Three Jailed For Kangaroo T

i) NominationWakingat last in today"s headlinesall the typeface & microphonesreplicate election"s complicated DNAand how these might be refinedinto the docilityof an ovine DollyGulping down a breakfastwhich now seems a little less abundantthe flocks xuất hiện textbooksis this for a class in political scienceoccurring every four to six years                                           orto revise for a exam in democracyone"s conscience is forbidden lớn skip this sessionwhether one"s intellect may take a vacationstill depends on one"s abilityto fill registration formsIn the distance the coin-shaped clouds darkenfrom the east, thunder drifts like drums of warthe scene before us no longer resembles any painting –where the wind blows between the blades of grassis where little lambsmust rule their homesii) Campaigning If the campaign period is alsothe festival where trees are plantedsoon the flocks of sheep can fill themselveson a vast harvest of fruitHurry, let a seedof compassion rarer than pearlsgerminatein the earth"s iron bonesits roots must grip the soilfed on the compostof genuine speechQuick, nourish itwith the sunlight of campaigns             the air of platforms –a golden papaya on the verge of fallingprovokes wondering criesfrom the sheep nearbyOutside the orcharda lone sandalon a tiny lorryannounces the searchfor its mateSuch similes –are they comic talesor works of literatureor perhaps, incapable of either,they lack the excitement ofthe political scienceof bookmakers" dialectsIt"s all very wellto listen                        and laughbut while idealists questionand realists stay mutehousehold tasksawait the little lambsiii) Election nightElection nightis a safe night –those with the luxuryof casting votesgenerate furtive scrawlsin their diariesbefore they sleepCrosses lượt thích mistakesare located near a concrete vow –a two-line nebulous promiseElection nightis a balmy night –the moon & starsassemble on the national flagIn the distance, from nearly-refurbishedgovernment housingthere is the soundof collective flushingin the turmoil of live broadcaststhe annunciation of the election results are emptyElection nightis a bustling night –an apolitical stadiuman opposition party"s industrious policemana repressed yawna six-year-long echo of a drawn-out screama sacred vote that resists cancellation                                                                        only in dreamsAround the televisionsthose who wave flags carry onthose who scream have long lost their voicesthose who resist continue their resistance                                                                        in the shadowsIn the end, onlydemocracy"s pledge insistson reciting in a different languagea serene lullabyamidst the passions of election nightiv) Altering constituenciesA tree is a promise –in this way the journey towards the orchard beginsAt one end of the roadthere is the gaze of the sheepwho queue along railingsat the other kết thúc of the road(containing the opponent"s camp and our own) –is it a dreamscaperedolent with the smell of fruitfour hundred pairs of eyesdo not see identical vistasBut whatever they are –                conservative                progressive                optimist                pessimistwhatever their gaze –                hostile                 controlling                 interrogative all little lambs love their homes

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translated from the Chinese by Teng Qian Xi

This excerpt is taken from the poem sequence, "Dispatches From Far Away 2003". Click here to lớn read an essay by the translator, about the translation.


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Tan Chee Lay was born in Singapore. He is now the Deputy Executive Director of Nanyang Technological University’s Singapore Centre for Chinese Language. He was educated in Singapore, Taiwan, and the UK. Tan’s Chinese publications include 《隔岸观我-- 陈志锐文集》 (Gazing At Myself from the Opposite Shore, critical works và essays, 2000), 《造剑地》 (Where Swords are Forged, poetry, 2002), 《黄色雨衣》 (The Yellow Raincoat, prose, 2006), 《陈志锐散文集》 (Essays by tan Chee Lay, 2009), 《剑桥诗集》 (Cambridge Poetics, 2010), and 《原始笔记》 (Original Poetics, 2012). Chảy has won various prizes in fiction, poetry, & literary criticism in Taiwan và Singapore. He was awarded the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council in 2004 & the Singapore Youth Award (Arts and Culture) in 2006 for his literary & pedagogical achievements.

Teng Qian Xi is a writer and translator based in Singapore. Her translations have appeared in Some Kind of Beautiful Signal: Two Lines World Writing in Translation Vol. 17 and Asymptote, among other publications. Her poetry has appeared in Over There: Poems from Singapore và Australia (Ethos Books), Language for a New Century (W. W. Norton), Mudlark, and Softblow. Her poetry collection, They hear salt crystallising (firstfruits publications), was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize in 2012. She majored in Comparative Literature & Society at Columbia University. She can be found at her blog and on Tumblr.