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Plastic 5: Tse Hao Guang’s poem knits from the notes and images of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s unfinished film, White Dust from Mongolia, shaping brokenness as junction.

The countertranslation below features translations of Hao Guang’s work by a fellow contributor to this folio. By making visible the multiple languages hiding in a mouth, and promoting translations that destabilize notions of mastery, countertranslation hopes to open possibilities of exchange beyond the frames of English and support a wider community of interpretation.

 

Playing with white dust from Mongolia, always unfinished
(parts 1-4 of x)

when train on first
ever cinemascreams as
pull into station
into such sen
sitivity of it
such sense
could not say
to bearto thisto such
unbear
able hands before
mouth whole limb to
torn say ever again
headeyederobed

w/o single
wind to carry vow
to muteness
mute me &
brother we wonder
wonder
fully, fear fullyour shadows
Korea (but for you, any
where is where
you are for,
your shadow Hong
Kong perhaps or
book you put
away in tenderness or
shame(

time to film
& none to live
& bite apple w/ eye
& laugh at screams
at train

 

*

pilgrim skin ab
olishes sinpores
thru

if I
subject object club
swinging to head
against thatI had for
got would had forget
ting had
had forgone
had left

airport,
station,bus see
that woman & if I
had had
had been over seas would have
had not forgot sou
venir & but
& elle attend
enfin le retour
de son souvenir
pig skin pores
thru history sweat & / mo
there/ sister
/ selfwhen she
is me am
dumb
speech
must came else
where?

question of wanting to

 

*

comment

de dire zenmeshuo nishuo wo
shuo jiushi zheme
shuo

yexu tadeshou yinggai ta
yi kaikou
zhiqian c’est
ça zhe zhe
zhe xieshe dui she
dui (fafeng) she wusheng
wuyin

wufeng wind
less speechless
sound
less tongue (go
mad) to ton
gue to tongue
these this
this ça c’est before
openmouthed one
s/he should hand
their may
be said
this way’s
indeed said me
you say say

how dire
the comment

 

*

I have never
to La Ciotat
nor been Pusan nor
nor Singapore, nor Dong
bei nor Berkeley

nor Ulaanbaatar

never
screamed at film
train pulled in &
no-one
neither, we

know past is self-
secure.never been to Singapore.

shot poorer
areas first & I have
never seen

this peace like an
insomnia, if you
shoot will you
let me sleep?Aunty
you who stare
have never been

me & fire is
no safety, no laws, if

you must shoot
shoot
open scenes any
one can
relate to

 

*


 
 


C O U N T E R T R A N S L A T I O N


 

Playing with white dust from Mongolia, always unfinished
(parts 1-4 of x)

when train on first
ever cinema叫響screams as
pull into station
into such senこの繊
sitivity of it細な
such sense線ス

 
 
 
I offer a tiny moment of translation in a big capacious poem. What can I say? I’m a slow translator. The multilingual aspects of this poem create an exciting space to enter & engage – it would be a pleasure to spend more time with this one day.
一Sawako Nakayasu

Tse Hao Guang (謝皓光) is a Singaporean poet and editor, assembled with parts from Hong Kong and Malaysia. His first full-length poetry collection, Deeds of Light, was shortlisted for the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize. He is a 2016 fellow of the University of Iowa's International Writing Program, and the 2018 National Writer-in-Residence at Nanyang Technological University. He has things in Sand Journal, AJAR, High Chair, Entropy, Hotel, Third Coast, and Prairie Schooner. The new work-in-progress is tentatively "I get buzzed seeing your hand's just left".

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