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Zhang Er

after De Kooning



The door opens to a certain flow, exposing the scent of spring peach,

Our breath already touched by new shades of green, temptation tender as water.

As we watch, the season’s contrasting colors begin to match.


Light plays at the open door, albeit sincerely,

Bearing a toothy grin, magnolia petals between its lips.

These flowers are not gaudy, but pure.


Words come slowly. So many pen strokes oblige the door to open:

This is not progress, linear or three-dimensional.

A color denied surface cannot step outside its definition.



Outside the door, the street, an old newspaper:

Discount fashions, beauty competitions, new houses for sale.

Word faces word, blankly; an old magazine refuses resurrection.


At the splendid fruit stands on the street

I patiently seek the pear you cut open and the orders you stashed in the cellar.

Rows of green, orange, cherry red.


Shift your focus from the door onto the street, its pedestrians;

Naked cognition puts on layers of clothing,

Gets hold of this reality.



I forgot I was watching water flow inside the picture frame.

Consciousness darts, as if pleasant and polygon-shaped,

Shyly swells into another dimension. The door breaks through this plane.


Heat, unstopped by fabric, rises from the crotch;

What was overturned, what reborn?

A swollen belly and lips push into the door’s deep soil.


No one escapes this flesh from all sides. I can’t breathe.

I must draw a new dimension for the woman so she can bloom or bear fruit,

Liberated from the semantics of the pornographic flower.


From Atlas No 2 (2007). Translated by Susan M. Schultz.

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