living in cool summer Seattle, the prospect a bit on the daunting side. Somehow, the exercise of translating Sun Lei’s poem (and pairing it with his painting “Purple Boat”) eases concern with just how hot it will be.
Going out. Summer
Facing this congealing wave of heat
It often becomes some kind of observer
Not far off, it staring down at virtually everyone
and the rain it expels is supple
wiping out half the sky
But an evening rain is in fact a kind of brutality
Sending main thoroughfares careening
down to lower ground
Going for a walk in summer
Is to go out looking for love. To go out in protest.
To go out and twist up this life.
At least, its to go out and lay claim to a slip of shade
Gingerly heading home along the tree shadows
Along roads many times obscured
And the few stones that comprise resistance
Give me a deep impression
They are lazily arranged there
and they are absolutely quiet
Cooling my own high self-esteem down a bit