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AFAA MICHAEL WEAVER
Two Poems

translations by Chun Yu ä¿žæ·³

Our Map for Falling

–for Kristen

We are puppets, all parts of us
connected by strings, by loose wishes
like chords finding each other across
the belly of a guitar. No lone danger
would dare steal our arias, yours more
upper range and beautiful than mine
can or should be,
as when we fall we remember all of it,
every alive, unborn, or dead edge
of tulips and bees, as we pull back
to ourselves, gathering ourselves
on floors of whatever.

We should know this by now,
the floor—our walking, falling place,
is the ceiling of the ocean beneath
us where we with pain and joy remake
each day of the past
with the power of what is lifted up
to toast what might have been—
where It all that lives on the other side
of a window with no glass, or anything
that can break.

One evening years ago, I held you
a month into your fiery monkey year,
the monkey in our navels, its antics
coming and going. I held you,
while we were held by what keeps us
from falling all the way, your toes
painted red, your hair a bluish fluff,
on that piece of earth, and we fell
and fall and fall again,
into each other, laughing, breathing,
sending shudders to puckering lips
of fish in oceans beneath us, all purple,
all silver, all gray, all brown, all yellow,
all forever.

translation by Chun Yu ä¿žæ·³

我們跌倒的地圖

— 給克裏斯汀

我們是木偶,我們所有部分
由細繩,由松散的願望相連
就像和弦在吉他的腹部
尋找彼此。沒有獨個的危險
敢竊取我們的詠嘆調,你的更多
比我可以或應該的樣子
更高,更漂亮,
因為當我們跌倒時,我們記得那一切,
每一個郁金香和蜜蜂
活著的、未出生或死去的邊緣,
當我們退回我們自己,從不管是
什麽的地板上打起精神。

我們現在應該知道,
那地板 — 我們行走、跌倒的地方,
是下面海洋的天花板
是我們帶著痛苦和歡樂
將過去的每一天重塑的地方 —
用那被舉起的事物的力量
為那曾經可能的幹杯 —
那生活在沒有玻璃
或沒有可以打破之處的
窗戶的另一邊的一切。

多年前的一個晚上,我抱著你
進入你火猴年的第一個月,
我們肚臍裏的猴子,它的滑稽動作
來來去去。我抱著你,
當我們被不讓我們一跌倒底的
東西托住,你的腳趾
塗成紅色,你的頭發是藍絨,
在那片土地上,我們跌倒
跌倒再跌倒,
跌入彼此,大笑,呼吸,
把顫栗送向下面海洋里
魚兒們撅起的嘴唇,全是紫色,
全是銀色,全是灰色,全是棕色,全是黃色,
全是永遠。

Being Chinese 

In Los Angeles airport I sit
stunned by the English, letters
harsh things with no stories
I know. The food smells dead,
metal forks and knives set
for making war against food.

I am undone and done again,
broken off from narratives
of birth and being, of limits
broken by the genius of slaves.
I stand here where I was born,
and the masks wait for me.

From City of Eternal Spring. Copyright © 2014 by Afaa Michael Weaver. University of Pittsburgh Press.

當中國人 

我坐在洛杉矶機場
被英語擊暈,字母
是沒有我知道的故事的
刺耳糙物。食物聞起來像死了,
金屬刀叉們准備
對食物發動戰爭。

我滅而又生
脫離了关于出生与存在
和被奴隸們的天才
打破的限制的敘述。
我站在我出生的地方,
面具等待著我。

Afaa M. Weaver å°‰é›…風 is a native of Baltimore. His new collection of poetry is A Fire in the Hills (Red Hen, 2023). He has worked in translation projects focused on living Chinese poets. Afaa began reading the Dao De Jing and studying Taijiquan in his twenties. In 2002 he received a Fulbright appointment to teach in Taiwan and began studying Mandarin as a faculty audit at Simmons University. He moved to Taiwan in 2005, where he completed the intermediate course at the Taipei Language Institute. At Simmons he convened two conferences focused on contemporary Chinese poetry in 2004 and 2008, hosting poets from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. In 2005 he received the Gold Friendship Medal from the Chinese Writers’ Association in Beijing, and in 2019 he received the 96th Medal from Taiwan’s Chinese Writers and Artists Association. Dr. Chinghsi Perng, Professor Emeritus at National Taiwan University, gave Afaa his Chinese name, 尉雅風. Afaa received his M.A. in Creative Writing from Brown University.