? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 1


Huang Xiang

Dirge for a Young Country

— A Lament for the Terrorist Attack on New York 's Twin Towers

In a dream
New York 's two great pointers are severed
The pain pierces me to the bone
Ships traveling the centuries about to sink
And I seem to face a horrible death by drowning
The twin skyscrapers
Are two masts
Abjectly teetering, hopeless
Are two antennae, newly broken,
That desperately call
To heaven for help
Under the clear sky Upon the Earth
Oh God, Oh God, Why, Why
Are You so completely silent
In the twin towers' savage destruction
My body within their massive forms
Collapses at the same time
They were “murdered”
And I am strangling
They suffer an attack
And blood flows like water from my gaping wounds
Their bones and sinews of steel bend and break
My whole skeleton.
What the towers have lost of themselves
I am now the less
They are leveled flat
And I am crushed to dust
I tell you loudly
I am the skyscrapers,
Proud pinnacles of earthly construction
New York 's landmark is the same as Beijing 's
Landmark, Tokyo 's, Paris 's, London 's
The symbol of American civilization
Any American's misfortune disappearance
Or death
Is the misfortune disappearance and death of
All the people of the world
Everyone's life is equally precious
Equally precious is everyone's life
On the Earth Beneath the clear sky
Oh God I find
Posted along New York 's streets pictures of
More than 5,000 missing people
Every one of them is a missing relative I'm searching for
Every picture that stares at me is
Me myself.
I am the father of a child who
Lost a father,
The husband of a wife
Who lost her husband,
A mother who lost the child of a mother
Twin wings of smoke and flame
Envelope me
Incinerate me
It is the smoke of fires burning
Every continent
Every building
Every room
Every person on our planet
The two towering lute strings
That resounded across the skies
Have snapped within my body
And so within the bodies of all of you there is only
A living world has crashed down
Into the stillness of the oozing blood
As though the great King of Terror descended from the sky
The centuries-old prophesy of Nostradamus
Has been fulfilled
Remember this day Remember this day
In a memorandum on the history of mankind
Record this date
Remember this day Remember this day
The darkest moment of cosmic time

—— September 11, 2001——
Oh God, Oh God I have faith in you, I call you to appear
Be with me Be with these silent votive candles
All things on Earth that once have died must forge their way
back through the bloody muck
Under the clear sky Upon the Earth
To go on living Forever and forever

SEPTEMBER 20, 2001

In New Jersey sunroom
Translated by Andrew G. Emerson