–Bei Dao, translated from the Chinese by Eliot Weinberger and Iona Man-Cheong
Who believes in the mask’s weeping?
who believes in the weeping nation?
the nation has lost its memory
memory goes as far as this morning
the newspaper boy sets out in the morning
all over town the sound of a desolate trumpet
is it your bad omen or mine?
vegetables with fragile nerves
peasants plant their hands in the ground
longing for the gold of a good harvest
politicians sprinkle pepper
on their own tongues
and a stand of birches in the midst of a debate:
whether to sacrifice themselves for art or doors
this public morning
created by a paperboy
revolution sweeps past the corner
he’s fast asleep