Journal » Trout 13 » My Baghdad [Jiang Tao]
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My Baghdad

Jiang Tao

translated by Chris Dusterhoff, Li Chun and Zhang Er

My Baghdad, she is sound asleep
After work, she has been asking for a good sleep
It's I, leading a dog-shaped cloud from the horizon,
Who am reluctant to consent

Now, the orange-colored streetlights
Eventually persuade me to be stubborn no longer
In my delusion of principles, but adaptive to my circumstances,
I might as well play tricks on whatever's familiar:

Tile fragments, slurries, and air-defense tree tops
as well as the pinnacle of everything
Occasionally, there passes by a car, in which is no other than an adulterous wife
Who has delayed returning home

Whereas my Baghdad has been in sound sleep for a long time
Pillowing her head in the arms of mountains, and her eyebrows
Arch and wave, as do the eaves
Which impels the bomber hidden in the clouds to open his only eye

What he aims at is virtually an empty city.
Those unmovable, those uninterpretable
And those revealed by industrious migrant workers,
In fact, are all her snores

As well as the muddy flows roaring in the ditch of adolescence
Ah, sleep, please. The phone line has been unplugged
When A Farewell to Arms, in certain remote areas,
Gets full control of the new generation's Dream Song and Night Reading Notes1

My Baghdad sits in the outskirts of urban Beijing.
Twice, at night, I have kept the TV set
Turned on till daybreak, so as to
Make the end of my bedroom look more like a barricade

1. Dream Song is a formulation in classical Chinese poetry (Ci); Night Reading Notes is a genre in classic Chinese prose.


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