Happiness Is Very Hard (Is It); Dark Eye Circles; & God Knows Our Secrets, translated from the Taiwanese Mandarin by Nicholas Wong

Happiness Is Very Hard (Is It)

If pain secretly visits and sleeps over
In a zigzagging night 
The body, like a habit-driven curve,
Will become bitter and stiff at the right time
Or it will try to lie flat like a map

Everyone can move on, eyes closed (not saying a word)
Solitude looks for the commanding height of the third castle in a forest
Morality and its reverse refuse to be folded
Happiness is very hard (is it)
The teeth are as stubborn as the weather

A plane hastily crushes the clouds
Feelings gently peel off and become pictograms in private
The spine is an unrehearsed sentence pattern
The ear secretly delivers someone’s echo
And a round of conclusive applause

One, or two kinds of worries have yet been shouted out (say it again)
One, or two kinds of worries have yet been shouted out (say it again)

 

 

快樂很硬(真的嗎)

如果疼痛偷偷來投宿
在曲折成徑夜晚
身體像一條習慣性的曲線
適時憂傷崩緊
或者,嘗試躺平像地圖

誰都可以閉眼前進(不說話)
孤獨尋找森林第三座城堡制高點
道徳和其相反拒絕被接碟
快樂很硬(真的嗎)
牙齒表達跟天氣一樣鐵

飛機莽撞過雲
感觸輕輕剥落還暗中象形
脊骨是未經排練的句型
耳朵秘密傳遞誰的呼應
與一次決定性的掌聲

一、兩種憂慮未被喊出(再說一次)
一、兩種憂慮未被喊出(再說一次)

 

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Translator’s note: A literary editor, a prose writer, and a poet, Sun Tzu-ping (b. 1976) is an important voice in contemporary Taiwanese gay writing. His publications include the essay collection Knowing Shadows (2015), the poetry volume Sentimentalist (2018), and the novel Male Bodies (1998). He currently serves as an editor at the Liberty Times in Taiwan. Sun’s poems often depart from his perception of the mundane in an urban setting and lyrically lure readers with a sense of abandonment and loneliness. The narrative, if present, is absurd and should not be rationalized. His lines address and confront the pleasure and cost of queer desire, before Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage in May 2019. The following poems come from《善遞饅頭》 (Sentimentalist), originally published in Taiwan in 2012. 

 

Sun Tzu-ping, a literary editor, prose writer, and poet, is the author of the poetry volume Sentimentalist (2018), the essay collection Knowing Shadows (2015), and the novel Male Bodies (1998), all published in Taiwan, where Sun serves as an editor at the Liberty Times.