Thursday, April 10, 2008

The City Viewed Through Crystal

Crystal Koo, who I once met during a PGS meeting with kyu at a Starbucks branch in Edsa Shangrila, has an online short story* at East of the Web. It's entitled Metropolis and is a paean to the city of Beijing. Quite excellent for someone like me who loves city stories. (And appropriate enough, given the controversy surrounding the Beijing Games and Tibet, eh wot?)

But then again, how can I not love a story that has lines like these?

This is how you talk about a city you love. You talk about it as if it's the only place in the world where this story can happen.


Only a foreigner writes a Beijing story like this.

*And just in case you're asking, no,the story's not spec fic.

And because I missed reading this poem, here is something by Greek poet Constantine Cavafy that I first posted here:

The City

You said, "I will go to another land, I will go to another sea.
Another city will be found, a better one than this.
Every effort of mine is a condemnation of fate;
and my heart is — like a corpse — buried.
How long will my mind remain in this wasteland.
Wherever I turn my eyes, wherever I may look
I see black ruins of my life here,
where I spent so many years destroying and wasting."

You will find no new lands, you will find no other seas.
The city will follow you. You will roam the same
streets. And you will age in the same neighborhoods;
and you will grow gray in these same houses.
Always you will arrive in this city. Do not hope for any other—
There is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you have destroyed your life here
in this little corner, you have ruined it in the entire world.

(trans. by Rae Dalven)

I love the poem's last part.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Banzai Cat!

Thank you so much for your support, I really appreciate it!!!

(With re to the BJ Olympics controversy, hahahaha grabe, onga e, I know what it makes the story look like. V. appropriate all of a sudden, LOL.)


banzai cat said...

You're welcome. And let's just hope you don't get Tibetan protestors at your doorstep for writing that story. ;-)