Hung Hung






Family Choir


When sis walked out of the closet

her face was crawled with ants


I still remember how she danced in the room

all the sculptures on the rack stared at her intently


I could only kept on playing the figurine in my hand

putting back its broken arms and legs


Finally Mom’s home

the butterfly knot on her dress took off


We all lived in

those ten hours that Dad lost his memory


The sun shone through the long un-torn calendar


Translated by Sharon Tsui




Poetry and the World 


In a crowded bar

Amid the clamor of lights, the blinding music

And smoke-filled roomful of foreign tongues

No one knows that you’re absorbed in a pornographic novel

Knows of the extent of your arousal

How it gives you your

Vast potential for

Love and/or



Translated by Steve Bradbury




What We Love


How can we not be influenced by those things we love?

How can we not become the writing

‘s printout?

How can we not become the woolen sweater

‘s body?

The school girl with the braids who turns her head

‘s memory

How not to be driven by that long distance bus

To it’s promised land?

How to save

The child standing in front of his parents in the photo frame?

How is it that in the ever weakening pull of the earth’s core

The more we try to fly, the more we are glued to the earth’s surface?


I am the virus I mail out

I am the cellphone lost so carelessly

I am the warmth in my thermometer

I am the air

When I drink

That strange fruit juice becomes my blood

When I eat fish

It sears into my dreams


How do we not become captive to what we love?

If we want to love even more

How do we not become all the more captive?

When our pockets are already stuffed full of stars

How can we fall in love with this entire world

But remain in possession of ourselves?

When we said there must be light

There was darkness

In the darkness

With the things we love

We rename ourselves.


Translated by Patrick Carr




Shadowless City


Every morning I am starting my car to make the engine remember its instincts. Advancing, retreating, and then standing at its original spot. Very lightly I step on the pedal, just a little petrol, becoming this white stinky smoke in the air, then it’s gone. Like a clam that opens itself, in the boiling water.


Let’s not argue over trifles. « One lover more, one friend less » – a lover can still be a friend. « But if we just stay friends, then I can get me a lover. » Add, subtract, divide and multiply, like Taiwan’s official message to Beijing.


Every night I am crossing this vast open parking space to come back with a bag of soymilk with egg – this woman always gives me too much. Then I have poured it into a bowl, and forgot to stir in the sugar. There are the lumps in the plastic bag, with the rest of the milk.


Closing my eyes, I take the escalator down at the underground going further down. All the platforms have no shadows, the arteries of the city are coldly speeding along, faster than imaginable, taking us to our desired destinations. We are moving, but only down at the deepest depths, at the impossible depth.


Translated by Martin Winter




Wherever I am


Wherever I am, I will not be there

Whatever I said, it was not what I meant

Whatever I dream of, I am always awake

I love, but no one else, and also not you


If my heart beats wildly, it is only because

Their hearts are beating the same and without any sound –

Brides sleeping beside a stranger

Workers leaving their town behind

Students shouting on Revolution Square

And suddenly feeling bewildered

Lovers, tied up in freedom


Watch me, so I’ll be in your eyes

Kiss me, so I’ll be on your tongue

Hold me, so I can breathe in your palm

Forget me, so I may stay in your heart


Translated by Martin Winter




Simple World


you study so hard to enter a complicated world.

only to discover.

it is very simple.


some people think apples are for eating.

some people think apples are symbols.

some people don’t have an apple to eat.


some people are hard at work squeezing other’s bodies, their youth or their hair.

some people are only concerned with their souls.

some people don’t have anything to be squeezed, but still want to give.


some people write history (although nobody reads it).

some people are only concerned with their name in history (although nobody reads it).

some people will never enter history.


Translated by Martin Winter




Lady Liberty’s Sword


Obama gave his yearly trade report, he wants to sell American pork to Taiwan. Obama is the first African American president. Black people are saved, pigs aren’t saved. Neither are cows. No matter how many hormones they feed them, all humanity has to eat your meat, and it has to be minced, so you don’t know which piece is an eye that saw the sky or a butt tired from needles. Nowadays no-one will eat black people. But there are people who want to swallow Ukrainians, Uighurs, Tibetans. They try out nuclear bombs at Lop Nor, they shoot a movie at Chernobyl, they build a nuclear power plant in Gongliao in Taiwan. Obama is happy to sell uranium for Taiwan nuclear power, I guess Americans like to eat up Taiwanese, barbecued by the torch of the Statue of Liberty. At the beginning of Kafka’s novel “America”, Lady Liberty’s torch is mistaken for a sword, piercing the suddenly brightening sky. Actually, isn’t it really a sword? Lady Liberty wielding the sword, cowering beauty beyond compare. America the beautiful. Beautiful cows, beautiful pigs, beautiful people. But definitions of beauty are changing. Beautiful Oscar movies, a junkie or a female star in a breakdown, garbage floating in space, we have to get membership, purchase tickets online, complete with Coke and popcorn (from genetically modified American corn), and put on our 3D glasses to see it all clearly.


Translated by Martin Winter




An Idyll


Your one eye is a diamond

the other eye is a flower


One eye is correct

the other eye is both correct and incorrect


The fleeing pineapple hides in the oil painting

The fleeing pig sits behind the house,

fearing the moon


A Ah, the entire rice plant trembles

as if it anticipates

the next morning’s blade


However, the sound of the flute is heard no longer

It has carried away the night

It is no longer


You lie down in a manger

A feeling of longing slowly ages you


You remain in the alley

You are dispersed by the wind


Translated by Todd Klaiman












Hung Hung is the pen-name of Yen Hung-ya. Born in 1964 in Taiwan, he is a graduate of the National Institute of the Arts, Theatre Department, and has, at one time or another, been an award-winning poet and author of poetry, short fiction, intimate essays and theatre criticism, chief editor of Off the Roll Poetry+, artistic and stage director of Dark Eyes Performance Lab, which he founded in 2009, co-author of the Edward Yang’s films, A Brighter Summer Day (1991), and director of more than forty plays, operas, and four films: The Love of Three Oranges, The Human Comedy, A Garden in the Sky, and The Wall-Passer.


He also served as curator of Taipei Poetry Festival since 2004.





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