Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein




Mornings on Houston Street

cars speed through,

leaving a gray wind of gasoline and

dust in their wake,

blowing on the faces of passersby

as they eagerly look left and right.


The gray exterior of the buildings has become mottled,

black stains on red walls look like age spots,

scaffolding erected at the entrances,

buildings are waiting for surgery.


Young deities take turns watching over this busy street.


First is a young man, jacket with jeans,

half his face in light, angular,

half his face in darkness, mysterious.

His head is tilted back in comfort,

eyes squinted,

casually rolled up sleeves,


his bony hand unproportionally big with a casual gesture,

giving a hook, it looks like an insincere invitation,

everything must be effortless for him.


Then, there’s a thin woman,

half-naked in a S-shaped posture,

her feet struggling to keep balance,

she’s either too innocent or too drunk with such dazed eyes.


Now, it’s the skinny Asian girl,

straight hair shimmering pink and gold,

prominent rib cage under her sports shirt.


Putting her hands behind her head, she fearlessly showed off her body, her

eyes half-opened, like bathing in the sunshine.

She’s a moment of relief, a long sigh or a sweet moan.


People look up at the deities in the mega billboard.

Some seem to looking at a painting from another dynasty.

Some in sports shorts stop at a red light,

staring at them boldly.

The young immigrant, overwhelmed by bills, sits on the bus with a cold face. He

only glances at the portraits,

detached temporarily.




When I was a little girl,

I liked to gaze at my grandfather’s backyard

Through his bedroom window.


Scattered red petals fell on the mud,

Three bamboo trees that made our house

an elegant tea house from ancient tales.


Several quilts were hanging on the rail. Walking in

I would vanish from the world for a while.


In the dusk. Sky was bronze.

The backyard traveled back to the Song dynasty.

Our home became a farmhouse.


We led a life like a farming family

From an ancient landscape painting.


I welcomed my mother, who came home late from work,

Like welcoming a farmer who just reaped from the field.

My grandfather kept busy boiling, frying, and aging.


The sound of the neighbor’s TV commercial was just

the noise of chickens and dogs of another farmhouse .


When I was a little girl,

Our home was full of everything.

I wouldn’t dare to enter dark rooms at night,

doubting that elves and ghosts would stay there in our absence.

Only to ask my grandfather to accompany me.


Now the house is a still life painting.

Table, bed, chairs, closet

I won’t go to the backyard anymore.

Shady trees, silent room, dusty balcony,

dark window of empty rooms,

like a blank screen without any characters or any scene.

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