Hard Objects

p
o
e
m
s

1. Blades

 

A blade sticks in a pane of glass. One blade.

Bars the door.

In its shadow another owl

soars.

 

A blade’s voice is a woman

leaping out of water

 

The sky has deep wounds

Blades drop through the holes

 

Hanging gardens. Leaves of grass pared sunlight

Those are blades,

coming behind my footsteps

 

Blade over the lips. Chops

daily conversation.

A shaft of light pierces my breathing

blood pours from the first dynasty

 

Two blades are eyes

penned in bars of light

 

2. Bones

 

Bones sprout in antiquity. Decorate antiquity.

Many moistures

 

are injected by fresh hands. Space

is uttered by bones

as is walking.

 

Bones walked through thousands of years

and passed it: where other bones

were crying

 

Tossed-out bones penetrate

each night.

A global family as resolute

as constellations, braced

 

immovably between holidays and funerals.

Some face archeology, face the radiant crumble

of culture in center exhibit.

 

Some escape into the flesh

piece together a human shape

and then, devour the remaining bones

 

3. Walls

 

By the wall: ’s nothing there.

Isolated by air. Those who hammer turn to flowers

 

Pollen smeared on the wall was carried

off in the mouths of autumn insects.

The wall flees

crushing lovebirds, pirates, and penseurs

 

The wall’s love song is encirclement.

At night, the wall slaughters everything

that once cast a shadow

smothering

or dissecting them

 

Human organs sleep in corners.

Bodies projecting onto the wall, splice

into one section

 

(I stand behind myself

and become a wall)

 

Translated from the Chinese by Canaan Morse.

Yang Xiaobin is a fellow at Taiwan's Academia Sinica. He is a postmodern theorist and poet whose work has influenced Chinese-language poets on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

You Might Also Enjoy

The Sage of Bucyrus

Verdy Cousins

The Final Lesson The men standing in the moonlight on that narrow porch represented the best of Bucyrus–the mayor, Colonel Hank. . .

stories

Clip-On Tie

David Berman

I Relentlessly the minutes, some of them golden, touched. —John Ashbery I had a real problem with time during my. . .

stories

Bitter River

Mark Jacobs

Impeccable John Connerly stepped through the front door of his home in Rio Agrio. He looked at the sky for weather, then made. . .

stories

Baffler Newsletter

new email subscribers receive a digital copy of our current issue.

Further Reading

 May 2

Obama’s Wall Street payday isn’t a mistake. It burnishes the centrist credentials of his brand of Democratic politics with the donor class.