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  • Association of Absolute Aesthetics, and: The Books of the Original Role, and: Primer for my Brother Ants, and: Mushroom Series
  • Zang Di (bio)
    Translated by Ming Di (bio), Neil Aitken (bio), Tony Barnstone (bio), and Denise Wong Velasco (bio)

association of absolute aesthetics

I squat down, waiting to hearan earthworm, thin as a shoelace, speak.

By my side is a field of knee-high canola.I lay down my bike. There seems to be no way to get lost out here.

Everybody, once grown up, claimsthey have not seen a talking worm.

The world is small enough, but stillyou can't find what you really want.

Mr. Earthworm, do you know what you desiremost? The string of your body

looks very short, like an invitationfor us to use you as bait.

And your slender figure, very suitable for a tango underground.This is also why I respect you.

I have more patience for you thanI have for my own life.

I don't care about your gender. If I ask you to be my muse,do you care that this poem is so clean, without any mud? [End Page 161]

the books of the original role

Years ago my body missed me.This shouldn't have happened, but in factdid, many times. My body is my miracle,which sounds presumptuous, but what I was thinkingwas how miracles constrain my freedom, and evenconstitute another form of corruption. My body hanging there,like a ripe apple that could fall at any time.You know, if it strikes you on your head by chancethe world will probably crack open, awakening.I lay on my side on the grass, surrounded by the thoughtsof summer insects. I like things with a rhythm.On the grass, the insects thought rhythmically without tuning.Following that rhythm, it seemed as if I'd seizedfate by its Achilles' heel.I'd brought a half-bottle of wine, the beef jerky I was chewingfull of the yak's life. I was grinding down my own bodywhich would not miss me anymore. My bodywas once the three yaks who had just emerged from the valley.There, the snow streams on the Aba were like clear stringsthat had melted the memory of hard granite stones.My body missed me, meaning that from the beginningmy body was a composition of bodiesfrom a man and the one who returns from death.They've brought me joys that contradicted each other like the truth.However, what is blind is never the body itself.You know, I could have explained this much better. [End Page 162]

primer for my brother ants

Whenever I wore black clothesin the most ecstatically colorful placesyour little silhouettes were everywhere.The sigh of black silk is always lurking inthe secret stitching, and neveris there a lack of delicate black veilsdedicated to bone-hard work. In dream country,black muscles bar the brawnystar-vault of love. Even my demanding heartdid not imagine my final escape would beso primitive. I don't know if I shouldapologize a bit because for so longI have had these strange feelingsfor you. I want to step over the chasmbetween us. Suddenly, strangely,and for no reason I publicly declareyou my brother. Around me, the spring winddecimates; now, there are few idealspecimens left to observe.There is something in youblacker than a specter. There is not one dayin the year when you aren't rehearsingthe essence of being. Your tenaciousnessis so black, it makes frightening shadesfeel a nameless sadness. Some petalshave started to fall, but the landscape in Aprilstill reminds me of immense breasts.You are blind, but it is your blindnessthat draws you to your purpose.When you move, you are like strokes of calligraphywriting the encyclopedia of heaven under my feet. [End Page 163]

mushroom series

Pessimists rarely fall in love with mushrooms,or like you, stay truthful to the physical sensations.Common sense tells you that unless you betray the Nihilismyou wouldn...


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pp. 161-164
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