MATT TURNER

I’m the author of Wave 9: Collages (Flying Islands, 2020) and Not Moving (Broken Sleep Books, 2019). I am the translator of Weeds, by Lu Xun (Seaweed Salad Editions, 2019), and co-translator (with Weng Haiying) of books by Yan Jun, Hu Jiujiu, Ou Ning, Mi Jialu and others. In addition, essays and reviews can be found in Hyperallergic Weekend, LARB China Channel, Cha, Bookforum, Hong Kong Review of Books, Asian Review of Books and other journals.

At present I live in New York City, where I work as a freelance translator and copyeditor. Prior to that I spent nearly a decade in Beijing, where I taught literature at several universities, where I met my wife, and where I found my dog in front of a McDonald’s.

Here is the poem “Parable,” from Wave 9: Collages.

Parable

the mountains open

with a very wide mouth

back then, thinking

through clarity and

saw it was

made of dried

wax

a still face

––––––––––––

arms and

legs wet

*

fruit

wet on the pavement

and from a similar height

*

basket

treacle

false answers

*

you’ve misheard

how

is?

*

as for

being alive, it’s a

wet sleep of

questions asked to

my hand, grabbing at

a rescue

––––––––––––

out

the door, I

fly up,

like a snake

*

a baby doesn’t come out in

broad daylight

*

would out

day and night

–––––––––––––

fire

and beat me

I intend to kill you

but saying it

what else

*

the bride

said:

a mistake has

become to

go, and to come back

no one had 

an idea what that was

*

medicine hates passion

*

cry all night until,

having eaten enough fruit, the

illness is cured at last

a slave

builds up the

eye

we all laughed and

went our way

exactly as foretold

in the Book of Unhappy

Skills

And, from the same manuscript, this is the poem “How Can You Face Them.”

How Can You Face Them

each revolution of the

soul

*

imagine that

everyone you hate has

come, you’re related to

them

but nothing happens

how can you face them

as a

being

on your own

case

would you

turn around

–––––––––––––– 

the subject here

is a person

maybe not one person really, but

it’s common sense

you’re seeing this, thinking

about it, using the facilities

then 

break off

*

get a phone, no not

a phone, a phone call, say

here’s something new

your agent calls you, must be that

*

et cetera

*

over the phone you

say it’s already done

you’re not there in

your not-there

like

–––––––––––––– 

some debt has been

evaded, an open road

the leaves

roll across the still wind

what normal state

up there, to

find abandonment a mere life

*

oh consolidator!

*

I did baby things

out, deleted

the new life, old

debt on the loan

*

oh consolidator!

*

tenor goes up, up

into my first

life

rattling off some trivia about

my family. Place

and station, et cetera

no annihilation

no eternity

came in sleep and stayed

––––––––––––– 

therapy today

*

we’ve got to

connect with each other or

we’re just two topics

*

“I,” “mine”

should appear to my dreams

as predicates

but Being is not one

a predicate, I mean

at least it’s two of them

*

a perfect

account of what I

never accomplished

*

a new note

who hears it

sound

in the inner ear

interring itself

*

these appear to

be like pairs: no, yes

if, not always

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