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Manoa 15.1 (2003) 133-135



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Two Poems

Li Jinwen


Value

* On the face of the copper coin is Eve, on the back falls an apple

One copper coin jostles another, the sound pure
and distinct. With a wisp of morning fog I wipe away Adam's face
      and the snake pattern
And then begin to miss freedom.
Long, long ago...women were an egg-shaped fable
left behind in the mirror: on the face is Eve,Mary, or Snow White
reeling through the air, spiraling up to the summit of love where
she turns suddenly and falls for reality. The coin
steadies herself, wrenching apart gender until numbers bleed,
until hot tears bite into seventeen—and on the back is the other
      woman
deeply in love, pure and proud as a flame-cast butterfly.
You can bet with it: the front is night, the back daytime. Besides
      sincerity and courage,
the rest cannot be gambled. We are a beautiful and brave money,
      lavishing affection in a pocket
chinking our sorrow and joy, we are the dimples of two women,
      like dice
spinning in eternity...besides an inability to suppress a complete
      love, we
fear nothing. Even though the final gamble is loneliness.
We rise from the king's iron mold and complicated coinage with a
      clang
Ah, iron cells singing free and luminous [End Page 133]
*Those silver coins bought my black hair
Who put me under this harsh light? The silver of my entire body
      burns and clamors
A trembling magnifying glass carves out my mysterious flesh,
      deliberately
insinuating that I am a girl propagating desire in every nation
My voice is beautiful, like a group of girls like a string of silver bells
      in the wind
The topic is that limitless pocket change—in the family annals of
      history I am a comma
Not bad, being a comma; it indicates that after this pause in epic
      mythology the speech will continue:
A diary of love. We pin a silver butterfly medal
on a bare breast, and it brings us pain. We will become comrades
on the battleground of fire and ice, on our bodies like the night sky
sowing seeds and distant genes. I realized:
To travel far and betray the other's heart. Yet I firmly believe: two
      souls
squeezed together, repelled, consumed, are transformed into blood
      or mud and wrestled into a shape...
My fortune is having two worlds packed into a single wood-carved
      box, clanking
like the intimate clatter of coins sharing warmth. To purchase
black hair with silver, I'm willing! Death like blood-red spring
is the curtain falling: for added ambiguity, for prolonged missing

*Stability, dense as pure gold

The glorious progressive tense, a vowel calling forth
the free will of human beings. Long, long ago...
In some corner of Greek mythology or Thousand and One Nights
      I see a gold coin
rolling towards me in the past tense, its tracks digging deep into flesh
A kind of implication, high-reigning silence and brilliance
A gold coin ruminating in the Old Testament archives
Re-interpreting the significance of woman, melting itself with winter
      sunlight
Melting into one side of a mirror or a belief. In light of the depths of
      being
I will see those flowing minerals and claims to value that were lost
in the relay of the centuries [End Page 134]
Perhaps it's rusted, or oxidized, but my heart holds the highest
density, keeping me secure.
In a woman's form or the reflected light of flowers, I find
      intermittent shadows of a spirit
Refusing to wipe away worldly dust from the surface I forget
those feet that have traversed an ornate and sordid history
Already I've taken two faces of free love and built the first embryo.
      Long, long ago

I was gold, the colliding sound ringing like first light

The Reporter

You've written the entirety of youth as news but no one reads it
When you submit the draft and walk...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-943x
Print ISSN
1045-7909
Pages
pp. 133-135
Launched on MUSE
2003-05-19
Open Access
No
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