52 weeks

夜来幽梦忽还乡,
小轩窗正梳妆。
相顾无言唯有泪千行。
料得年年肠断处,
明月夜短松冈?

In deepest night, a dream returns me to my homeland,
She sits before a window, and sorts her dress and make-up.
We look at each other without a word, a thousand lines of tears.
Must it be that every year I’ll think of that heartbreaking place,
Where the moon shines bright and bare pines guard the tomb?

— 

Dreaming of My Departed Wife (江城子) by Su Shi (苏轼). Song Dynasty.

Ten years after the death of his first wife, Wang Fu (王弗), Su penned a ci poem after dreaming of her at the Mi Prefecture. “Dreaming of My Departed Wife” remains one of Su’s most famous poems. Su and Wang wed when Wang was just sixteen years old, and she bore him his eldest son, Su Mai (蘇邁). Wang often assisted Su with official work and advised him.

Su was a prolific writer, medicinalist, artist, and statesman of the Song Dynasty. His poetry is considered a vehicle for understanding Song culture, politics, and travel. His critical writings of the government often led to his censure and exile, though he continued to produce written work throughout his entire life.

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Kakashi week, day 2: Sakumo

Kakashi set his dinner down on the table. A bowl of white rice with an egg mixed in, the simplest of meals, nutritious and easy enough for a tired fourteen-year-old to make. The thud of porcelain on wood echoed across the empty house.

The lights were out and the night chilly as autumn settled over the Leaf village. The wind wailed as it squeezed into the gaps of windows worn down by a lifetime of enduring storms. Kakashi could not close them, both because they did not physically budge and because the only light he had to see by came from the public lamp post across the street. The power in his house had been cut two months ago.

Kakashi stood before the table, shoulders slumped. He had been living alone for years but loneliness had never particularly bothered him. Tonight, for the first time, it did. He wished that he could say that he was alone by choice rather than because there was no one left.

Obito had been dead for so long now. His teammate had never been over at the Hatake household, had probably not even known Kakashi’s address, so it was hard to imagine him there, hanging out. Minato-sensei had his own home and family to go back to at the end of the day. Soon he would also have a son who would need all of his love and attention. Kakashi had no place intruding there. And Rin…

Kakashi’s right fist clenched.

That wound was still too fresh, but she would have been good company to have over on a night like this, when the ghosts were out and about. Warm, cheerful, happy Rin, who’d had such a bright future ahead of her.

He should have valued his friends so much more. He should have told them that he appreciated them, at least once, somehow. He should have—

Mmmm, is that tamago gohan?

Kakashi sucked in a breath, but dared not look up. He knew that voice. His sinews and bones and guts knew that voice, despite the fact that the last time he heard it had been years and years ago. Kakashi had tried to make himself remember that slow, affectionate tone so many times before, only for it to escape his grasp like a dandelion in the wind. Yet here it was now, clear as if its owner was right in front of him.

You should eat before it gets cold. Come, sit.

It had happened. It had finally happened. Shivering and lonely, cold, exhausted and hungry, Kakashi had finally broken down. Because that was his dead father’s voice and his dead father’s shape sitting before him at the small dinner table.

Everything about him looked welcome and inviting and Kakashi was overcome with such longing that he didn’t even pause to think what purpose could have brought Sakumo back to him. He just wanted it – whatever it was – to last for as long as possible, for his father to sit there, in the shadows, next to him, with his ruffled hair and rumpled clothes and caring smile that carved lines into his cheeks that Kakashi remembered so well from so many lazy afternoons spent telling his father all about his day at the Academy.

Kakashi did as he was told. He sat and picked up his chopsticks. He was not sure that he could eat. A painful lump had lodged itself in his throat. He was even surer, though, that he would not be able to speak, so he obediently pulled down his mask, opened his mouth and shoved in a mouthful of rice.

Tell me about your day?” the spectre asked.

Kakashi looked up. Sakumo was watching him back, sunken eyes half cast in shadow catching the molten glow of the gas lamp outside. He was exactly as Kakashi remembered him – more lively even, because this time Kakashi knew to soak in every detail of the man that he had once taken for granted.

“I wouldn’t know where to start.”

Tell me anyway.

And if Kakashi’s laughter brushed the hysterical he could hardly be blamed. He laughed and cried and forgot all about the cold and darkness as he ate his dinner and told his father about anything and everything that came to mind, from missions to friends to whatever the dogs had eaten earlier that day.

The next morning, the sun rose and lighted on a teenage boy slumped over a dinner table, fast asleep. His lips were curved in the barest of smiles. He was still alone, but not as much as before.

4

The Horse Thief (盗马贼) dir. Tian Zhuangzhuang (田壮壮). 1986.

Within a Tibet facing the heat of a devastating famine and the cusp of Chinese occupation, devoted Buddhist and horse thief Norbu steals from a temple in desperation. His family is resultantly expelled from the clan, and Norbu attempts to undergo reform to protect his loved ones. The Horse Thief focuses on three central themes: family, Buddhism, and the stark vastness of the Tibetan countryside. Portraying these ideas through slow, hypnotically fluid visuals and little dialogue, Tian Zhuangzhuang demonstrates his masterful capability to weave an iconoclastic narrative with experimental form. 

Known for his notoriously subversive films, Tian has been the subject of constant state censorship, especially with regards to his masterpiece The Blue Kite, which critically examined ramifications of the Cultural Revolution. Tian was sent deep into the countryside in hopes of quieting his voice; however, the lack of a watchful governmental eye only granted him more exploratory freedom. Only when his films were smuggled out of China did they attain merited renown and universal acclaim.

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Never had there been a time when sound, color, and feeling hadn’t been intertwined, when a dirty, rolling bass line hadn’t induced violets that suffused him with thick contentment, when the shades of certain chords sliding up to one another hadn’t produced dusty pastels that made him feel like he was cupping a tiny, golden bird. It wasn’t just music but also rumbling trains and rainstorms, occasional voices, a collective din. Colors and textures appeared in front of him, bouncing in time to the rhythm, or he’d get a flash of color in his mind, an automatic sensation of a tone, innate as breathing.
— 

The Leavers by Lisa Ko. 2017. 

One morning, eleven-year-old Deming Guo’s undocumented mother Polly leaves for her job at a nail salon. She never comes home. Deming is adopted by two white professors who rename him “Daniel Wilkinson” and attempt to mold him into a truly “American” boy. Lyrically poignant and bitingly raw, Lisa Ko’s debut novel The Leavers exhumes themes of family and community, intergenerational emotion, and the oft-erased brutality of the immigrant experience. 

Told from the perspective of a growing child, it is at once a bitterly tender bildungsroman and a reflection of structural sociopolitical faultlines in a jarringly torn family. Though Deming’s tale could have been overlaid with heavy themes of immigration and despairing politics, Ko centers the narrative around the child who’s lost a parent—at the end of the day, the perplexity, gravity, and irreconcilable belief of being left and lost is the focus of this elastic, penetrative story.

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11/52 weeks

my mother she
gathers crows’ eyes
at dawn. i find loneliness
easier when it’s just me and no
voices. lights out. sometimes the
birds sing their last songs while
the sun is rising. it’s hard to break
the surface, my dreams are full of
crows’ wings. i hang between
two fading worlds. children
make shadows on the wall
during blackouts. i
lose myself like
a crow in the
night.

[3/52] Yellow

Here is my take on the color yellow.

This picture is 7 pictures put together:
2 pictures for me. Since I was the one holding the remote for the camera shutter, I had to pose myself with the remote in each hand so I could use the ones with the open hand.
And 5 pictures for the sheets. I bought this twin flat sheet at a thrift store for $3 specifically for this photograph. It only covered so much space, so I had to position it on one side, flick it in the wind, then repeat on the other side. I then composited those “flicks” together into one big sheet of movement.

A lot of photographs were taken for this, but having my dad as a peanut gallery/watch dog/audience member, I managed to get what I needed and leave within an hour. Not to mention the entire day I waited for this perfect sunset light.

I hope you like this as much as I do.

Free is the bird without a cage.