Snow in Linfen

By | 30 June 2008

Pine trees bend with snow. In their essays, Chinese students write 'dialectically' and 'imperialistic', words I've not read in an academic while. Japanese teacher Yoko asks, 'Do your students ask personal questions?' Each culture is different, but ironing jeans, in London, New York, Paris, Rome or Linfen, is a bourgeois sentiment. Tree has no leaves but leaf-sized birds on every bough. It's not every day you can see your hand in front of your face. Shoebrush to brush away the dust, loses its bristles on first use. They haven't weeded that roof in decades. Well, it's life with a Chinese accent: fun and drama, upsets and pleasures. Toothbrush bristles too. I quote Du Fu in English. 'You read Du Fu? In English? You don't read Du Fu.' In the seat of Chinese civilisation, vines cover a rusted fighter plane. Yoko points at the word 'cormorants'. I answer, 'It is a bird that sits on pylons and rocks and dries its wings like this.' All writing is polis. Student essay: 'Chinese is hieroglyphs, English is typing.' Linfen snow is white in the kindergarten, black on the roads.


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