June 2nd, 1989

    — for Xiaobo

This isn’t good weather
I said to myself
standing under the lush sun.

Standing behind you
I patted your head
and your hair pricked my palm
making it strange to me.

I didn’t have a chance
to say a word before you became
a character in the news,
everyone looking up to you
as I was worn down
at the edge of the crowd

just smoking
and watching the sky.

A new myth, maybe,
was forming there
but the sun was so bright
I couldn’t see it.



I’m the soul in the body
of the man named Nijinsky.
Gaunt, I eat little, only
what the spirit feeds me.
I hate having a bloated
stomach. It inhibits dancing.

I’m afraid of crowds,
of dancing for them—
they demand a joyful jig
but joy is death. They feel
nothing but want
my life to match theirs.

I stay home to avoid
the crowds. Shutting
myself up in one room,
I stare at the walls and ceiling
to feel a life in this prison.

I’m a philosopher who thinks
with my body, I’m biological
theater, non-fiction, the body
of spirit whose language is
poetry. I am prosody.

Sleeping pills don’t work,
and alcohol doesn’t work.
I’m exhausted and want to stop
but this spirit in me won’t permit it.

I need to go, to go
to some great height and look down.
I need to go until I reach that height
I need to keep going.