Sunday, September 30, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Civilization II

Civilization II
Laijon Liu 20120918

Struggling to get up, striving to live on
What certainty and purpose we hold
To labor for our blind faith?

Everyday I stand and watch
The patrons: prime, young and old
Enter, exit this serving-catering place
While the gold and lavendor roses
Bloom, wither in a glass cup

Crystal chandeliers hang above
Glow like my radiant blonde hair
My blushing cream cheek bloom
like the pink corsage upon my breasts
I am a fragile modeling doll
bound in a blackswan coat
and tending behind a marble countertop

In front of me, a window
And behind me, a mirror
What I observe as reality
For you a merely reflection

On this cold gray marble countertop
Oranges lay in a glass-footed plate
Beverage bottles arranged by labels
Like me they bid for a price of need or pleasure

Flooding noise, drunken boasting crowd
Gentlemen social gestures in suit
Women in fashion with their fans
Their faces like broken petals, disappeared and forgotten

Their names I cannot memorize
Their features I can’t clearly draw
Their moment of being, consuming
vanished, when the hanging lights shut

Light shines, reveals an illusion
Darkness shrouds this canvas setting
How my surrounding is so bright
yet seems so drowsy in front of my puffy eyes

Topics of market and politics
Discussion of education and war
Gossips and affairs, meetings and dates
Family and friends, hosts and guests
carry on their usual business around tables

Clowns wait for their turn
To perform on the swing trapeze
They flip and dangle above the mass
To show off their survival technique

You see a modern oil painting
For me this is work and world
You see a nameless young model
But my stress and emotion are all real

Your observation on a reflection
is a forever puzzling scene
Your viewpoint and my focus
in a contridicted angle meet

In front of you, a painting, me
In front of me, a catering place

I stand before the patrons
I charge to pleasure them all

I see
feasts everyday, by night all become wastes
war like wildflame consumes, youth devoured
circus entertains, spice to paralyze our senses
material of luxury fulfills our spiritual happiness
between vision and reflection, dream and reality
people are all players, act their part on this stage

I see myself in a dressing mirror
Powdering my face cream
With a rouge lipstick
I restored the color of my lips

Do not despise my makeup and dress
This is the natural color
Like all of us wrapped in this eternal fashion
to deal and converse, to exchange and undress

success and failure, prosperity and poverty
birthday parties and funeral receptions
all be seen at this universal estate
how individual endeavor ends meaningless

Day in day out, people walk in and exit
Behind the cold marble countertop
I stand and stare, and forever wonder
This puzzling scene and these confusing terms:
Living, working, trading, brawling, struggling…

Ah- I’m tired and tired
I’m tired of standing, tired of watching,
tired of waiting and serving,
I’m tired to smile or frown.

(Manet’s Painting: A Bar at the Folies-Bergère)

Poem Part 3: Civilization III