Download PDF Here
Live Encounters Poetry & Writing English-Chinese Edition January 2023
Fans in Trees, poems by Yang Xiaobin.
Fans in Trees
What else can winds do if not fan the flame?
How many delusions can be scotched when burning?
Wave hard, the flaming mountain will blaze even brighter.
The princess, although cunning and cruel, cannot bear
singing with her aching belly—
abandoning a fire won’t make the mountain flame into ashes.
Nothing has changed but the leaves of treetops
sound more husky, so why not play the round fan like a moon lute?
Let the plum-blossom’s drizzle drum on each ear bone.
If one’s not standing steadily, the waist will be hot
like summer—think hard,
it only reaches the surface. Thus,
when one wraps the air tightly
ignoring its slumbering state—
the breath is not enough to burn,
then let the breeze wake it up.
Guide to Living in Infected Zones
Some numbers defeat other numbers.
In some zones, you have to pinch your nose.
you fear losing the sense of smell, rush to the restroom to check.
Do take a bath with rubbing alcohol right after touching the air with gloves.
For two years, you haven’t kissed anyone,
yet you suspect that the dog in your arms is the source of the infection.
Do not talk more over the phone, the virus spreads fast.
Just take off from the living room and land in the bedroom.
Vaccines are more like heroin than a placebo.
In an overcast spit-out froth, is the fine rain the sweetest?
Can infected spots be worse than smallpox?
A sneeze makes everyone explode.
I’ve been in love with naught for a long time, but why is it still beautiful?
English translation © Anna Yin/© Yang Xiaobin
Yang Xiaobin is a poet, artist, and critic. He has received PhD. from Yale University and currently teaches in Taiwan. He is the chief editor of Cross-Strait Poetry. He has been a professor at the University of Mississippi, Università Ca’ Foscari (Venice), and the University of California (Davis). He has authored several poetry collections and has held exhibitions such as “Traces and Usure” on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and in North America.