Archive > Vol. X no. Z
Where the Soul Goes Naked
Stripping for death not love, I lose myself in the Chinese crowd. We have no shame, There is nothing to prove, And none of us needs a name. Everything has been said before In this or another language. Steam surrounds us, we are ghosts Resurrected from self-image, Clothes on the bath-house floor. An earth-gnome, batlike ears And giant phallus, gives me the eye. Where are the women now, I cry, My Xiaoqin, my Wenming Dai? Where are all those years? We are setting out, a host of souls, The fiction of gender Behind us, the pathos of roles — Of time and distance, Xian, Chengdu, Of passports and controls, The pathos of history, Sichuan strikes, Of railwaymen in 1911, Stevedores in Shanghai, Of Mao Tse-Tung and Chou En Lai And dreams of an earthly heaven. Setting out, we are setting out Past Xinchan range And Lingquan temple, time and change, Forbidden City, Tianenmen, After the end, before the beginning Brings us round again. An accidental brush of lips Might save me now, or one winged seed I keep inside the leaves of a book For just this hour of total need And zero expectation — Something to cling to, conjure with, Something with which to grow Tomorrow, through another death, Another incarnation.