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Enemy volcanoes

Translation, half or complete
English, by comparison, seems reticent
Or in our logic, only half-cooked
For when we describe a damning situation
As hot fire and deep water they are content enough to admit
To deep waters; similarly, a sea change is only partly what a sea
And mulbery field change means if it really means

Anything. Hence a sea of people is what
A mountain and sea of people could be reduced to
Although someone in the 1940s did the reductionist trick
Of turning a remark by someone born in 551 BC into this
Like-English brevity: Not know death, how know life?
Most of the times when shadows are caught in one
Wind is lost in another which might have been otherwise arrested
And if one is equipped with a glib tongue
The other retaliates with that and something else: an oily mouth
While the historically short one understates
The tall one exaggerates, matching urgency
With wind wind fire fire

Volcanoes are real
They are enemies
They revel in being
Hated and in resenting

Some volcanoes are dead bigtime
Be careful: Don't go near them
The dead volcanoes are not dead, not just dead, not yet
They spit

Others are still alive, jealous of each
Other, happily unhappy, ready to kill
Always ready to burst, the quiet ones only
Quiet till the use-by date screwed in their hearts

The dead volcanoes never die
The live ones hardly live
Their beauty is their eruption
Its with its own death/life

Putting volcanoes in this anthology
I have a sense they are erupting again
Each taking their time
These poets, this me

One of the keywords that remains relevant
to this day, out of their seven
even though one was fictively described as oleaginous as if it were a bad thing
and another one ends up leaving the premises having enough of it
walls throughout the world are still covered daily if the collector is not
powerful enough to gather it all. this doesn't sound like poetry nor
is it meant to be but given his meals are well-oiled his words
often appear so, too. off lebanon, a beached shuttle crab in oil
is gazing at the world out of its beady eyes whose balls are
the only thing unspoiled by the world's need for well-oiled
meals. it is said that when hardened paintings done in oils
are as hard as steel. the writer once gave one a touch and found the truth
to be true. good oil is untranslatable, not even directly
nor is add oil. most of the times, though, translators are not necessary
people get by heroically, with oil. the sea is now one meter taller
because of the overturned
desire. still, no-one drinks it like tea, oh, yes, they do
if it comes to petrol. in solomon islands, they are considering the coconut
substitute. in ancient china, human oil was used to light the lamp
still a good oil as many continue to die into the 21st century
a check online can not disprove the human oil lamp nor prove it
which raises issue with the germination of a thought making one wonder
if it is a memory an imagination a hearsay or rhetorical device
and what has that got to do with the mind or the possessor of the mind
where such things are produced. if one wants to know whether he needs
to wash his hair he just has to wipe his palm on it and remove it to see
if it is dry or shiny, shiny meaning oily. in melbourne magistrates court
you can still see many instances of such shininess, deliberately produced
in your childhood, the best thing to shine your hair, not shoes, is your hand
holding an oil twister. after you eat it you clean the oil off it by staining
your hair with it so that your hair shines and your hand needs no

PoetOuyang Yu is an Australian poet, novelist, essayist, literary translator an essayist. In 2010, he has two English novels forthcoming, Loose: a Wild History (Wakefield Press) and The English Class (Transitlounge). Website

Topic tags: new australian poems, Ouyang Yu, Translation, Volcanoes, oil



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