Pathlight Issue 9 | Summer 2014 | Gender - ebook available now on Kindle and iBooks.
Kong Yalei: If I Fall Asleep on the Plane That’s Going to Crash
translated by Allan H Barr

Li Zishu: The Northern Border
translated by Joshua Dyer

Zhang Yueran: Weird Auntie
translated by Hallie Treadway

Zhou Jianing: Let Us Talk About Something Else
translated by Helen Wang

Wei Meng: Pregnant
translated by Emily Jones

Hai Nan: The Runaway Game
translated by Roddy Flagg

Fu Yuli: That Damned Thing She Said
translated by Nicky Harman

Cai Dong: The Holiday Monk Returns
translated by Roddy Flagg

Tian Er: The Gift of a Cut
translated by Jim Weldon

Su Yang: Hands
translated by Poppy Toland

Chen Mengya: Brocade
translated by Joel Martinsen

Wang Jiaxin
translated by Eleanor Goodman and Rachel Milligan

Lok Fung
translated by Eleanor Goodman

Tammy Ho
Yi Lei
translated by Amanda Halliday

Zhang Zhihao
translated by Tammy Ho

Pathlight Issue 9 | Summer 2014 | Gender - ebook available now on Kindle and iBooks.



'When the City Gets Old' - Lok Fung

When this city starts to get old
how long can we stay young?

The night of the handover
fireworks were everywhere
scattering over every face in the city
ephemeral, flickering and gone
on our walk you were cold and remote, I was wan
on the winding slanted road
the impatient cars and seething crowds
zoomed past us
like falling firecrackers
dragging their extravagant beauty behind them

The rain-drenched steps
flickered with wet reflections 
a smell of alcohol from Lan Kwai Fong
whirled with the burning neon in the sky
soft singing seeped out from the crowded corners
revelers embraced and wished each other well
walking behind you
I lowered my head to avoid the rain from the canopies
and watched your patterned cloak
flapping about your thin form
people streamed in every direction
in the silence and chill of an ink-blue winter night 
I followed your footsteps
a light rain pitter-pattered down
misting over my eyes
and suddenly I couldn’t be certain
of the true outlines
of this city and you 

Imagine this city were already old
how long could we stay young?

After midnight passed
it was said another era was beginning
broken beer bottles dotted the road
and the shattered glass flashed with dark green light
we paused and looked around
for the way we’d come 
the insubstantial wind stirred our restless hair
I kept close to you
listening to a drunkard’s song disperse across the dark deserted alley
cheers came from the other end of the street
how should we find our way into this new century?

The journey to the century
began with a New Year’s festival
bright red, brilliant and jubilant
people in ethnic dress danced 
with a sleepy golden dragon while others sawed out squeaky tunes 
on the huqin and others put up a white stage
and piled a symbol of unity on its heavy body
but that night you wore tired black clothing
had your face lost its happy expression because
you’re not used to rowdiness or 
you’re too used to silence?

We walked past a public square full of people
and a pavilion newly erected on the water
the flying vermillion evoked the abstract brackets
of history and culture
an amplified debate 
blared out of the Legislative Council Building
we left the camera lights 
and circled the building
not grieving the columns and arches that were about to vanish
we just couldn’t avoid the light rain
and heavy wet air
we looked up to the roof where the goddess held her heavenly scales
and uneasily breathed in a new century’s night air
lightning burrowed into the right side of the sky
lights and singing filled the left side
standing on tiptoe in the uncertain middle ground
I wanted to hold on tight to something real
you looked down at me
I turned to watch the colorful lights
in the streams of people 
we were breakable as the raindrops hitting the ground

The rain started to fall harder
the street inclined and so did our drowsiness 
Leaning my shoulder toward your thick eyebrows
I asked you:
when we start to get old
how long can this city stay young?

Translated by Eleanor Goodman