Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The Tang of Silence

Last week, the Academy of American Poets' Poem-A-Day posted Bruce Cohen's "Tang," which included the following note from the author:  
Lately I have been worried and depressed over the fact that my poetic voice was becoming stale, my persona and language too familiar, and quite simply, I was bored with myself.  In order to shake myself out of my funk I started reading some translations of the more obscure ancient Chinese poets to trigger or shock myself into some alien sensibility; paradoxically, I aspired to be un-American while remaining nostalgic...
Of course, Cohen's talk of China as an "alien" and "un-American" culture made him a perfect subject for my series of Chinese Silences. So here's my response to his poem.


Chinese Silence No. 77
after Bruce Cohen, "Tang"

If I do not witness these poets turning Chinese, who will?

I quiet myself:
I will not think

Of myself as an obscure Poet from the Alien East,
Ancient yellow monster
Astronauts found orbiting a silent planet
That became a quaint modern poetry staple,

The excluded alien's bitter tears on the voyage out,
Anything differing in nature or character to the point of incompatibility.

Isn't it a very poetic moment when each of us
Recognizes we are Chinese,
That we're shocking, un-American perhaps,
& need translation to make us valid,

Sidekicks on the cutting-room floor,
Cracked hands digging for buried ore,
Born in the aftermath of earthquake's wrack,

Or watching your poems grow
Nostalgic about us
That we discover it is
Impossible
To ever become
One hundred percent American?

I am bored with you right now, in this poem.

My mind's not as silent as it used to be either.
There is all this ching-chong chatter.

None of us can shake our Chinese lives.

I mean American: I meant fake:
Lately I have been worried and depressed over the fact that my poetic voice was becoming stale, my persona and language too familiar, and, quite simply, I was bored with myself. In order to shake myself out of my funk I started reading some translations of the more obscure ancient Chinese poets to trigger or shock myself into some alien sensibility: paradoxically, I aspired to be un-American while remaining nostalgic - See more at: https://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23614#sthash.L3BGalGi.dpuf
Lately I have been worried and depressed over the fact that my poetic voice was becoming stale, my persona and language too familiar, and, quite simply, I was bored with myself. In order to shake myself out of my funk I started reading some translations of the more obscure ancient Chinese poets to trigger or shock myself into some alien sensibility: paradoxically, I aspired to be un-American while remaining nostalgic - See more at: https://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23614#sthash.L3BGalGi.dpuf
Lately I have been worried and depressed over the fact that my poetic voice was becoming stale, my persona and language too familiar, and, quite simply, I was bored with myself. In order to shake myself out of my funk I started reading some translations of the more obscure ancient Chinese poets to trigger or shock myself into some alien sensibility: paradoxically, I aspired to be un-American while remaining nostalgic - See more at: https://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23614#sthash.L3BGalGi.d
Lately I have been worried and depressed over the fact that my poetic voice was becoming stale, my persona and language too familiar, and, quite simply, I was bored with myself. In order to shake myself out of my funk I started reading some translations of the more obscure ancient Chinese poets to trigger or shock myself into some alien sensibility: paradoxically, I aspired to be un-American while remaining nostalgic - See more at: https://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23614#sthash.L3BGalGi.dpuf
Lately I have been worried and depressed over the fact that my poetic voice was becoming stale, my persona and language too familiar, and, quite simply, I was bored with myself. In order to shake myself out of my funk I started reading some translations of the more obscure ancient Chinese poets to trigger or shock myself into some alien sensibility: paradoxically, I aspired to be un-American while remaining nostalgic - See more at: https://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/23614#sthash.L3BGalGi.dpuf

1 comment:

Chuck said...

Titivating.