Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Thursday, December 11, 2014

For My (Lost Not Beat) Generation, A Tanka Prose

During his two-year mandatory military service, my graduate school classmate, who hand-copied On the Road in his freshman year, constantly forgot to say Yes, Sir and No, Sir, chain-smoked on duty, and was found once reading a holey edition of Playboy when he should have been drilling. After completing the service, he came back to his hometown, found a 9-to-5 job, became a company man, got married and had two kids, later moved to a bedroom community of Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan (formerly known as the Republic of China), and fully embraced the emerging IKEA culture, keeping up with the Joneses.

first winter light
on the empty side
of the bed
my friend phones me, rambling
about The Dharma Bums

at twilight
I murmur to myself

I should have ...
echoing and echoing
after he ended the call

Atlas Poetica, 19, 2014