The Poetry Of Foxconn Worker Xu Lizhi Before His Suicide

Xu Lizhi Foxconn suicide

A week and a half ago, the China blog of the libertarian communism website libcom.org — Nao – published translations of the poetry of Foxconn worker Xu Lizhi, who committed suicide on September 30. As Nao notes, “By translating these poems, we aim to memorialize Xu, share some of his excellent literary work, and spread awareness that the harsh conditions, struggles and aspirations of Chinese migrant workers (including but not limited to Foxconn) have not diminished.”

Xu was 24. We’re republishing two poems here — one by Xu and one by Zhou Qizao, a colleague — but you should head over to Nao blog to read the rest. (Bloomberg reports Xu was a regular contributor to Foxconn People, the company’s internal newspaper in Shenzhen, before his death. His poems have since been circulating across Chinese and English websites.)

《我咽下一枚铁做的月亮》
“I Swallowed a Moon Made of Iron”

我咽下一枚铁做的月亮
I swallowed a moon made of iron

他们把它叫做螺丝
They refer to it as a nail

我咽下这工业的废水,失业的订单
I swallowed this industrial sewage, these unemployment documents

那些低于机台的青春早早夭亡
Youth stooped at machines die before their time

我咽下奔波,咽下流离失所
I swallowed the hustle and the destitution

咽下人行天桥,咽下长满水锈的生活
Swallowed pedestrian bridges, life covered in rust

我再咽不下了
I can’t swallow any more

所有我曾经咽下的现在都从喉咙汹涌而出
All that I’ve swallowed is now gushing out of my throat

在祖国的领土上铺成一首
Unfurling on the land of my ancestors

耻辱的诗
Into a disgraceful poem.

19 December 2013

~

《惊闻90后青工诗人许立志坠楼有感》
“Upon Hearing the News of Xu Lizhi’s Suicide”
by Zhou Qizao (周启早), a fellow worker at Foxconn

每一个生命的消失
The loss of every life

都是另一个我的离去
Is the passing of another me

又一枚螺丝松动
Another screw comes loose

又一位打工兄弟坠楼
Another migrant worker brother jumps

你替我死去
You die in place of me

我替你继续写诗
And I keep writing in place of you

顺便拧紧螺丝
While I do so, screwing the screws tighter

今天是祖国六十五岁的生日
Today is our nation’s sixty-fifth birthday

举国欢庆
We wish the country joyous celebrations

二十四岁的你立在灰色的镜框里微微含笑
A twenty-four-year-old you stands in the grey picture frame, smiling ever so slightly

秋风秋雨
Autumn winds and autumn rain

白发苍苍的父亲捧着你黑色的骨灰盒趔趄还乡
A white-haired father, holding the black urn with your ashes, stumbles home.

1 October 2014

Read more over at Nao blog.

~

Note: Those interested in more China-themed poetry might consider the Anthill.

2 Responses to “The Poetry Of Foxconn Worker Xu Lizhi Before His Suicide”

  1. Gar

    I really like this guy’s work. I read more on the anthill too. Anthony; is there a collection of modern Chinese poetry (translated) that you could recommend?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


2 + four =