Beijing Diary | New York Academy of Sciences | Poems | Museo de Arte Moderno | 2388, Essay | About
     

2388: Connecting Vocabularies, The Poetry

Poetry written day by day in Beijing, 1988 - 1989.

Selected poems by Stefan Umærus .

LET THE DAYS TURN COBALT BLUE

There is a crack outside my door
I look to the East and I wonder:
Is this the continental rift?

I look to the West and I wonder:
Is this the future, past or present?

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 
 


"2388: Connecting Vocabularies"
The Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso, Indiana, USA, 1992.

 
 
 
 
 

ETAT


Boy soldier, lucid as night

 

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

7.12.1988.

To see, to learn
To hear, to speak,
To be lucid and double
like an arrow from a bow

Chilly nights, crisp mornings,
Conveyor belt simplicity
Whitewashed walls
19th century classrooms.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

HEI AN LI


Darkness exploding
Silver points like arrows,
dancing the Big Dipper.


 

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

27.12.1988

MOON DOOR AJAR

Bright lights illuminate
Eastern skies.

Arrow set in diamonds
against
gray brick walls.

A thousand doors
open.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CHINA WALLS

This is the hall for cultivating
the mind,
The Palace of Heaven and Earth.
A postcard can be bought at the
post office

Against cold blue skies,
like a reversed blackboard,
the segment of a wall is left
where a group of workers are busy
tearing down a building.

Something in this postcard simplicity
is clear like polished glass on this fine
spring day
in the year 1989.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

THE DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER

Going out to buy a Chinese
calendar, I found one
containing photographs
of the garden of Versailles

Talking to Chinese students
they generally study engineering.

Speaking of literature they
invariably answer:
"The Dream of The Red Chamber".

There is something fatiguing in this
apparent simplicity

Ancient Chinese painter painted
MOUNTAINS
INSECTS
FISH
FLOWERS

They did not paint
factory smoke
across the silver surface of time reversed.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

MIND


The blank silver surfaced
emptiness
silence is all
all is silence

The dust covers
the floors
The downtrodden shoes zigzag.

In the yard
a lunatic
is bumping
his head against
the ground.

Small space
Time dictionary
Time and silence


Time outside
turned inside

In silver straps
my seductive
mistress laughs
She turns and turns
like a Chinese acrobat
rotating a table
on her perfect feet.

Earth and Time
fear and hatred
lucid with laughter

As the glass explodes.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

CHINA ROOMS


China rooms are lucid
in neon and concrete
Pale green, milky blue
Glass cage simplicity.

 

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

THE ENIGMA OF TIME

Blank and silent
with no meaning
but to exist.

Once there was a disturbance
Now it is gone

Time of folly
Time of grief

Silence in perfect proportions.

Time of trash
Time of waste

The neon lights
like silence

Time of money
Time of hate.

Lonely girl
at Tiananmen.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

PEOPLE'S DAILY

Like poetry the leaflets
are falling from the sky

The television camera cables
are connected
memorizing the future
for the face in the crowd.


In the hotel lobby
a beautiful girl
crushes the tip of her snow white
KENT cigarette in the ashtray,
leaving the People's Daily
to her uneasy admirers

Black lines suddenly appear
in developed photographs

At night the crowds move like a
futuristic ballet
singing nursery rhymes
under the vault
of street light electricity.

In the park voices
seductive as flowers
are in every loudspeaker.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

THE WINGS OF DARKNESS UNFOLDING

The wings of darkness unfolding
I wish the children a very happy day.

A head like glass
pacing the stairs of tomorrow
As the brick wall unfolds.

There is no need to paint the portraits
of famous men black and white.
The inventory is already made
and new portraits are in ready supply.

Language twists the time of tomorrow
It is not too complicated
Then it is time to decide
who is caught in the line
that like a flower grows
from the barrel of a gun.

There is a file for everyone
right or wrong
do not make things difficult
for you.

Power is the extension of fear
and shortcomings
mediocrity is the denominator of
power.

In a silent room
someone is starring at the cold reflections
of night lights
his mind
a sleepless wound that will not heal.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Beijing Diary | New York Academy of Sciences | Poems | Museo de Arte Moderno | 2388, Essay | About