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BAI, Helin

At Longqiao Bar

Those high-stemmed glasses hanging in the air

Those throats containing sands and shreds of gold

Those hips freely twisting and turning, with their accessories

Those melodious whistlings and hoarse roars

Those arms that swing and shine, the bunches of hair tightly bundled

Those shaking floorboards and heart-beatings on the shoes

Those eyes let loose at midnight, bottles tipsy

Those people: what’s the difference between them and you

But those people: they are different from themselves by day

Those who pull a long face at home

Those who have been blown out onto the streets from home

Those who enter by the glass and exit by it, too

Those who lean against the bar table and stand by the pillars

Those who wear the uniforms and look dubious

Those who live off the flowers and the commotion

Those who, suppressed, are behind the city that quickly darkens

Those who roam the Longqiao Bar

Those who are thin and tall, bent double like a cat

Those who you love and do not understand

Those who suck on the lipstick

Those who smoke and drink, sitting in a corner

Those who lose much and gain little

Those who want to be forgotten and taken away

Those who you love but who don’t love you

Those who don’t love you and do not know you

Those not knowing you some of whom have noticed you

Those who, having noticed you, do not understand you

Those who do not understand you, looking at you

Those who are looking at you and do not find it odd

Those people, who are not surprised that you are crouching over the bar table

Drawing ants at sixes and sevens


Every Day One Has to Live

Every day one has to live

Not everything a liar tells may be lies

And a good person may inevitably go wordless one day

Should nothing untoward happen

Kids may be born in forty weeks

Every day one has to live

Every day one has to go out, to praise

And to quarrel when home. Every day is a struggle

Clothes get dirty and socks, unwashed, get worn

And they may rebel in a toilet basin

Every day one has to live

Sometimes, hope runs counter to things

And sometimes, you may nod on a bus

Forgetting to get off. It’s quite normal

As you may begin to grow weary

Every day one has to live

Sometimes you may commit a mistake before you discover

You yourself have been gutted by life, your brains, though, still filled with

One plan after another, apart from desires

And sometimes you have to put your emotions under control

Every day one has to live

You have to slow down and go places occasionally

Such as the vicinity of the railway station, the old rundown residential district

Where, the day is like a whore

Being whiled away and forgotten, by more people

Translation: Ouyang Yu