I have to make the decision to paint some landscapes.
Like going to work everyday, .
I have to pass those overstuffed strawberries and chickens, .
pass banned books, STDs, myths, .
the beggar husband and wife who sing “Going Back Home,” .
distorted history, criminals on the run like dust.
or tailpipe exhaust, pass those things that have been dug up.
and filled in again and again so that they can’t be leveled, .
Culture Street, Peace Street, immediate quotations, .
unreasonable anger. .
I want to paint expressions and gestures, .
not stopping even during my period, .
lest sirens disturb the curve and flow of my brush. .
No matter how the law and justice oppose each other, .
a beautiful woman is still a living miracle, .
she makes life fade the way dye does. .
My good comrade, .
if I could paint you from memory, .
I would always have something to do. .
I want to paint a few still lifes, .
sell them cheap so as to survive. .
I took from the wall a few metals of the older generation, .
the backs covered with bright rust stains, .
from the bottom of a chest, I rummage through a pile of red leather certificates, I unscrew the living room’s beacons, .
for the sake of emotion, I arrange them again and again, .
these still lifes of aristocratic decline. .
No light, no light, .
colors seem like conversations in sleep. .
At night, I squeeze black and white directly on the canvas. .
White, spread blood, .
black, an explosion, .
the gray tune in the middle like abstract government. .
Sometimes, I paint naked voices. .
When the news report sends out signals, .
on the double bed I still hear venders hawking their wares, .
and recognize “Amsterdam’s River” .
in a flash—“the ocean’s great ebb and flow.” .
Some say: painting debauches people. .
I’ll just keep on being debauched. .
If I still have the strength, still have the strength.
I will send one to you. The painting .
has no title and no signature, .
like yet another exile. .
trans. Eleanor Goodman and Wang Ao.
(Read Eleanor Goodman's interview with Yu Xiang here.)