40%-50% Off! Code: DECOR Ends: 10/26 Details
  1. Help

Jetlag Jetlag

Hello, you either have JavaScript turned off or an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.

Jetlag Jetlag - Page Text Content


2: Design/Stories/Poems/Photographs by QING LIU Editing RICHARD TUTTLE BRIAN WALTER © Qing Liu 2012 © www.LIUQINGSTUDIO.com All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without written permission. Printed in the United States of America LIUQINGSTUDIO PUBLICATION 2012

4: 4

5: "...her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can't move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage." William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, 2003 | "Somebody on Madison Ave. gave the disease the name jet lag, and it's a beauty." Eugenia Sheppard, 1965

6: For People I Know


11: BLOOD-REMEMBERING "...For the sake of a few lines one must see many cities, men and things. One must know the animals, one must feel how the birds fly and know the gesture with which the small flowers open in the morning. One must be able to think back to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected meetings and to partings which one had long seen coming; to days of childhood that are still unexplained, to parents that one had to hurt when they brought one some joy and one did not grasp it (it was joy for someone else); to childhood illness that so strangely began with a number of profound and grave transformations, to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars-and it is not enough if one may think all of this. One must have memories of many nights of love, none of which was like the others, of the screams of women in labor, and of light, white, sleeping women in childbed, closing again. But one must also have been beside the dying, one must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the fitful noises. And still it is not enough to have memories. One must be able to forget them when they are many, and one must have the great patience to wait until they come again. For it is not yet the memories themselves. Not until they have turned to blood within us, to glance, to gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves-not until then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a verse arises in their midst and goes forth from them." Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge | 11

14: 14

16: 16

20: 20

26: THRESHOLD I You vomit. Blood covers the floor. That wall, too, Facing north. Meat and vegetables pour out of your body. Raw. Like a river down streaming, Rocks and sand. A machine, Soft, weak, malfunctioning, And full of tender feelings – Last wishes. Red, brown, black, burgundy rather, Liquidly and solid. Smelly, too. Like a battlefield in a picture. Blue smokes. Moonlight crows. Surreal and lively. Empty and full. Suddenly, Unnecessary deaths, By thousands. Splashes flash. Like stars, infinite. Sparkling. Falling. Flying away. You are fainting. You think, Without a second thought. You must clean up the mess. Everywhere. Like a spoiled child, but not without instinct. Like a criminal, A coward, too, Wanting to destroy the evidence Of fear, | 26

27: Of guilt, Of dying. Angels Joyce and Kurt landing at my door, Singing love and comfort into my ear, Till the dawn breaks, And the news spreads. You keep saying, Not in words, but consciousness. It is your body! He is your body! It is not at all, A crime but a pleasure, A duty, A necessity, To let go, However you prefer. In an accident. From cancer. From hunger. In a war zone. From overdose. In a homicide. From a heart attack. In a roadside bombing. From an addiction. Addiction, One after another. Spring after winter. Like a hurricane in the Atlantic, A typhoon the Pacific. A snowstorm in the middle of the heartland. A rape within domesticity. Like a new-born, Granted the philosophy of History, Light and your first cry. Before you know it, The brightest days, Never as dark as this night. For mother, A journey, A gift, A rebirth, | 27

28: An internal wound for bringing you A life. Never strong enough to take it on your own. Never prepared for catastrophes. Never quite a destination, But a station, Always arriving, Always parting. November 2009. NYC | 28

29: 29

32: 32

34: 34

36: 36

40: 40

42: 42

43: 43

46: 46

48: 48

50: 50

54: 54

57: 57

58: 58

62: 62

64: 64

65: UNTITLED (DEEP NIGHT) Let it slowly Die. Like a child Grows. Most unexpectedly, In the tube, Out of wedlock, Without love. Into another deep night, I cry, Like a baby. As a middle-aged man, Too early for winter, Too late for spring. June 21, 2008, NYC | 65

66: 66

68: 68

69: 69

72: 72

73: SUMMER STORM Agitation, Irritation, Teasing, And teasing again. Clouds, Low and heavy, Gray with shades, Variations of darkness. Sound before light, Thunder, Lightning. Rain after, Brief like a prolonged visitation, Going sour. Farmers jump with joy, Harder time they saw before, Tougher than a drought. Fishermen tanned with sorrow, Sigh, Mouthing a pipe. Smokes circle into the sky. Schoolboys wet like a cock, Fresh out of a still pond, Disoriented, Fearless, Undisturbed; Only the pack on their back, A variety of burden, Your only universe, Heavy as the clouds, Above, Within, Beyond. September 19, 2009. NYC | 73

76: 76

77: 77

78: 78

80: 80

82: 82

84: 84

88: 88

91: 91

92: 92

93: 93

97: 97

98: 98

99: 99

100: 100

101: OTTO Always, You, On pedestal, Bare-chested and smooth, Dancing away your boredom - My darkest light. Waves. Thinning clouds. Murmurs. Ocean breezes. Free me as you touch me, And enslave my soul. What a fool,! Never learn. Never satisfied.! Never give up. Never admit. Never come home with or without love. August 15, 2008. NYC | 101

102: 102

103: 103

105: 105

106: 106

107: 107

110: 110

114: 114

115: OH, A LOVE SONG Sweet! I've told you, More than once, or just twice, Not to confuse my intimacy, With love. Love was gone, A decade ago, maybe two. Before the surgery, Before cultivation, Before my eyes were blinded, My mind wandered. Without me, You remain on the solid ground, Admirable and sharp. As usual, The sun hides, The moon shines, The winds blow, The seasons go. Only the wishes and bones continue to grow, Fragile and old. Flesh continues to rust, Until death arrives, Another baby is born. How alive! A body finally free, without attachment, With no love. August 31st, 2008. NYC | 115

116: 116

118: 118

120: 120

122: 122

126: 126

128: 128

131: 131

136: 136

137: IF WE ARE LUCKY If we are lucky, We might meet again, At the same place, In the rain, or not. If we are lucky, We might become friends, Living in the same city, Giving what one needs, When the world we know, A happy place turns upside down. If we are lucky, We could be the one, For each other, Forever, my love. If we are lucky, We will die of an old age, With holes from the missing teeth, The wrinkles on our hearts. Too weak to play games, But strong enough to feel loved. If we are lucky We would meet again, This time as angels in the Heaven, Through the shivering light. Hovering the Earth, A view of humanity, All at once, As the evil fall, And the good triumph. March 5, 2010. NYC | 137

140: 140

142: 142

143: 143

144: 144

145: 145

148: 148

149: 149

150: 150

151: 151

152: THRESHOLD II That evening, I was so close to death. Darkness, A winter garment warmed me into sleep; A summer thunder woke me from my dreams; Breathless. Mouth was a desert, Dry as Mars, Rumored by Spirit, the Robot. Wounded like a soldier, Opening eyes, Broken skies. Shadows of death piled up against the sight - Only a wall. Shallow. Painted concrete. Cold and blue. Disguise. Shapes swinged like a ghostly swing, Ran like a paper fan, Soundless. Against the wall, On the ceiling, Among the house plants. Faces of human species, Puppets on the sticks. Controlled by a master, Only a shadow behind the inconceivable mask. Lit by the street light, Below. Unnatural. Yellow. Silhouettes on the screen. I felt death, vivid like a physical pain, Familiar like a dear friend, With a knife in his hand. Chill like the first winter snow, So unseasonal. | 152

153: A formless vessel, An invisible entity breathed. Light as light touched me, everywhere; Heavy as night – Sitting on top of me, Choking me, Abducting me. My body, A foundation under the playground; A shelter wired with A system of mechanisms; Streams of blood, Giving refuge to bacteria, fungi, viruses And the history of philosophy. A devil embodied me, Killed the origin of myself, Spoke against my will. Punished me - For my sexuality, For my intellect, For my foreignness, For my sanity, For my slanted eyes, For my stubbornness, For my love. At four o'clock in the morning, When the Earth was rotating, The temperature rising, Some teenagers shooting, Politicians lying, Some coaches raping, Heroes falling, God dreaming, I started to sing, An old song quietly filled the room. I heard me. The hell was still a heaven away.” Somewhere and somehow. Crows fading into the field. Skeleton. | 153

154: Yellow ochre. In and out of breath. Throughout the atrocity of my journey, Not even a dream came for a visit, A leaf fell, A gentle wind blew, Or a happy ending ending; Just the endless night, Tonight as last night, Last night as other nights. Darkness continued till the bright daylight, As if nothing had happened. Nothing had happened. January 26, 2012.NYC | 154

155: 155

156: 156

158: 158

160: 160

161: 161

164: 164

168: 168

170: 170

172: 172

174: 174

179: 178

180: 180

184: 184

185: LIFE OR DEATH Blood no more, After a year, As life dangerously moves on, Repeating what had meticulously gone wrong. Alone, I lay bare, feared. In my skin, brown and tender. Only this time, I attempt to escape, From this body of mine. Often tormented, Enslaved by mind. What if I let go, No more waiting or being late; No more intention or control. Only a body grows, And a body old. Life or death, Whichever; Nevermore.” Such a bitch. Such a dick head. Such a faggot. Such a pain in the ass. Such a pussy. Such a motherfucker. Ignorant. Arrogant. Fearfully fearless. October 11, 2008. NYC | 185

188: 188

196: 196

198: 198

200: 200

202: 202

204: 204

205: UNTITLED (CALIFORNIA VASE) Alone, Relentless, Unlike the rest, Satisfactory and companied. Seemingly content. Disinterested, Beyond boredom. Hollow like a pipe, Magritte, A surreal disguise. An empty sky. Deserted vegetation, Distorted land. Still water, And a liquid life, Flies. Why so sudden? Why gray? Emotions hidden, Shooting like rays. Broken, An arrow, In transit, Reaching a target. A ceramic vase, Filled with air, Shaken, In a day dream. An afternoon earthquake, Displays, Pieces of clay, And the sound of despair. Once an artifact, Touched by its lover, Mediocre. A fleshy body, In Irish Green, Cyanic Mediterranean Sea. August 9, 2009, NYC | 205

206: 206

207: 207

208: 208

209: 209

210: 210

211: 211

212: 212

214: 214

215: MODERN LIFE II Always on top of things, Making sure bills are paid, pills taken, And the working schedules still remain the same. When the city air thickens, The sky turning gray, Fancy only a quiet, low-key night, Out of distraction, Alone by the sea. So tempting an eye, Giving out light, Shattering a soul, A soul naked. Dancing. Falling. Uprising. A feather in the air, Desire. When fear attacks, Another building sinking, Architecture and civilization falling, Everything thought to be normal, Turns out just another imagination, A foolish assumption. September 11, 2009. NYC | 215

216: 216

218: 218

220: 220

222: 222

224: 224

226: 226

227: MODERN LIFE III Of course, I will never see you again. You are about fifteen. And I am thirty-eight. Your eyes, Resting on the distance between our gazes, I read a sign of love Stubborn, hopeful and young. One day, We might meet one more time, Or might not. On the street or in a train. You would be a young family man, With kids on your shoulders, And a wife in the rain. I will be an old man, Gray and weird, Unsatisfied. September 4, 2009. NYC | 227

230: 230

234: 234

236: 236

239: 239

240: 240

242: 242

244: When the Yellow Chrysanthemums Blossom All Over the Hill My hometown is on an island – the throat of the Pacific and Min River, across to the west from the Taiwan Strait. It is said that the island was overgrown with aloe plants when it was first inhabited; we have known it as “Aloe Island.” There are seven villages spreading through the island with a population of more than 7,000 when I left. Today, the strong and the healthy, mostly young men and women have left the island; only the old, the weak and the children have been left behind. The house I grew in is at the foot of a small hill towards the back of the village, with concrete on the ground floor and hardwood on the second. The house was built upon large rectangular stones as the base and red bricks layered up to the roof covered by a shield of grey clay tiles. As a 4-year-old child, I saw the construction workers flex their muscles and perform their daily magic tearing down the old crumbling house of ours, digging, chipping, mixing and erecting the house that I called home for so many sweet and bitter young years and will pervade my childhood memories forever. When it rained, water came down uninterruptedly on each tile track like a river flowing downstream between its banks. Most beautifully, during the night when most noises were naturally muted, I heard only the sound of rain, crisp and harsh beating on the roof with a rhythm that triggered my dreams and sustained romantically beyond time. Typhoon arrived like a regular house-guest every summer, along with gusty winds and a large amount of rains; sometimes it lasted for a good few days. When that happened, we gathered home to catch up with whatever work left behind, in mostly the dim flickering candle light after the electricity was routinely turned off throughout the whole village after 8 in the evening; like most households in the village, we couldn’t afford to buy a television set but we still managed to remain entertained and amused by playing cards, hide and seek games among our siblings while listening most unavoidably to the music that nature composed. After a storm, we became very busy for a few days cleaning up the debris and fixing what’d been damaged even before the ground became dry again. We checked to see if the fences we built, the vegetables we grew in the back yard and the animals in the house pit such as pigs, chickens, ducks and rabbits we raised had all survived. Of course, often time, it was not that case. Behind my house, there were an empty yard, four neighboring houses and a small hill beyond. There was also a big old pine tree from which many frightening ghost stories were derived. As kids, we were prohibited by our parents to play there or even to go near the tree. It’s always tempting for us to lie under the big cooling shadow during hot summer days. According to the household number, each family owned certain amount of crops on the hill where they planted mostly sweet potatoes as our major food source, with vegetables and fruit trees at the bottom of the hill such as peach, banana, | 244

245: plum, olive and guava. Summer was hot and humid and it could also be damaging to skin since we kids mostly bared our chests in the sun. Despite that, it was the most exciting season for us especially when the fruits turned ripe and the river became warm enough for a cool dip. When the tide came up and the tidewater was still calm enough, my older brother often took me to the river and taught me how to swim, most of time by drowning me in the water until I was out of breath. I sometimes escaped the intimidation of my brother’s intention by running home throughout the crowded main street, sometimes in my underpants, sometimes naked when the swimwear was stolen or hidden away by peers. Perhaps that’s why I never learned how to strike my arms and legs well in the water but truly did not care much about becoming a good swimmer, which unquestionably was a necessity for living by the sea. I never thought about becoming a seaman either like most villagers but always remained a distant admiration for sun-drenched skin and the stories of their bravery in the storms passed on for generations. Sometimes, mostly around the noontime after lunch when the sun was the most deadly and the owners of the fruit trees were taking a summer nap, we climbed up their trees and cleared the ripe fruits, and then we ran away like a storm and hid somewhere far and quickly ate up what we had harvested. We never dared to bring anything home for the family unless we lied about them. On the top of the hill, I saw our village afoot, extending to the river, one neighboring village vague in the distance, the sugar crops and the rice fields, with the Min River running on the west and the Pacific on the east. On a clearer day, I could see the horizon separating the blue ocean from the sky with a few other small islands sparkling in the water under the sun, like the evening stars breathing in the sky here and there. For me as a child, that was the view that had given me the most perspective upon the world and the farthest distance I ever saw. An island is a lonely place, uncertain and detached, I thought. At the end of summer, chrysanthemums began to blossom, and quickly covered the whole hill when fall was about to arrive. Standing in front of my house and looking up to the right, I saw the color of yellow so frivolously and violently fill my sight with pale blue sky above and beyond. It’s that color and that section of composition that had overwhelmingly painted the pictures of my childhood. | 245

246: 246

247: I My Child Bride Yin Yin lived three houses away from mine. We were not related although a lot of close and distant relatives in the village tended to neighbor. When we first became playmates - I was probably ten, and going to the elementary school in the village; Yin was around thirteen, and not attending school. I did not know why and when she dropped out of school, or if she ever attended school at all. Yin was taller than I was, maybe because she’s a little older. She was thin and quick with long black hair that flowed almost to her waist. Her face was small and delicately proportioned. She looked pretty, I thought, especially when she smiled some sweet smiles and talked in a small voice and made me feel her care, gentleness and love. Yin’s parents passed away before I ever had memories. I heard that her father lost his life in the sea and her mother died of sorrow of losing her husband. Yin had two older sisters, and two older brothers who raised her. She was the youngest of five siblings, I of six. Yin helped out her family by doing what she could at her young age. Since she did not go to school, gathering food and fuel sources almost became her full-time job. Like most kids in the village, she followed other adults from our village, sometimes with a sibling to find live crabs in the mud, wild grown snails under the rocks along the river banks. She gathered dry tree trunks in the woods and carried them home on her small and tender shoulders. I did all of what she did, too, but less frequently since I was going to school. Sometimes, we did these things together on weekends when I was not at school; sometimes, Yin waited for me to come home from school so that we could work and play together. We were hard working kids whose virtues were constantly praised by our neighbors. Yin and I were inseparable. I did not realize our overt enjoyment for each other and the impression of proximity we projected until neighbors began to tease me about Yin. “Where’s your bride?” “When were you engaged?” “Have you kissed her, yet?” “Do you need a match maker?” “Make sure to invite me when you kids get married!” I never thought of Yin as a future bride, just a pleasant playmate. It’s unclear what’d driven us together, fate, chance or other coincidences. I did not know what a bride entailed or the process of becoming a groom. I’d seen and attended the happiest marriage ceremonies many times, and I’d only heard of marriage that required a bride, a groom and an extravagant wedding ceremony. I was a happy kid then, for at the age of ten, I already knew that I was going to have a bride with whom I would have a family like everyone else in the village. After the frequent tease from the kids in our peer and adults in the neighborhood, I started to think differently about Yin and have confused feelings toward her. In my simple heart | 247

248: filled with naivety, hope and love, I began to treat her as my bride. In many occasions, I even felt shy and embarrassed in front of her, which I had seldom encountered before. Summer in my city was always hot and humid. The streets were mostly deserted during the noon time until 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon when the food venders started to show up in the shady areas and the farmers went about the village calling out what they were selling in their baskets. During these heated hours, most working men and the house wives were taking a nap from work, at home where wind blew or in the shades under a roof in the yard while restraining their kids from running around in the sun. Through the back window on the second floor where I tried to take a nap with my parents, I saw Yin in a red flowery skirt with a white tank top loosely covering her upper body, stand quietly with her head down in the shades against a cone pine tree behind the fence of my house. Bare chested, I snuck down silently passing by my sleeping mother whom I did not wish to awaken. In the shade of a tree, I stood next to Yin. She smiled. I could tell she was as happy to see me as I was to see her. The silence surrounding us was dead like the color of black. The sun sizzled and our heart beat hard and fast, burning with curious desires. I grabbed her hand abruptly, and looked at it in my palms, observing something precious that I had never seen before. I let go of her hand and immediately pulled down her skirt with one hand, lifted her tank top with the other while first looking into her incredibly shy eyes, then down at her private area, smooth like calm water and pinkish like dragon fruit with a sharp cut into its flesh. Yin moved a step closer to me so that I could touch her body with ease. She pulled down my shorts with one hand, and tried to cover up her eyes with the other. My penis hardened like a balloon pumped with air, pink with foreskin rapidly breaking away from the glans like a small wave coming off the shore. It reached out horizontally and stubbornly in the thick summer air. Yin looked into my eyes, then at my penis; I looked into her eyes, then at her private. For very long seconds, we stood still, silently facing each other observing the most amusing parts of our bodies – precious and forbidden, with her skirt and my shorts below our knees. She gave my penis an abrupt and warm hold while her other hand covered her mouth with an impression of disbelief and shock. It felt an immediate excitement throughout my body, from head to toe, to every single pulse in my body. My blood circulated faster and faster in my young and small body; I extended my right arm to reach her opening petals - soft, warm and electrifying. I was shaking like a pole stringed loosely to a fishing boat on a grey wintry day when a storm was about to come my way. I thought I’d impregnated my bride, and I was going to break like a vessel. Yin immediately pushed away my hand and pulled up her skirt, turning, running up the stairs and disappearing into the shadow cast by the conjunction of two curvy rooftops. I remained in the shadow of our tree, stood at a loss, absurd and unbelievably awakening. | 248

249: 249

250: III Professor Bill The first time I saw Professor Bill, I was walking to campus from our college dormitory with my classmates. It was the end of May, a typical day in Southern China - sunny, warm, still and discomforting. It's a good fifteen minutes walk between dormitory and campus without having to cross major traffic lights, or encounter a large city noises; within the scenery was mostly an upcoming residential area where the construction and deconstruction of buildings and roads were simultaneously intertwined. Seeing him was such an incredibly unforgettable event because he was the first foreigner I had ever seen in my life. I saw Professor Bill on his bicycle as he rang his bicycle ring shyly and brokenly through our group toward campus. I didn't see his face, but his khaki shorts, dark blue polo shirt, white Nike shoes and long white socks stretched all the way just below his ankles; his hair silvery swinging in the wind. I could tell from behind, he's very tall because his body blocked our horizon and the sky above it as he rode by, and quickly disappeared into the distance as the shadow of his large silhouette became smaller and smaller. He was like a moving monument, first appearing out of nowhere, and then disappearing into our field of vision, possessing me of power, curiosity and admiration. I was already a college sophomore after I spent my summer vacation with my family in the village. The passing of time was fast and cruel, but for a young man, it was hardly felt. The freshman year was like a dream, an extensive vacation where you prolonged your journey as a man. It's like a middle age man freshly out of marriage, like a fish returning to the sea with no expectation but enjoying the grandeur of being free. That year was a year of equilibrium, a constant state of no progress and no fall back. Our sophomore's dorm was on the fourth floor, newly renovated two-bedroom apartment with twelve boys living in it; it was undeniably crowded but still much nicer than what we had as freshmen, and it was free. The girls from our class lived on the top sixth floor in the same building. Boys were all excited about that because living closer to them would be a good opportunity for us to further develop our friendship, and for some a possible romance. That's evidentially what we boys hoped for. A few days before our new semester started, I learned that Professor Bill would be teaching our English Extensive Reading class for that semester, I was beyond excitement like most of my classmates. In college, like in the middle or high school, we did not have to choose any class; the same classes were planned and assigned and instructed to the students at the same grade level. In the end, our academic standing was solely determined by how well we learned from the same materials given by the same instructors. Everything was extremely uniformed, regimented and repetitive; I thought that was fair because no one could take advantage of their own stupidity or intelligence on specific subjects of their specialty. | 250

251: When Professor Bill first walked into our classroom on the second day of the fall semester, I was instantly intrigued by his presence. I could also feel a sense of awe radiating from the faces of my classmates. I couldn't immediately connect his frontal view with my memory of his back on the bike from May. I felt like peeking through a hole of imagination at Professor Bill in front of a mirror, looking simultaneously at the back of his body in a real world and his front reflect in the mirror. He gently put down his black briefcase on the desk in front of him and pulled out a brown folder forcefully expanded by the stuff inside. His desk was much higher than the rest of desks in the classroom, which indicated the dynamics of hierarchical relationship between students and teachers in an ancient culture where education was still highly regarded and old age generally respected. Professor Bill's desk cut off his long and skinny body from his waist down, making him temporarily and physically partial to us when he stood behind it. He looked up and scanned a quick impression of us and said "Good morning!" with a serious face to engage us. He was not yet ready to start a second phrase, still looking ahead, perhaps searching for words or a tone that would appropriately carry out the expectation of his planned introduction. His hair carefully combed to his right, silvery and promptly pricked my memory of him from behind. I couldn't tell his age since I'd never had experience of witnessing a White man age. But he looked old or at least weary; that's what teenagers tended to generalize when they couldn't tell somebody's age. His forehead was wrinkled like liquefied black ink on white paper, like folded fabrics one on top of another; his face was not the face I was imagining when I first encountered him on the bike and the shadow imprinted on the road from which he disappeared. The face I was imagining was a face of power, freedom and happiness with broad smiles. Instead, I saw the mystery and perplexity written all over to a degree of melancholy or even sadness. The only expectation of mine I felt fulfilled was his foreignness in both his features and the manners he briefly presented when he spoke. Despite that, I quickly cultivated a sympathetic and delicate feeling in the field of my heart toward what might be hidden from us in Professor Bill's life. Professor Bill is tall and very skinny; I noticed that and reaffirmed that truth as he turned around writing down "Bill Hutchinson" on the blackboard with a white chalk. He turned around and rubbed together his hands as he dusted off chalk powder from his sleeves and hands. Still, there was not yet a second word from him. His eyebrows were long and white; and his eyes were deep, concentrating like a wolf at hunt. As he spoke, the softness in his tone from such a big man was pleasantly surprising; his teeth were somewhat yellowish. "My name is William Hutchinson, but please call me Bill." He spoke slowly and clearly, then paused. | 251

252: "I was born in West Virginia, the United States of America." We listened as Professor Bill introduced himself in a way that sustained beyond my imagination. He used his hands frequently to describe a scenario in mind, like a painter using brushes to draw a picture; he paused unexpectedly from time to time and then picked it up again smoothly as if he was disrupting himself in the train of thoughts. In a contrast to the way Chinese spoke - musical in tone and blank in gesture, Professor Bill's delivery of speech felt like an actor on stage performing a narrative instead of solely telling stories with words. With that alone, he distinguished himself by nature from all of us - the descendants of Dragon and the believers of the philosophy of Confucius who were sitting and watching his unique performance, mesmerized. He leaned his butt against the edge of a desk in the front row where two students were sitting; his left leg bent at an angle hanging in the air while his right foot extended, touching the ground and keeping him in balance, very uncharacteristic or even inappropriate for a teacher in Chinese culture where learning by example was highly valued. Even though none of us understood completely every word he was speaking of, his clarity and fluidity in his speech, the authenticity in his accent, the dramatization and broad gestures grabbed our fullest attention throughout. I felt like an amateur watching a play on stage, stories unfolding without knowing them before hand; so much detail was lost in my interpretation of the performance, but I managed to grasp the general meaning of it. Professor Bill had been teaching in China for about twenty years. He taught English in a high school in Xiamen for some thirteen years before he came to our college a year before. He said he loved China and its people for the nature of their hard working and respectfulness. He traveled all around China during the summer vacation every year. He hadn't returned to the United States for ten years. In conclusion, Professor Bill seemed like a well spoken teacher with great knowledge and experience that would take our English education to the next level. And that was all we wanted, really. I was happy, and remained motivated to better my English and excited to learn about a culture that was no doubt overwhelmingly dominating and infiltrating every part of the world. After we came back from the class break, Professor Bill asked us to fill out a form with our personal information, such as birthday, hobbies, goal, etc. In the end, we had to choose an English name for ourselves, which stirred a huge excited discussion among us. We didn't know what to choose, or what Tom or John signified culturally. We chose based on the interesting phonetic sounding, or the limited fictional English characters we learned from our world literature classes. For a brief moment, because of having the opportunity to give ourselves a new foreign name, we all felt a sense of renewal and the ecstasy that it elevated. In the end, I chose Muir for its sound after David, Daniel and Brian were all taken by my classmates, and Bob was discouraged by Professor Bill for its older sounding reference. He said Bob was not a suitable name for a young boy like me. Professor Bill told me that Muir was an uncommon name but suited me well even though I did not know what he meant by suiting me well. I wrote down Muir on my | 252

253: sheet, it's black on white; I officially became Muir in this class and "cat" after the class given by my classmates later because Muir sounded like the phonetic sounding of cat in Chinese Mandarin. In either case, I gradually became adapted to my newly discovered identity and responded more and more quickly and fluidly to my name. It's like a present, received by surprise. You hesitated to open it because you wanted to guess what's in it. You wanted it not to be what you thought it was, you wanted to be wrong at your guessing. You opened it, you were happy that you were wrong, and then it took a lot of time before you became comfortable in them - a pair of new shoes or jeans. It's also like a new cut wound, open and visible from flesh. You reacted abruptly and painfully if touched, but over time, you witnessed that it changed, discolored, healed and became a scar - on your arm, forehead or some other less visible spot. That scar became part of your identity, a mark that indicated an eventful life, an index of your body for memory. I was happy with Muir. Not only did it "suit me well," but because of it, I got teased often by the girls in my class who lived two stories up above my dorm. I mildly enjoyed the attention, especially from the girl with whom I was secretly in love. She made me stop thinking about other things but her, her smiles and eloquence; she made me feel embarrassingly awkward in front of other classmates as if she had exposed my secret of being in love with her every time when I saw her. She was Linda, a daughter of doctors, my imaginary lover - a villain that was only attempting to steal my heart, so nave and gentle that set free my most ardent desire for her love. I was tormented by my secret, but too afraid to let known my longings. I blushed in her presence or in speaking of her in conversations with friends, but always hid my embarrassment well and the object of my desire in secrecy. I thought, it was just love - the most sacred word, the most profound sounding of all languages and the most pure form of existence. I thought love remained such a power because it's never spoken, like a beauty in the distance; I kept it in the field where other secrets were buried so that I could feel the ecstasy of thinking about her. That fall semester went by more quickly than others. It felt that way probably because of the existence of my secret love toward Linda and the excitement Professor Bill had brought to the class. Many times, I wished I could have been frozen in time, in which I prolonged my brief encounters with Linda in my thoughts and in reality, and decorated the house of my memory with each joyous and jealous moment of her I shared with my heart and each object of which a story about her would be discovered. Those symptoms that surfaced in my everyday life simply further approved my sprouting seed of love for Linda. Because of her, everyday at school was like being on a date with a girl who was caring like a mother and gentle like someone deeply in love. On the other hand, Professor Bill was greatly exceeding our expectations. We all felt fortunate to have been in his class where we not only quickly improved our English reading skill, but also our oral language skill. Despite his Americanness trapped in the tradition of British English learning structure within our school system, we began gradually to adapt his Southern American ascent, his speaking pattern and even his humor that he | 253

254: naturally showcased from time to time. After the midterm, most of us were able and willing to discuss the texts we studied in the class without feeling a sense of embarrassment. "What does 'A Rose for Emily' mean?" "The rose is not even mentioned in the story, what do you think the author Faulkner intended for 'a rose' to symbolize?" "Is it a totem for love?" "She loved. We know that toward the end with the grotesque image of the corpse of Homer Barron." "Do you think the narrator was intended to be God because he sees everything in the town of Jefferson?" "Right, only God process such power!" "There is no God!" I saw that Professor Bill was happy with all the questions raised by the students. The sign first displayed our interest and curiosity toward the materials he chose to use; secondly it signified our desire to participate in a difficult analysis of such text. His satisfaction was evidential when he showed off his smiles, so rare, so gentle and full of light; and when he patiently awaited to engage our readings of the characters. "Great American writer William Faulkner wrote 'A Rose for Emily' in 1929. The short story is set in an imaginary town called Jefferson in post Civil War Mississippi; it illustrates the theme of decay through the life and death of Emily Grierson, the deterioration of her house throughout generations and the town of Jefferson she lived in" Professor Bill went on to contextualize the story and explain to us his understanding of the text with such conviction and determination. A sense of American history he brought to us added another dimension to the versatile nature of his teaching philosophy. The wild variety of materials Professor Bill selected first presented a certain degree of difficulty and challenge at first, and then freed us from the boredom of the endless repetition of structure imposed by other classes. On one sunny morning, Professor Bill walked into the classroom with a radio cassette player. The sunlight bleached the row of windows open to the east, leaving the spotted yellowish stains on the surface, here and there; the diffused rays so weakly reached us that they flattened and softened the contour of our faces. He put down the cassette player on his desk; his face was too filtered by the glass windows, appearing peaceful and dreamy like the meditating face of Buddha; smooth and edgeless like a meadow in the highland against an empty bluish sky. Only his nose was tall enough to still stand fearlessly like a castle in a grand landscape, the only visibility to the eye; like the Berlin Wall dividing the face of a nation. "We're going to learn a song today called 'Take Me Home, Country Roads' " He announced. "Does anyone know anything about this song?" Professor Bill looked around the class, hoping for surprises; his eyes moved from the front to the back, and from the left to the right, then fixed upon the distance, motionless. The paths his eyesight traveled like rays of laser marked the territory of silence radiating from us. | 254

255: "This song is by John Denver; it sings about my hometown - West Virginia." Professor Bill plugged the long power cord into the wall behind him, rewinded the tape and played the song. The melody was soft like steam filling the air; it's suiting like Proust's unforgettable memory of sensation aroused with hot tea and petites madeleines offered by his mother on a chill wintry day. The lyrics sprung like grass after the last frost. "Country roads, take me home; to the place I belong. West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home." They eventually took roots in my young heart and sustained beyond the boundaries of languages and cultures, and ultimately made me homesick, too although my home was only hours away. I saw Professor Bill's eyes sparkling; the wetness filled in his vision. Tears were the children of time; two colliding forces - the past and the memory of the past unintentionally gave birth to the feeling of nostalgia toward those young times lost; even though painless, it still processed an incredible sense of grief. The grief was usually rooted in death - the death of the blood-related, the death of the loved ones, and the death of Time. Could Time be dead, too? Or was it the only element in a man's life that's constant and immortal? Could tears come from the recognition of guilt and its discretion? Professor Bill stood back behind the tall desk that blocked him from his waist down. He unplugged the power cord and started to tidy up the folders on his desk. Although his desk was perfectly neat and organized, he used this tactic perhaps to buy him some time in order to control the pouring of his emotions. A grown man's mind felt like a desert - vast, mysterious, infinite, dangerous and free. He hadn't said a word for a few minutes now, while we were all trying to practice the song with the persons around us. The silence emerged from Professor Bill was prolonging; it contrasted with the vibrancy of our young passion generated from random groupings of a few students here and there. When the class was denounced, we felt somewhat emotionally closer to Professor Bill. Not only because we had gingerly started to sing a song about his hometown West Virginia, but also we witnessed the display of his tender side that was humanistic but rare in the man before all of us. I came to finally understand him and the root of mystery hidden behind his serious face when I first engaged him face to face. Professor Bill and a few of us walked back to the dorm together that day. It was a sunny afternoon; the sunlight was bright but weakening from the extortion of an overheating summer. The air was fresh and pleasant; the gentle winds occasionally brushed our faces, soft like touches on the face from a baby. Professor Bill pushed his bike walking slowly among us; he was like a mountain blocking our horizon behind him, an over fertilized seed growing to be above all others. We started awkwardly communicating with each other; for almost all of us, it's the first time to be chatting casually with a foreigner, which was exciting and embarrassing at the same time. I felt like a curious baby starting to babble, to bite on anything coming handy, and to learn how to get up from falls. Each time after I completed a perfect sentence in answering or raising a question, I felt like a newer person than a minute before, progressing step by step toward a person whose language and culture had been fascinating me since I was a small child. | 255

256: I learned that Professor Bill lived on the second floor of the building where we all lived in. I felt a sense of disbelief for not having known about that because now I knew I literally passed by his apartment two flights below us a few times a day. When we got to our dorm building, Professor Bill invited us to his apartment. We thanked him; some had to go, but three of us decided to come in. The layout of Professor Bill's apartment was exactly the same as ours two floors up, but there were twelve of us, young and disorganized boys living together; Professor Bill only lived by himself. The realization of the contrast between the conditions of our living aroused another yearning in me for adulthood for its independence and freedom. The apartment was fully furnished by the college and offered for free as part of the agreement. Except for some provided furnishings including a couple of sofas in beige and a television set directly across from it, I didn't see that many personalized items. It still felt like a dorm in the living room with the same floor, same walls, same color of paint on the walls and same fluorescent lighting. Professor Bill showed us around his apartment, very clean, simple and neat. In the kitchen area, small washing towels in various colors were neatly folded, stacked and placed in a row on the ledge off the wall; the light bulb was filtered by a diffused glass lamp shade, giving out gentle light. The bedroom was in pure white, feeling chill like a swimming pool covered in snow. It had very little furniture except for a bed, seemingly too small for his large and long body, covered with all white beddings neatly folded. As I turned my head to the right, I saw a small white dresser on which a table lamp sat, giving out weak and yellowish light; a huge poster of Mao with young pioneers in shorts holding torches was framed and hung directly across from his bed. The color of yellow from the lamp and the color of red from the scarves of young pioneers in the picture became the only colors in the room that added a tint of warmth and suggested the existence of season. The simplistic arrangement and the minimal tone done to the bedroom felt cold all over the place and made me feel like being in a mythical land, disoriented and abandoned. A place unlike all others. I thought. Professor Bill didn't show us the other bedroom, but I could see that there was a lock on the doors. Maybe it was used as an office or a closet. I said it to myself as I sat down in the sofa with my two other classmates. Professor Bill asked us if we wanted coffee or tea, we all politely declined as we were taught not to take the offerings from a stranger even though the sounding of coffee was so foreign and tempting. Professor Bill winked his eyes with a warm smile as if he was expecting us to reject his offering. He bent over, picked up the remote control on the coffee table and turned on the television as he walked toward the kitchen. He came back with a cup of tea in his hand and sat in the other sofa next to us. The volume from the television was very low, which allowed us to talk freely without feeling being interrupted or having to speak loudly. But we rarely talked at the beginning because we were all very shy young college boys from the countryside. We stumbled upon the language and its culture that we set out to study so that we could teach the children of our generation the principle of that language and the culture it embedded. Most of time, Professor Bill actively asked questions and patiently awaited the answers from us; sometimes he repeated his sentences slowly once or more until he knew we all understood his | 256

257: questions. He didn't talk much about himself, but occasionally mentioned the things he liked to do when he was in the United States. We never asked him any questions about his personal life, but remained curious toward the aspects of his life that we still knew nothing about. Professor Bill was still mainly the person who taught us the language, who was responsible, respectful, mysterious and most importantly a good teacher. Regardless, that distance from knowing him as a private person created in us a visage that continued to mystify a culture that we all longed to get closer to. That hour passed extremely quickly in the living room of Professor Bill's with our nervousness and excitement in sitting next to him and talking in a language that we all still stumbled upon. Our willingness to learn and our eagerness toward making progress were so evidential that we almost forgot to leave. We forgot about the harshness of the fluorescent light bounced from the floor; we forgot about the existing world outside Professor Bill's balcony, a bright October sky; we forgot about the lunch time when a big line of youngsters was forming in the dining hall downstairs. We only remembered that brief, yet unforgettable moment in which we three young college boys tried our very best to share our ordinary lives with our professor. In a young heart, everyday felt like a new day; there was always so much to learn without feeling the process of learning until one day you realized that you had no recollection of where your wisdoms and knowledge all came from. It's like the overnight snow, without noticing, the whole scenery turned white when you opened the curtains and looked out of the windows in the morning. The feeling of surprise and excitement always sustained for a while or even a day until the snow was no longer pure, no longer white, no longer evoked a sense of prolonging in time. For a young person, what's the most significant force was the curiosity to imagine a world and all the happenings that took place in that world. There was no fear or weariness for future or consequences; everything that mattered was almost always immediate; nothing beyond now and this place would matter as the same as the present. After we got back from Professor Bill's apartment, we rushed to the dining hall to catch up with our belated lunch. The dining hall was almost empty but the serving windows were still open. Some dirty dishes and leftover food were left behind on the tables here and there. After we all got our lunch boxes, we sat down at a big round table and couldn't stop talking about Professor Bill and our effort to communicate. We all wanted to talk to Professor Bill more often so as to expand our English vocabularies and to improve our speaking skills. For some reason, it felt like holding a certain social and academic leverage over those who didn't have that opportunity, or still too shy to take advantage of it. Over the next couple of months, we progressed dramatically, especially three of us boys who spoke to Professor Bill frequently in and out of the classroom. A few other boys started to notice our progress and began to join us in taking great advantage of the presence of Professor Bill. We utilized every opportunity to speak with him, during the class break, in the dining hall, walking back to the dorm together, sometimes we came to his apartment, pretending to ask him the questions that we already had answers for. We became frequent visitors to his | 257

258: apartment mostly in the evenings with or without a reason, sometimes in a group, sometimes individually. We sat around chatting, laughing and watching television well into the night. Sometimes Professor Bill fell in asleep in front of us like an old man while watching TV, and then we felt awkward and excused ourselves to return to our dorm. Professor Bill seemed to be welcoming and warm about our aggressiveness because we never heard him express anything unsatisfactory about our visits and always wished for our return when we left. I thought he even took great pleasure in our curiosity and our earnestness to learn his language and culture. It's only normal to feel a satisfaction toward playing a role of bridging two cultures and two generations of their people. He seemed to have greatly enjoyed our company in his life that was alone and surrounded by various solitary measurements and the countless attempts to blend in. But Professor Bill never blended in after fourteen years of teaching in a culture that he was fascinated by since he was a child. Perhaps one could never blend into a different culture than your own, especially when that culture is racially linear and culturally complex. Despite that, it felt that Professor Bill was comfortable in his position where he professed his knowledge while navigating through the differences in everyday life. The following weekend, most of boys in my dorm returned home to visit their families. There were only me and two other boys who decided to stay. It felt different and quiet without other guys around. The dining hall was almost empty during the lunch and dinner hours, occasionally, I saw a few kids hanging around their balcony across my building, chain smoking, baring their chests, and playing loud music. Sometimes they all sang together popular songs, while using their dining utensils and pots as their musical instruments. It's hilarious, but a typical image of boys on a college campus killing their time and wasting overflowing energy especially after the dinner hours when the weather was still warm enough to bare their chests in it. They did it, sometimes for pure fun, sometimes trying to attract the attentions of girls, and sometimes processing young men's frustration, anger and rage. By contrast, I was rather a quiet, shy and more of inward person. I never spoke a lot to express my feelings inside, made huge gestures in public or socialized in order to make new friends. Everything came naturally to me when I felt certain intimacy and the quality of unspoken understanding of feelings from the person I was about to be friends with. At a very young age, I started to develop a sensibility that carried out my tendency of observing what's being ignored, seeing what's being hidden and reading what's being thought of in the minds of others. In time, I developed into a young man who was alert, melancholic and over sensitive. After I finished my homework, I realized that I still had so much spare time that I used to spend with my friends. With their being gone, I suddenly had a rare opportunity to reflect my life in the past and to envision that in the future. Either way, I saw darkness with no field of vision, a broken path, and a hole in my heart. I tried and wanted to be a happy young man, but becoming a teacher and its discriminated low income social status in my definite future prevented me from embracing the position that millions of other students in the countryside wished to be in - a permanent job, an "Iron Bowl" that could never be broken. For some | 258

259: reason, having a lifetime security for a young man didn't excite me or calm me; it felt like a teen pregnancy, shadowing and shackling a lively life, a little too cruel, a little too soon. With all the fresh thoughts occupying my head, I felt like a very old man, all he saw was the memories of love, no future but death. On that day, I rode my bike all over the city by myself, exploring the different neighborhoods and commercial districts where each claimed their own sense of identity. As a country boy, regardless of your countless wishes and desires, you constantly found yourself being excluded from the social fabrics of city life. You were always identified as an outsider by the city folks, belonging to the nature and to the sea that surrounded you. The richness, the forwardness and the decadency that a city often represented had nothing to do with a heart that was simple and nave in nature. By the time I got back to the dorm, it was already dark. From outside the gate on the street, I saw both dormitory buildings were brightly lit; each apartment radiated a similar amount of light from the balcony that was uniformly extended from the surface of the building and stacked one floor on top of the other from top to bottom. My first instinct was that the students who were out for weekend had already returned. I was happy to think that all my friends must have been back, too. The main gates were already shut and lit by the holiday lights. It felt a little festive. Maybe these lights were always lit in the evening, I just never noticed that. I thought. I showed the doorman my student ID and came in from a small side door. The whole place was rather quiet. A lot of students were studying, I thought, to catch up with whatever they left behind during the weekend. As I walked up the stairs to my dorm, to my surprise, I saw Professor Bill's door was not closed. A weak light stream came through a small gap between the door and its frame. I stopped at his front door, hesitated, trying to convince myself to go in and say hello to Professor Bill. I gently knocked at the door, and waited to be seen. A few seconds later, Professor Bill stood at the door in shorts and a sleeping t-shirt. He seemed very surprised at first then greeted me immediately with a smile. "Am I bothering you?" "No, no. Not at all. I was just watching television." "I was out all day. I saw your door was open, just wanted to say hello." "Oh, Thank you, Muir! Do you want to come in?" I hesitated and said, "Sure!" Professor Bill closed the door behind us; I followed him in and sat down in the sofa, then he walked to the kitchen. Obviously, the overhead fluorescent light was turned off; the living room was dimly but warmly lit from a table lamp besides the sofa. I felt relaxed, a refugee from my own prison. For some reason, it's comforting to be here with Professor Bill. His foreignness seemed to have relocated my troubling thoughts and feelings of uncertainty in a far foreign land. Some kind of English show was playing on the television, which I did not know anything about. "Have a glass of wine." Professor Bill handed me the glass and sat next to me. I had no time to think about his offering. I took the glass and placed it on the table | 259

260: table in front of us. "What does it taste like?" It's looking like blood, I thought. "You never had wine before?" He sort of laughed, and then he was able to control himself right away and continued. "It's a type of alcohol, made of grapes. This one is called Syrah, made in California, I believe. You should try it." Professor Bill raised his glass and said "Gan bei" in Chinese, literally meaning "Dry the cup." I was surprised to hear him say that so well. That's what people did when they drank, and they really meant it. Out of respect, one was expected to drink up after clinking glasses. I grabbed my glass and said "Gan bei" back to him while raising it to my lips. I didn't "dry the cup," I finished half of glass and put it down feeling immediately all the wine had gone to my head instead. My throat was dry and hurt; my face was getting warmer; I felt a little dizzy. Professor Bill noticed my reaction and he went back to the kitchen right away and came back with a glass of cold water. I didn't drink it. I knew cold water would upset my stomach badly. I always drank boiled water for my entire life. "Are you all right?" Professor Bill moved a little closer to me. He put his left hand on my right shoulder. As I turned my head and peeked at his face, half in shadow, the other half bathing in the weak yellowish light from the table lamp beside him. His face looked serious and full of fatherly concerns. "I am O.K. First time. Didn't expect the taste." "Let me give you a massage. You will feel better." His words were such a conviction, demanding like a knowledgeable elderly who knew exactly what he's doing. He put both hands on my shoulders, fingering and circulating very slowly on the spots; then his fingers moved abruptly to my arms. He grabbed them and squeezed them. Then his hands moved rather quickly and worked between my arms and shoulders. Wine had kicked in, filled my organs. Each movement Professor Bill stroked on my shoulders felt like heavy rain drops falling onto the tile rooftop. "You're so tense, Muir! Relax a little." He patted me on the shoulders and took off my jacket, leaving me with a white tank top. I felt so bare! He continued to work on my shoulders, my back, my thighs and my chest, and moving back and forth; now I could feel his flesh touching my flesh, like an earthworm moving underneath the ground. It gave me a wintry chill throughout my body. Professor Bill suddenly stood up and grabbed my right hand as he led me to the direction of the bedroom. It was dark at first like a tunnel; the only light that came through the balcony was from the adjacent dorm building, then gradually the placement of objects in the room came into my sight blurrily. Professor Bill signaled me to lie face down with my legs closed and straight as he pulled down my long trousers. I heard some metallic sound; maybe it was the belt buckle hitting the floor as Professor Bill started to move his hands all over my small body. Then he sat on my butt and turned around between my head and my toes, giving great pressure to my upper and lower body, like claws of a hawk, like the breathing organs of a giant octopus, like Goya's Saturn devouring his son. Then he clashed | 260

261: his whole body flat on top of me with my head in the pillows breathing without an ease. He grabbed my chest from underneath my arms as he pressed himself against me more closely like a mountain clashing against the fragile ground; his mouth on my ear, murmuring and moistening the rims; his lower body started to move up and down, more and more frequently until his sweat got wetter, his murmurs louder, his breath heavier. He came. He rolled off my back. I heard his breathing. In the darkness, breathing is the only voice I could see. | 261

265: 265

268: DANIEL Light first, Too dull to carve out a face; Then music rolls, Waves from South Pacific, Likely every summer, Killing thousands. A chosen person, God sent, Finally ascending from the land of darkness, Bristle like a feather. Caught in light and A crowd of ravers, Strolling in the air. The eyes, the eyebrows and the hair, The darkest forest glows in the moonlight. No wolves, No vampires; Only fairies, Cloned in millions, Fantasize. Crows rearrange the shape of every tint, Summer in the sky. Frogs falling, Incessantly, From Heaven that captivated them. Underneath the Earth is another Kingdom, Refugees of Creation, Living and dying. Yet, your gazes shoulder through other gazes, Reach me, Laser me, Shock me like lightning over a highland, Free me as a slave, Crucify me as Christ: "Spare me chores." "Arrow me force." "Nail me blood." | 268

269: Then lips open the gate, Millions of particles hiss through the tunnel, Black as a sealed night; Thousands of feet under, Buried an intoxicating mine. No words spoken, No winds blown; Just breathe breath, Airless air, Short and moist, Down the throat, Into veins. Suddenly a house above all houses, Sky within touch; A perfect rendering of tonality, Like an eagle hovering, A dome of happiness. A hanging garden, Erect like a blood vessel, Dark as the African Sun, Cold as hell, Bold as Byzantine. A city below, A metropolis at dawn, Calm like a stone, Gentle like a child in riddle. Two hearts together, Beating faster than one; Two little beasts, Eager like an adolescent, Trapped in a small town of Mississippi. Every inch of your body, A landscape I set afoot, Its soil I cultivate. Two hearts together, Breaking easier than one. Too soon for calling it a love, Too late to withhold the intricacy of feelings. Daniel, too, A special boy, I thought, Training to the Babylonian court, Turns out just another ordinary soul. So earthy. | 269

270: So cruel. So practical. So full of shit. February 10, 2010. NYC | 270

271: 271

272: 272

274: 274

275: 275

276: 276

278: 278

279: 279

282: 282

283: MODERN LIFE I A stream of light, Brown egg shell, yellow and white. The reflection on the wall inside the tunnel, Like a feather, Teases in an ear. A running train slowly dies out before my eye, Tired of the routine. Repetition. What's happening to Grand Central? A voice lingers, breaks and amplifies. Disappears into the crowds, Body against body, Without patience. Brain hurts, Too much, too often. But no one panics, Just another foe, One more tale to tell. A generous yarn, A mysterious stare fills the air. A spit arrives with warning. It travels through the noise, It lands in our disgust of such a vulgar, Also young, well-dressed and full of despair. July 2008. NYC | 283

284: 284

286: 286

288: 288

292: 292

294: 294

296: 296

300: 300

301: BRIGHTON BEACH I was happy when I opened my eyes. All I saw was the sky, Pale blue, the sun hanging high and bright. How infinite! No Architecture, No damaged sites. The ocean speaks, The children ride. Almost that's all I've wanted, Love and a peaceful mind, together reside. After all, I am from the ocean beyond an invisible sea, A boy once curious to move a mountain, To cuddle dawn. And now, Life is a coma, Sleeping away days and nights. July 17, 2008. NYC | 301

307: 307

310: 310

312: 312

314: 314

316: 316

317: 317

324: 324

327: 327

329: 329

330: 330

333: 333

334: 334

336: 336

340: 340

345: 345

348: 348

351: 351

352: 352

354: 354

356: 356

358: 358

359: BEAUTY In your eyes, I blind myself. Without vision, I see darkness, As I remember; And a brand-new world, As I imagine. March 23, 2009. NYC | 359

362: 362

363: It is better to travel well than to arrive. Buddha

364: 364

365: 365

Sizes: mini|medium|large|massive
Default User
  • By: Qing L.
  • Joined: over 4 years ago
  • Published Mixbooks: 1
No contributors

About This Mixbook

  • Title: Jetlag Jetlag
  • no theme
  • Tags: photography, art, poem, short stories, q, Qing Liu, Chinese artist, artist book, columbia, contemporary, asian, sculpture, travel metaphor
  • Published: about 4 years ago

Get up to 50% off
Your first order

Get up to 50% off
Your first order