Three Poems

Ye Mimi

The More Car the More Far

She amasses all manner of colored jars, cucumber marinade of varying vintage. Punctually waters the flowers with Sunday's froth. In this house there is a cow, a man and a stone for grinding ink. Often strikes a slanted line across the yard. Now and then capers across some Cheshire cats without really meaning to. Explosions are all one to her, even if there's barking in the pot. Likes to write larvae-like words, larva by larva. In her belly she raises a saucer of baby debris, as brilliant as glass marbles.
One day they drag a railroad track over for her, teach her how to belch black
          smoke from her fontanelles.
So then she cars up. Facing the track, facing the eaves.
I am the acme of precision. I am very naughty. I am gravity.
She sings.
How can we avoid being bushed?
Who is at the boundary of whom?
She sings.

As she drives by below the windowsill her man is at the window watching
          her.
Hand grasping an alternating current.
He makes a long face, like a truck full of cinnamon gone stale.
Her cow is at the window watching her. Her inkstone is at the window
          watching her.
They're so perplexed their eyes ooze drops of milk of ink.
Drip drop tick-tock.

Solitude is somewhat sweeter than water.
Fish are crunchier on the outside, softer in the middle than the sea.
From this day henceforth I will go forth and wilderness the wilderness.
She sang.

The more car she is the more far.





2 Nights 9 Secrets—for Turning 29

The escape slackens its pace        as she continues to compose her crummy
          poetry.
Drinking her scalding tea        rebuffing tough subjects
Eyes are post-it notes        sometimes aglow and sometimes black
Sometimes they withdraw        like a flood
After all these years       she still prefers the window-seat
In scenery there's sea there's snow        there are people there are timeworn
          streets
And gentle dromedaries on the wing

When dark clouds gather        she describes herself like this:
Fun-loving with a big carbon footprint. The hotter it gets the greater the stability.
          The colder it gets the more in bloom.
In any case she can become a lamp        a tree
An oven or a crossword puzzle
No matter what        it's solely a question of shape        she said.

She experiences some intrinsic risk-taking
Often cutting off the power to her heart
What is dreamt of exceeds what is seen       and words, letters, characters
          are music
Of course       mostly       she hides inside the body of a child

And with a child's height takes the measure of the world





I Didn't Know You Didn't Know I Didn't Know: For "Sis"

Didn't know how far the spring of youth could go
but in the end up there among the clouds       before they turn to rain or fish
          in the bounding main
that crow-wakeful       night

we'd quite finished off the crème brûlée

it all began with the black orange
we were in a fog
his voice when he sings       is very like a long fishing line
on which is hooked line and sinker       a river that won't stop reeling
we revolve
in the swirling whirlpool
when the seasonal nor'easters begin to boil and rage
the time is ripe to trim back the portobello
pop them in a circular pot       burbling with laughter

this is our fall and winter commemorative signature
you said

the train sidles into the station at the stroke of noon       like a tidy row of
          bento
you toss off your mackintosh       and fly, fly away
calling to mind a practical exercise       slanting rhymes

bite off the break
skirt the precipitous brink

the ghosts in the first-level basement
await
the coming of the man from mars

you open up your backpack
knock back a bottle of Español
for that next tastefully unfamiliar excursion


translated from the Chinese by Steve Bradbury



Read the original in Chinese, Traditional

Ye Mimi is a young Taiwanese poet and award-winning filmmaker. A 2009 graduate of the Chicago Art Institute Film Studio Program, she is the author of two volumes of poetry, most recently The More Car the More Far (Taipei: Garden City Publishers). Many of her poems are inspired by dreams, both by specific dreams she has had but also by the quirky ways in which the unconscious mind composes.

Steve Bradbury has had poems, essays, and translations appear in Jacket Magazine, Sub-Tropics, Tinfish, and Words without Borders. A recipient of the PEN translation fund grant and the BILTC translation residency, he is Associate Professor of English at National Central University in Taiwan.