relationships

Poem Without a Title 21

no-21

I once visited a city in a strange land called America. The people there were stoic and violent. They also were so alone, as though they had never had a father or a mother, and were always flying in the cold air without roots to tether them to the earth. The path of solitude, their president had declared, is the only one worth valuing. It was winter in Boston. As was my wont, I spent the evening looking for sordid pleasures, or love for sale. The alley was narrow, surrounded by brick walls far larger and higher than anything in Chang’An. In the darkness I saw the figure of a woman. Her body was lithe, and the shadows slashed her face. With a little hesitation I passed her and then, a few yards away, turned back. She was waiting for me by some large refuse bins.

“Hi handsome!”

“Hello, “ I stuttered

“You sound strange. What can I call you?”

She stepped into the light of the street lamp. I lurched back. Her face was old and withered, the ravages of time and a hard life etched through her mascara. She had the body of a young women, but her face… I wanted to leave, but was too polite to do so.

“Li, you can just call me Li.” I stuttered again.

“OK handsome, twenty dollars, but you must use a condom.”

I said OK. However, the scent of her cheap perfume was so strong I wanted to throw up, and I couldn’t get it up. She rubbed against me.

“Don’t worry, handsome,” she said, “It will be great!”

Shaking my head, I shoved twenty dollars into her hand. She looked up at me and for the briefest instant her ravaged eyes opened wide. Then, just as quickly, the false smile re-appeared, the light went out of her eyes, and she slipped back towards the darkness like a puff of white smoke. I just wanted to be polite, I comforted myself thinking, That’s what any gentleman would do. Looking back, she tossed her head and with a slight, demonic smile said in a strong voice, “I’ve never done it with a chinaman before!”

寿阳公主嫁时妆,shòu yáng gōng zhǔ jià shí zhuāng
八字宫眉捧额黄。bā zì gōng méi pěng é huáng
见我佯羞频照影,jiàn wǒ yáng xiū pín zhào yǐng
不知身属冶游郎。bù zhī shēn shǔ yě yóu láng

Princess Shou Yang’s marriage makeup is bold,
Noble slanted eyebrows touch a forehead sparkling with gold,
Seeing me,she pretends to blush, as usual just for show!
Regarding this whoring rascal, how little does she know!

***

About the Calligraphy
Figure 8 Princess Shou Yang’s marriage makeup is bold  (2 rows, 14 characters, Cursive Cao Script) M.O. Ndesandjo

 

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