After swallowing some water at Changsha I taste a Wuchang fish | and drown in the fetid
litter of its scent. Then strip. Then | swim across the Yangzi River that winds ten
thousand li. I see | the whole valley lit with red flags, toy soldiers beneath | the entire
Chu sky. Wind batters me, waves hit me—I don’t | even fathom it. Nothing about this place
smacks of reality, | better than walking lazily in the patio. Today I have a lot of
thoughts festering, dead time, things to mull over. What | master said: “what is gone
into the past is like a river flowing,” | not unlike that line by Heraclitus, which in the West looms.
† Italicized lines from the “1956” series are excerpted from The Poems of Mao Zedong, trans. Willis Barnstone (University of California Press, 1972).