Ouyang Yu

Ouyang Yu now moves between China and Australia. A poet, novelist and critic, he has to date published 36 books including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and translation in both English and Chinese. Ouyang’s best-known works in English are his poetry collections Moon Over Melbourne and Other Poems (1995), Songs of the Last Chinese Poet (1997), short-listed for the 1999 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards) and Two Hearts, Two Tongues and Rain-Coloured Eyes (2002).




you are your own alter-ego
you see, life has not treated you badly
even though there were many times you thought it did, it didn’t
thing is, you don’t feel much desire for many things you used to
so passionately believe in. the sum-total of hard work seems to be
more of the same. you, and your self. in your language, alter-ego
is the opposite of the alter-ego, not the mirror image but the reverse side
of the mirror. it requires a strange translation to make sense: know-heart
hence the alter-ego that knows the heart. not true. the distance between a know
and a heart is a hyphen. often, it is this hyphen that cuts you apart
day after day you live with a diminishing sense of romance
the word itself having ceased to mean anything more than a mere memory
an age in which fallen teeth serve as part of an improvised interior
design and daily written things, fodder for future franchise the owner of those teeth
will not be a part of. incidentally, though, alter-ego is
the other self, the enemy of the self. hey, but what has this got to do
with the mathematics of it all. when will it happen? when the real
become the imaginary
here you go
here you go again



why is it never associated with failure is something that beats
an ant. does one ever hear a bird awarded a prize for flying
over mt everest or ever wonder why it simply stops
flying if it deems it beyond its capacity? a being, though, a human
being, in particular, is a totally different kettle of worms or a can
of fish. how so? it will leave you moved when you see how fame
is allowed one person like, like, a wrong word, once used, that will never
be used again unless the magnetic starts attracting it again
in a never ceasing business that we proudly call humanity. meanwhile
more died in lebanon, their names, never known before, now known
and shortlists could be abolished altogether considering how time and patience
consuming to get so short that one never gets there. as for longlists, one should
not even invent the word for the pain of it simply not worthwhile. the emperor
syndrome is still there. who wants to be lin biao that is one above a billion
but below the one. top is always top till it becomes topless and that’s when
the eyes are happy. nothing in the bowels seems to be brewing anything
that is wanted, unlike the brains. is it because the process does not involve
long enough but what about constipation that is even less awardable?
(to be continued)