Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Yi Sha

REFUSED A VISA AT THE US EMBASSY

The entire morning
A hundred people crowd into a smallish hall
As if crammed into the hold of a border-running boat
Among those languishing in boredom awaiting a visa
A pretty student of ballet
Becomes the greatest beauty spot in the place

Before seeing the consular officer
I’m already a bit hollowed out
As I see among those who’ve received visas
There’re practically no healthy young men
Just the two
An oldster with his wife
And a midget who doesn’t come up to the window
The US is scared
Really scared
Now they’re frightened of men
Wah-kao! This bearded official
Who looks more like a Muslim
More of a terrorist
Than me
Without a moment’s hesitation
Resolutely rejects my application
Could this be one orangutan begrudging another
At a glance espying a deep-seated
Ill-will in my eyes
Immigration threats
Exhibit such signs
So, the Tang Dynasty’s Li Bai wants to emigrate to Persia
Don’t you crack fucking international jokes with me

As I stalk off
The pretty student of ballet
Is rejected by a black woman at another window
And she’s really happy like a duckling straining to fly
Leaving the place chirping for joy
Somebody in the line makes the proper determination
“For sure her parents were making her go to America…”

AFWIJZING IN DE AMERIKAANSE AMBASSADE

De hele ochtend
verdrongen zich zo’n honderd mensen in een kleine ruimte
als in het ruim van een smokkelboot
in de verveling van het wachten op een visum
werd een meisje dat ballet leerde dansen
het middelpunt van de zaal

Voordat ik de visumbeambte ontmoette
was ik al weinig hoopvol gestemd
zo zag ik tussen de mensen die een visum kregen
bijna geen jongemannen
er waren er twee
de ene zag er oud en bedaard uit
de andere was een dwerg die nog niet tot het raam kwam
Amerika was bang
echt bang
ze waren nu bang voor mannen
wauw de visumbeambte met zijn lange baard
leek eigenlijk meer
op een moslim dan ik
en nog meer op een terrorist
zonder er lang over na te denken
wees hij mij resoluut af
vast het medelijden van een orang-oetang met een orang-oetang
in één oogopslag zag hij in mijn ogen
de verborgen moordzuchtige blik
is er een spoortje
van wantrouwen tegen emigratie?
de grote dichter Li Bai uit de achtste eeuw wilde naar Perzië emigreren
je moet verdomme geen idiote grappen met me uithalen

Toen ik naar buiten banjerde
was het balletmeisje
door een zwarte vrouw bij het raam afgewezen
ze was echt zo blij als een eend die uitvliegt
uitgelaten liep ze weg
‘moest zeker van haar ouders naar Amerika...’
luidde het steekhoudende oordeel van iemand in de rij

Close

REFUSED A VISA AT THE US EMBASSY

The entire morning
A hundred people crowd into a smallish hall
As if crammed into the hold of a border-running boat
Among those languishing in boredom awaiting a visa
A pretty student of ballet
Becomes the greatest beauty spot in the place

Before seeing the consular officer
I’m already a bit hollowed out
As I see among those who’ve received visas
There’re practically no healthy young men
Just the two
An oldster with his wife
And a midget who doesn’t come up to the window
The US is scared
Really scared
Now they’re frightened of men
Wah-kao! This bearded official
Who looks more like a Muslim
More of a terrorist
Than me
Without a moment’s hesitation
Resolutely rejects my application
Could this be one orangutan begrudging another
At a glance espying a deep-seated
Ill-will in my eyes
Immigration threats
Exhibit such signs
So, the Tang Dynasty’s Li Bai wants to emigrate to Persia
Don’t you crack fucking international jokes with me

As I stalk off
The pretty student of ballet
Is rejected by a black woman at another window
And she’s really happy like a duckling straining to fly
Leaving the place chirping for joy
Somebody in the line makes the proper determination
“For sure her parents were making her go to America…”

REFUSED A VISA AT THE US EMBASSY

The entire morning
A hundred people crowd into a smallish hall
As if crammed into the hold of a border-running boat
Among those languishing in boredom awaiting a visa
A pretty student of ballet
Becomes the greatest beauty spot in the place

Before seeing the consular officer
I’m already a bit hollowed out
As I see among those who’ve received visas
There’re practically no healthy young men
Just the two
An oldster with his wife
And a midget who doesn’t come up to the window
The US is scared
Really scared
Now they’re frightened of men
Wah-kao! This bearded official
Who looks more like a Muslim
More of a terrorist
Than me
Without a moment’s hesitation
Resolutely rejects my application
Could this be one orangutan begrudging another
At a glance espying a deep-seated
Ill-will in my eyes
Immigration threats
Exhibit such signs
So, the Tang Dynasty’s Li Bai wants to emigrate to Persia
Don’t you crack fucking international jokes with me

As I stalk off
The pretty student of ballet
Is rejected by a black woman at another window
And she’s really happy like a duckling straining to fly
Leaving the place chirping for joy
Somebody in the line makes the proper determination
“For sure her parents were making her go to America…”
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Gemeente Rotterdam
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