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MICHAEL WARR
Two Poems

translations by Chun Yu ä¿žæ·³

The City Speaks of This Moment

Tears roll down my streets and hills
as they suffer from emptiness. 
Some life has disappeared. 
Some life has returned. 
Coyotes feel safer in the suddenly
borderless wilderness and roam
through my urban forest. 
I watch the white-crowned swallows
swell around now lifeless toll booths
on a quieter Golden Gate. 
I hear them singing a new song.
They hear each other sing
above the din of silenced traffic.
Tents of disowned people come and go.
Thousands invisible in plain sight.
They don’t care that the cable cars
have deserted me. 
That coffee shops have turned
their tables upside down. 
That mask wearers are superheroes
saving innocent lives. 
That 911 happens every day. 
That Black Lives never Mattered.
They do not want things back 
the way they used to be.  
They have never been sheltered
in time or place. 
They crave a New World—
a caring, centered, healing world
plagued by infectious sanity. 
I see the signs on shuttered eateries
predicting that “We will survive.”
Realists calculate “not all of us.”
I hear them shouting on their soapbox
from over-priced rooftops that  
“some of us” is better than “none of us.”
I know from agonizing experience
that we are lost without dreamers.
I have burned down before—
down to the edges of Van Ness Avenue.
Faults have shaken and broken my body.
Bridges cracked. Towers toppled.
Chasms opened. Hearts stopped.
I have survived and recovered  
from overwhelming loss. 
I have rebuilt, although not for everyone. 
This time it could be different.

城市說起這一刻

眼淚沿著我遭受著空曠的
街道和小山滾落。
有些生命消失了。
有些生命回來了。
郊狼在突然無界的荒野裏
感到更安全,漫遊
穿過我的城市森林。
我看著白冠的燕子繞著
在一個更加安靜的金門橋上
如今了無生氣的收費亭湧動。
我聽見他們在唱一首新歌。
它們聽到彼此在靜默下來的
交通嘈雜聲之上唱歌。
被遺棄的人們的帳篷來了又去。
成千上萬的人在光天化日下被無視。
他們不在乎電纜車抛棄了我。
咖啡店已經把他們的桌子倒了過來 。
戴面具的人都是
拯救無辜生命的超級英雄。
911事件每天都在發生。
黑人的生命從來都不重要。
人們不想要一切回到
過去的樣子。
他們在時間或地點中
從未得到庇護。
他們渴望一個新世界—
一個充滿關懷、神志健全、有治愈力
被有傳染力的理智糾住的世界。
我看到了關閉的餐館的牌子上
寫著“我們會活下來” 的預言。
現實主義者合計著“不是我們所有人”。
我聽見他們在價格過高的屋頂大喊大叫
“我們中的一些人”總比“沒有人”好。
我從痛苦的經曆中知道
沒有了夢想者們我們是迷失的。
我以前曾被燒毀—
一直燒到範.尼斯大道的邊緣。
斷層動搖並摧毀了我的身體。
橋梁開裂,塔樓倒塌。
裂痕打開,心跳停止。
我活了下來,
從巨大的損失中恢複。
我已經重建,雖然不是爲所有人。
這次可以有所不同。

Ode to the Bed

Waves lap silently
against her
thinning body’s edges—
cotton ocean raging
in sheets of slaughtered
trees and veins of leaves
bursting with screaming
ink of unseen creditors,
age crumpled
in wads of analysis,
doused in dollar signs,
afloat in theocratic tracts,
of divinity and everlasting
life
a sea of see-though bags
of everything:
cash, IDs, credit cards,
scrawled notes of what to remember
entangled in strangling rubber bands
as if talismans for protection
beside a shore of ebbing pillows
encircling fragility
like lifesaver jackets
inflated with our innocent
ignorance of this unexpected
humanization,
our belated knowing
of the lateness of being
when needed things
needed to be hidden
when bread became
the enemy
when remotes
morphed into the phone
In hands that refused to
grasp, and loving minds
could not grasp the gravity,
missing the moment
when demons whispered
in bedroom air,
when we could not
witness their intrusion,
not knowing
that they were there
when not there,
or when they crept into
the ceiling, closet, covers
sinking into the foam
of this unruly lunar scape
where sleep struggled
with the day and with the night,
and the geography of a room
became a world.

 
床之頌

波浪無聲地衝擊著
她消瘦中的身體的邊緣—
棉海洋在一張張被屠殺的
樹木和樹葉的靜脈中洶湧,
看不見的債權人的墨迹
爆發出陣陣尖叫,
年歲在一團團分析中起皺
在美元的符號裏浸泡,
關于神性和永恒生命的
宗教小冊子邊漂浮著
透明袋子的海洋中的
一切:
現金,身份證,信用卡
潦草的備忘筆記
像護身符般
和絞勒著的橡皮筋
糾纏在一起,
在退潮中的枕頭的岸邊
像充盈著我們
對這意外的人性化的
天真的無知
和對遲到的存在的
遲來的認知的
救生衣般
環繞著脆弱—
當被需要的東西
需要被隱藏,
當面包
變成了敵人,
當遙控器
在拒絕拿握的手中
幻變成電話,
當充滿愛的心
無法掂量沈重
錯過了惡魔
在臥室空氣中
耳語的那一刻,
當我們不能
見證他們的入侵,
不知道
他們不在那裏時
又在那裏,
或者它們何時進入
天花板,壁櫥,封面
沈入這個不守規的
月貌的泡沫中,
當睡眠與白天和夜晚掙紮,
當一個房間的地理
成爲整個世界。

Michael Warr‘s books include Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin (W.W. Norton), and The Armageddon of Funk, We Are All The Black Boy, and Power Lines: A Decade of Poetry From Chicago’s Guild Complex from Tia Chucha Press. He has been honored with a 2021 San Francisco Arts Commission Artist Award, 2020 Berkeley Poetry Festival Lifetime Achievement Award, San Francisco Public Library Laureate, Creative Work Fund Award, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award, Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poets Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry. Michael is the former Deputy Director of the Museum of the African Diaspora and is a board member of the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. He is co-founder of Two Languages / One Community. Follow his creative work at https://michaelwarr-creativework.tumblr.com/