They knocked my teeth out. I became a member.

Language: Chinese
Poet: Ma Lan
Translator: Charles A. Laughlin

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They knocked my teeth out. I became a member.

Two poems by Ma Lan translated from Chinese by Charles A. Laughlin

Ma Lan is from Chengdu, Sichuan and has published poetry and fiction in China, Taiwan, and internationally for almost 30 years. She moved out of China in 1993 and lived in New York and Connecticut until 2006, when she moved to Beijing. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry in Translation and the anthology Another Kind of Nation (2008, edited by Zhang Er and Chen Dong)and her story “Going Deaf” has appeared in German and Italian translation. Ma Lan now lives in Orange, Virginia.
Charles A. Laughlin is Weedon Chair Professor of East Asian Studies at the University of Virginia. He has published widely on modern Chinese literature and has also contributed translations to Running Wild: Contemporary Chinese Writers (Columbia, 1994), Poetry in Translation, Chinese Literature in the Second Half of a Modern Century (2000), Another Kind of Nation (2008), Push Open the Window: Contemporary Poetry from China (Copper Canyon Press, 2011) and Pathlight Magazine

为牙齿写首情诗

1:我要打掉我的大牙。打掉牙齿有八种方法。
轻轻打。重重打。先轻后重。先重后轻。

2:作为新鲜出炉的2003年歪脖镇桂花诗人,我的牙医是耶鲁大学医学博士。
他坚持要我深度清洗牙齿.
他站在喜马拉牙山教尼泊尔的孩子学刷牙。
刷出阳光,刷出微笑。 现代工业社会讲究微笑。
雪山随流而下。

3:我参加了牙齿俱乐部。会费三百歪脖人民币。
我的介绍人姓名保密,只有二位.一位证人。
他们把我从床上拉出去,打了我一顿。我领到了申请书。再打。
把我牙齿打掉了。我入会了。

4:刷牙的目的。正确刷牙的方法。

饭后刷牙。使用电动牙刷, 。刷牙不宜用力过猛.。
美容牙齿有脱色、贴面、烤瓷三大类。

如果你刷牙的目的不纯洁,那你牙齿不会洁白。
如果你没有正确的刷牙方法,你的牙齿不会态度端正。

5:人的一生共有二副牙齿,还要进行乳、恒牙的交替过程。

人们应该熟知而深刻体会牙齿的先进精神,每颗恒牙的萌出有一定的时间和顺序,并且左右侧同名牙是成对 萌出的。其中,第一颗恒磨牙大约在六岁左右萌出,所称“六龄牙”。

6:我的右边牙齿突然掉了。

没有说明.我找不到说明书。

7:我咬牙切齿。牙齿咬人,咬狗。

难怪牙要落地.天地为之变色。

8:被调查的65名26~39岁的舌癌患者中,有56名患者皆有牙齿向舌侧倾斜.

这可能暗示了国际政治冲突的缘由。暗合了我们左右为难。左右逢源。

9:打掉的牙齿往肚里吞。牙齿就从胃里长出来。

How We Kill a Glove (Draft Proposal)

1. I want to knock out my molars. There are eight ways to knock them out.
Knock them out lightly. Knock them out hard. First lightly then hard. First hard then lightly.
 
2. As I am the freshly minted 2003 Poet Laureate of Bent-Neck Village, my dentist is a Yale PhD.
He insisted that I do a deep cleaning.
He stands on the Himalayas teaching Nepalese children to brush their teeth.
Brushing in the sunshine and smiles—modern industrial society takes smiling seriously
The snowy mountains flow downward.
 
3. I joined a tooth club, the dues were 300 Bent-Neck dollars.
My sponsors’ names are secret, there are only two. One witness.
They pulled me off my bed and beat me up. I picked up my application. They beat me again.
They knocked my teeth out. I became a member.
 
4. The purpose of a toothbrush. The correct method of brushing your teeth.
Brush after eating. Use an electric toothbrush. Don’t use too much force as you brush.
Cosmetic dentistry has three categories: stain removal, capping, and enameling.
 
If your goal in brushing your teeth is not pure, your teeth will not get white.
If you do not have the correct toothbrush method, your teeth will not have a proper attitude.
 
5.  According to legend, there are two sets of teeth in our lives; we must make a transition from baby teeth to permanent teeth, or we become inhuman
We must familiarize ourselves with and deeply understand the progressive spirit of teeth
The emergence of each permanent tooth adheres to the time and order of its elders—in the moonlight each tooth and its comrade emerge on the left and right
The first permanent molars emerge at about age six, and so are named “six year molars”
 
6.  One of my right teeth suddenly fell out.
No explanation, and I could not find the instructions.
 
7.  I clenched my teeth. Teeth bite people, bite dogs.
No wonder the tooth wanted to fall out. Heaven and earth changed color because of it.
 
8.  “Of 65 tongue cancer victims surveyed between ages 26 and 39, 56 have teeth tilted toward their tongues.”
This could be a sign of the cause of international political conflicts: implicit agreement disturbed from left and right; advantage gained from both sides.
 
9.  The knocked-out tooth is swallowed down. Then it grows out of the stomach.

我们如何杀死一支手套(草案)

第一张图

◇技术:普通素写纸。素描。实际尺寸:21.3×12.5厘米◇

每年的冬天我们在镇长的厨房商量如何在春天杀死一只手套。
年年如此。我们都感到厌烦了,但欲罢不能。
我们讨论如何杀死一只手套。
镇长在桌子中心,我们十二个人分别排在周围,窃窃私语。
杀死一支手套可不是件容易的事。

第二张图

◇技术:宣纸。漆画。实际尺寸:14.7×22.4厘米◇

我们最低理想是手套从此在我们歪脖镇自动消失。
手套从空中飞走,越飞越高,飞到我们视力达不到的地方,飞到风也达不到的地方。

最高理想是把手套放在十字架上吊死。
手套说他要喝水。
我们给他水喝。
那水是毒药。
手套的手就低落了,他的面部就糊里糊涂。

我们拍手相庆,夜夜平安,无所恐惧了。
我们有欢笑,有鸟,有湖泊,有男欢女爱。
我们的沙漠变绿洲。男人温柔,女人坚强。痛苦变喜乐。否定成为肯定。诗歌成为早餐。小说成为中餐。戏剧成为晚餐。

第三张图

◇技术:以反腐败纸张制造。油画。实际尺寸:22.8×33.7厘米◇

手套,从天而降,天兵就要天降。
苹果树下的小孩子说,这一天早晚会来。
手套如爆雨打在人们的脸上。手套是墙包围着人们,人们是套中人。

手套伸手在空中一挥,这个动作太奇妙了。
市政中心操场出现一辆拖拉机。
大家不相信是真拖拉机,以为是童年时期的玩具包括老年人。当拖拉机冒出火焰咕噜咕咚冲进人群,人们还以为这是电子游戏。
年轻人脱下衣服当作旗帜。
拖拉机很激动。拖拉机头上挂着手套。
这是一个漫镜头。这个镜头把我们歪脖镇的历史推回旧玫瑰时期。
一个人或者手套改变历史。一个人或者手套改变我们。每一个人或者手套都是旁观者。
手套接管了我们歪脖镇。

那些是要回家过年的年轻人。
我要活。女子在石头面前宣誓。
我们镇历经了英雄辈出的前历史时期。那时歪脖镇还没有文字。祖辈们依赖口传心授,英雄们的事迹万古流芳。
我们歪脖镇民崇拜烈士,需要她当烈士,成为刘胡兰第一百零七号,成为圣女贞德第八号。

人死了都是神。
我要活。她还在尖叫。
活着是播种机。

关于那天晚上的传说很多。
最后剩下几只麻雀。

时间不紧不慢,保持着恒定的速度,在黑暗中,你死我活。我活你死。

第四张图

◇技术:绍兴宣纸。国画。实际尺寸:555.5×555.5厘米◇

手套是一群魔术家。
魔术家把自己全身缠了钢丝,四肢倒悬扔进大海。三分钟后,他像太阳从海上升起。
钢丝成了丝绸。

在一个南方的火车站,镇长和手套争论:魔术的存在。
镇长说魔术就是魔术。不可能是真的。
手套说,他能证明魔术是真的。
镇长说,魔术而已。

魔术家说,三分钟后,一个诗人将冲向铁轨,他死于自杀。
三分钟后,一列火车开进站台,一个人迎头而去。
他确是一位诗人。他说他的死与任何人无关。
镇长惊呆了,他指着魔术家说,你杀了他。你变了魔术。你是杀人的魔术恶魔。
魔术家说,你相信上帝吗?你不相信我还可以证明。

我们镇被流言笼罩:手套杀人的技术又提高了,比拖拉机历害。
流言导致了逃荒。很多镇民离开了。

我们镇又进入手套崇拜期。大海都崇拜手套。百分之五十以上的人,渐渐为手套找依据和理由。
诗人是调情之马。不杀不足以平情伤。
被误伤的民众尸解结果证明都是些长第三只手的闲人。他们不除,我们全部死无藏身之地。
你们看正脖子的人不戴手套,他们冬天冷呵。其他镇民看见他们不戴手套都不出口暖气给他们。
我们现在有手套。手套指引我们前进,我们不迷失方向。只有等我们歪脖镇的气候温暖了,没有冬天了,我们才能考虑取消手套。
请大家不轻信正脖子的流言,他们自己都过不好日子。你们知道,他们今年的选美就出了大问题。
支持双眼皮为美女者占一半。支持单眼皮美女者占一半。
但正脖镇的皇后只能有一个。
你们看,这就是他们不戴手套的结果。

如果他们戴了手套,手套就决定了,手套安慰一切。

第五张图

◇技术:进口原材料。水彩画。实际尺寸:23.7×15.9厘米◇

手套使我们言语不清,制造了我们语汇的混乱。手套暗示我们罪有应得,必须给我们的语言增加歧义。
我们手上带着各自的手套。手套不证伪。手套无所谓性别。无所谓年龄。无所谓长相。无所谓一年四季。

第六张图

◇技术:牛皮纸。水粉画。实际尺寸:23.7×15.9厘米◇

手套在等我们在绝望中开放。
我们抱着因绝望无所顾忌的身体卷入逃离手套的集体活动。
在逃离梦想的努力中,我们不堪重负。

“中国,我的钥匙丢了。”
中国,我的手套丢了。
我没有想到手套是凶手。
我没有想到冬天山里有狼,阿毛。

第七张图

◇技术:普通打印纸。钢笔画。实际尺寸:10.4×16.8厘米◇

你杀死手套了吗?手套是凶手。我们只有作凶手去消灭凶手。
孤独者拥抱孤独者,疯子理解疯子。
我们生活在二维空间,没有多少时间了,我们准备继续营救被手套杀死的同胞。现在还会发生什么事情呢?
我们依据手套发出的气味,手套的气味在全镇的角落。我们把手套脱下,全部存放在镇长家。我们赤手空拳寻找生还者。我们是幸存者。
手套向他的同夥发出了新的命令,我们镇的色彩变回白色,白色几乎让我们失明。

第八张图

◇技术:照相纸。黑白照片。实际尺寸:23.4×42.8厘米◇

芭蕉和香蕉有什么区别。你在耳边追问。
手套和棉被有什么区别。你在嘴边追问。

这幅画描绘了文字的狂想-消费主义。

手套休息了,手套在杯子上睡着了。睡着的手套不再管其他动物的出现。比如说恐龙。恐龙当年被大规模出现的手套消灭了。

手套是在装死。类型于我们自杀未遂,为了唤醒亲人的注意,诱惑人心。

还会发生什么事情?

我们更加不安,最后毁灭性的灾难必将来临。
手套联结手套。左手抚摸右手,右手推选左手。左手和右手为一体。

我们把手伸进手套。液体粘紧我们的手。
液体是火山。我父亲常在厨房制造火山。

我们应该提高技术复制恐龙蛋。灯还没有被火焰破灭,这是我们的幸运之处但已经弯曲了。
手套无处不在。谁也没见过手套。在逃离梦想的努力中,我们不堪重负。

第九张图

◇技术:普通速写纸。素描。实际尺寸:23.4 x 42.8厘米◇

爱神丘比特是天使。天使是大昆虫。天使解放了翅膀。
大昆虫低头吃草。她不关心手套的存在。
死去的人升天堂了。我们是要进天堂的。他们比我们早到。

我们和镇长重新看了电影”2001″。在2001年。
我们其实是电影演员,穿上戏服,说着方言。
说实在的,我们没能杀死任何一只手套。

未来早就来到了我们歪脖镇。

你心疼吗?我的宝贝,是的,我的宝贝。你为什么不说话,我们在冬天杀死了一只手套。

How We Kill a Glove (Draft Proposal)

Figure 1

✜Sketch on Plain Paper. Actual size 21.3 x 12.5cm✜

Every winter there is a discussion in our village chief’s kitchen about how to kill a glove in spring.
Year in and year out. We are all getting sick of it, but much as we would like to stop, we cannot.
We discuss how to kill a glove.
The village chief is seated at the center, and the twelve of us whisper to each other.
Killing a glove is not an easy matter.

Figure 2

✜Lacquer on Rice Paper. Actual size 14.7 x 22.4cm✜

Our minimum ideal is that the gloves voluntarily disappear from our Bent-Neck Village.
The glove may fly into the air, higher and higher, until it flies to a place our vision cannot reach, to a place the wind cannot reach.

Our highest ideal is to hang the glove on a cross until it dies
The glove will say it is thirsty.
We give it water to drink.
The water is poison.
The hand of the glove hangs down; its face is confused.

We clap with glee, our nights will be peaceful, with nothing more to fear.
We have laughter, we have birds, we have lakes, we have boys and girls in love.
Our desert becomes an oasis. Men are tender, women strong. Pain transforms into joy. Negation becomes affirmation. Poetry becomes breakfast. Fiction becomes lunch. Drama becomes dinner.

Figure 3

✜Oil on anti-corruption paper. Actual size 22.8 x 33.7cm✜

The glove descends from the skies; the heavenly army descends from heaven.
The child under the apple tree says, “This day was bound to come sooner or later.”
The gloves strike our faces like driving rain; walls of glove surround us, we are engloved.

The glove waves its hand out in the air; this gesture is inscrutable.
A tractor appears at the square in front of City Hall.
No one believes it is a real tractor, including the old men, they all think it’s a childhood toy. When the tractor spat smoke and fire and rumbled into the crowd, people thought it was a video game.
Young people took off their clothes to make flags.
The tractor is excited; a glove dangles from the tractor’s roof.
This is a slow motion shot; this shot pushed the history of our Bent Neck Village back to the paleorosaic age.
A man–or a glove–can change history. A man or a glove can change us. Every man or glove is a bystander.
Gloves have taken over our Bent Neck Village.

Those are youths who want to go home and celebrate the new year.
I want to live. A girl pledges before a rock.
Our village has been through a prehistoric, heroic period. In those days Bent Neck Village had no writing. Our ancestors relied on oral transmission and teaching from memory. The exploits of the heroes live on in glory.
The people of our village revere martyrs, they need her to be a martyr, to become the 107th Liu Hulan, to become the eighth Saint Joan of Arc.

People become spirits when they die.
I want to live. She is still screaming.
Living is a seeding machine.

There are many legends about what happened that night.
In the end all that were left were a few sparrows.

The time was not rushed or slow, maintaining a steady pace, in the dark, it’s every man for himself.

Figure 4

✜Traditional landscape painting on Shaoxing rice paper. Actual size 555.5 x 555.55cm✜
The gloves are a bunch of magicians
The magicians wrap themselves up in wire, hanging upside down by their limbs, they are tossed into the sea. After three minutes, they rise from the sea like the sun.
The wire becomes silk.

In a southern railroad station, the village chief and a glove debate the existence of magic.
The chief says magic is just magic; it can’t possibly be real.
The glove says he can prove that magic is real.
The chief says, it’s only magic.

The magician says, in three minutes, a poet will rush to the railroad tracks and take his own life.
Three minutes later, a train came up to the station, and a man came up to meet it head on.
He was indeed a poet; he said his death has nothing to do with anyone.
The village chief is stunned, he points to the magician and says, you killed him! You used magic! You are a murderous magical devil!
The magician says, do you believe in God? If you don’t, I can prove he exists.

Our village was shrouded in rumor: the gloves’ killing techniques were improved, better than the tractor.
Rumors created refugees; a lot of villagers left.

Our village reentered a period of glove worship; even the seas worshipped the glove. Over fifty percent of people gradually came up with justifications and rationales for the gloves.
Poets are flirtatious horses. Only killing will palliate wounded feelings.
Autopsies of the wrongfully killed prove that they were all troublemakers who had grown a third hand. If they were not eliminated, there would be no place for us to hide.
You can see that people with straight necks don’t wear gloves; they are cold in the winter. When the other villagers see them not wearing gloves they don’t even give them breath for warmth.
We have gloves now. The glove fingers draw us in the direction of progress, and we do not get lost. Only when the climate in Bent Neck Village becomes warmer, and there is no winter, will we do away with the gloves.
We exhort you not to heed the rumors of the straight-necked; they don’t lead such great lives themselves. As you know they had problems during this year’s beauty contest.
Half favored beauties with double eyelids, and the other half favored beauties with single eyelids.
But there can only be one queen of Straight-Neck Village.
You see? This is the result of them not wearing gloves.

If they put on gloves, the gloves would decide; gloves reassure all.

Figure 5

✜Watercolor of imported raw materials. Actual size 23.7 x 15.9cm✜

Gloves make our language unclear, creating chaos in our vocabulary. Gloves hint that we get what’s coming to us, and we must increase the ambiguity of our language.
We each wear our own gloves. Gloves don’t falsify, and they are gender blind, age blind, indifferent to physical appearance and the seasons of the year.

Figure 6

✜Gouache on brown paper. Actual size 23.7 x 15.9cm✜

The gloves are waiting for us to open up from desperation.
With bodies uninhibited due to desperation, we throw ourselves into the collective campaign of fleeing from the gloves.
In the effort to escape from our dreams, we bend under the burden.

“China, I lost my keys.”
China, I lost my gloves.
I never imagined gloves could be murderers.
I never imagined there were wolves in the mountain in winter, Ah Mao.

Figure 7

✜Ink drawing on standard photocopier paper. Actual size 10.4 x 16.8cm✜

Have you killed any gloves? Gloves are murderers. We must become murderers to eliminate them.
The lonely embrace the lonely, madmen understand madmen.
We are living in two dimensions, and there isn’t much time. We’re preparing to save our compatriots who are being killed by gloves. What will happen now?
We use the smell of the gloves, the smell is in every corner of the village. We take off the gloves, and store them in the village chief’s house. With bare hands, we look for survivors. We are all survivors.
The gloves sent new orders to their allies, the color of our village must return to white, white enough to cause blindness.

Figure 8

✜Black and white photograph. Actual size 23.4 x 42.8cm✜

What is the difference between plantains and bananas? You question my ear.
What is the difference between gloves and quilts? You question my lips.

This picture portrays a textual fantasy: consumerism.

The gloves rest, the gloves lay asleep on a cup. The sleeping gloves are no longer concerned about the emergence of other creatures. Such as dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were annihilated by the massive rise of gloves.
The gloves are playing dead. Similar to when we attempt suicide to get the attention of loved ones, seducing their hearts.

What will happen now?

We are even more uneasy; the final catastrophe is coming.
The gloves join gloves, left hand caresses the right, right hand elects the left, the left and right are one.

We put our hands in the gloves. A liquid sticks tightly to our hand.
The liquid is a volcano. My father often makes volcanoes in the kitchen.

We should enhance our technology to clone dinosaur eggs. The lights have not yet been ruined by flames, this is a matter of luck for us, but it’s already been twisted.
The gloves are everywhere. No one has ever seen a glove. In the effort to escape from our dreams, we bend under the burden.

Figure 9

✜Drawing on standard sketch paper. Actual size 23.4 x 42.8cm✜

Cupid, the god of love, is an angel. Angels are big insects. Angels liberate their wings.
The big insect lowers its head to chew grass. She is indifferent to the glove’s presence.
The dead have ascended to heaven. We are going to heaven. They got there first.

We watched the movie “2001” again with the village chief. In the year 2001.
In fact, we are movie actors, wearing costumes, speaking dialects.
To tell the truth, we did not kill any gloves at all.

The future came to Bent Neck Village long ago.

Are you sad? My darling, yes, my dear. Why don’t you say anything? This winter we killed a single glove.