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

Saturday, April 30, 2022


Under the flashing red EXIT sign, a disheveled, mask-free man in a light-blue gown shouts to the empty hallway, "The most terrifying thing is to accept yourself completely. People will do anything, no matter how crazy, to avoid facing their own souls." Then, the silence envelops him; he buries his face in his hands, crying. 

Moments later, with his head raised, he starts singing "Wake up, America" with a breathy voice:

We're all in this together
It's our home so let's take care of it
You know that you want to
You know that you got to

From the far end of the dimly lit hallway, thud, thud, thud, come the heavy footfalls.

don't Fauci me
or I'll get you Rittenhoused ...
one echo
after another 
on winter solstice 

Ribbons, 18:1, Winter 2022

Editor’s Note:  Fauci refers to Anthony Fauci, immunologist and chief medical advisor to the US President, who's taken a cautionary approach in the Covid-19 epidemic. “Don’t Fauci Florida” has become a political slogan used in anti-mask rallies. Rittenhoused refers to Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two people and injured another during the civil unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 2020, after the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer. Rittenhouse's acquittal polarised public sentiment, and some people see him as a hero.