Making blood paintings on a beach of perpetual night

Waves crashing, mixing the stained sands

I can only take pictures with a silly huge camera of yesteryear

But that*s how this sort of thing is done

Tourists laugh at me, stare and wonder

My decrepit teacher doesn*t even want to lend me a brush

But I have a big one and won*t give it up

I slosh the soft mass of a head in the blood bucket

The softened bristles soak it up well.

The only bright color in this world

comes splattered in the sands under my waving arms.


Some live in the stone-gray waves of saltwater, undulating

In bubbles of some kind, but I can*t see clearly

Some of the bubbles come up onto shore

Maybe the people are angry when they get here

And that*s why they*re trying to kill me.

When they come I flee to one of two places:


The first is a brittle and ancient tree with rough and deep-crevassed bark

And it grows endless, nearly vertical ash-colored branches

Which break off as fast as they grow.

I dash into the tree with my camera 每 the proof of my art is within that thing

And the branches hissing and cracking off

beneath my steady and quickly climbing limbs

Throw shards and debris and large masses of falling branch 

at the assassins below.

They climb below me but they can never continue for very long.

This is my house

It*s strange in its ways, but it*s quite safe


The second place I can run to

is a hole in the ground which simply has lockable doors inside

They are made of cold metal and painted pale yellow

The passage presumably has different hatches leading back to the surface


It is forever night here,

The ocean water silverish, the brittle tree gray as ash

The sky filled with dim stars 每 never anything like a sun.

Nothing grows around this saltwater except the tree.


The silent and scowling art teacher only looks on in disapproval

But she 每 like everyone here 每 is just a bundle of facial expressions.

Never a word is spoken in this lifeless place

where people 每 even though they laugh awkwardly 每

apparently find my blood painting of deep interest.

People inventively watch under their mocking smiles

as I take the human-head-like brush

and slosh it in a bucket of fresh and shockingly red blood.

That*s the only true color they*ll see here

I smatter it in burlap and gray-colored sands,

Washed, bled and mixed by the tarnished-silver waves


The people*s eyes#I can*t see how they perceive

I*m looking at a boy whose eyes have problems

I can pry his lids open with my fingers

And see two rotating, nearly blind and colorless eyes

which can*t move together or see straight.

I can pity him, but I can*t love him.

Nanjing 2005/4/16

Explanation of "Gotham Beach"