The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Ye Mimi’s “His Days Go By the Way Her Years”

ye mimi author photo

Translated by Steve Bradbury

And All the Sweat is Left There (excerpt)

someone washing their hands in the bathroom next door       squeezes their soap into a fish
the persimmon he bit from       is more golden than lion
and when the weather grows this cold       they agree to meet in sun-twist fields
she says Happy New Year
but he is bored to pieces       and has to have a smoke
a ghost nods off beneath the blackboard tree       in a punitive gesture the kittens are made to
      crouch in tummies
we are mortified at vomiting a layer of sea
the skin of which could not be whiter
things are not as it imagined they would be   nor are they like the other way it had imagined them


This selection comes from Ye Mimi’s chapbook His Days Go By the Way Her Years, available from Anomalous Press. Purchase your copy here!

Ye Mimi is a young Taiwanese poet and filmmaker. A graduate of the MFA Film Studio Program at the Art Institute of Chicago, she is the author of two volumes of poetry, most recently The More Car the More Far (Taipei: Garden City Publishers). Many of her poems are inspired by dreams, both by specific dreams she has had but also by the quirky ways in which dreams are cobbled together. Other poems seem to compose themselves when she is seized, for example, by a particular rhyme or alliteration that won’t let her go. Her best poems combine these sources of inspiration and tend to be written in a “white heat” over two or three days. She rarely talks about individual poems, but made an exception in the case of “A Moth Laid Its Eggs in My Armpit, and Then It Died,” when the English translation appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review a few years ago: “I really did have a dream that a moth laid its eggs in my armpit and died. It was just the sort of thing you’d want to call up all your friends and tell them about. That’s why I added all the stuff about phone booths. I’m more interested in playing language games than in communicating ideas or expressing my feelings, but in this case my feelings about telephone booths seem to have crept into the poem. I love a good phone booth and think it is sad how they are all disappearing now that everyone in Taiwan has a cell phone. I suppose you could say ‘Moth’ is a kind of elegy to that vanishing social space.”

Emily Capettini is a fiction writer originally from Batavia, IL. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her fiction has appeared in places like Noctua Review and Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her critical work can be found in Feminisms in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2012) and is upcoming in Neil Gaiman in the Twenty-First Century(McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015). She currently lives in Maryland.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Ye Mimi’s “His Days Go By the Way Her Years”

HisDaysFINAL
Translated by Steve Bradbury

2 Nights 9 Secrets—for Turning 29 (excerpt)

The pace of her escape slackens      as she continues to compose her crummy poetry
drinking her scalding tea      rebuffing tough subjects
eyes are post-it notes       at times aglow at times ablack
at times they will withdraw like a flood
after all these years      she still prefers the window-seat
in scenery there’s sea there’s snow      there are people there are timeworn streets
and gentle dromedaries on the wing

When dark clouds gather       she describes herself like this:
Fun-loving with a big carbon footprint. The hotter it gets the greater the stability. The colder it
                 gets the more in bloom.
In any case she can become a lamp       a tree
an oven or a crossword puzzle
no matter what       it’s simply a question of shape       she said.

 


This selection comes from Ye Mimi’s chapbook His Days Go By the Way Her Years, available from Anomalous Press. Purchase your copy here!

Ye Mimi is a young Taiwanese poet and filmmaker. A graduate of the MFA Film Studio Program at the Art Institute of Chicago, she is the author of two volumes of poetry, most recently The More Car the More Far (Taipei: Garden City Publishers). Many of her poems are inspired by dreams, both by specific dreams she has had but also by the quirky ways in which dreams are cobbled together. Other poems seem to compose themselves when she is seized, for example, by a particular rhyme or alliteration that won’t let her go. Her best poems combine these sources of inspiration and tend to be written in a “white heat” over two or three days. She rarely talks about individual poems, but made an exception in the case of “A Moth Laid Its Eggs in My Armpit, and Then It Died,” when the English translation appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review a few years ago: “I really did have a dream that a moth laid its eggs in my armpit and died. It was just the sort of thing you’d want to call up all your friends and tell them about. That’s why I added all the stuff about phone booths. I’m more interested in playing language games than in communicating ideas or expressing my feelings, but in this case my feelings about telephone booths seem to have crept into the poem. I love a good phone booth and think it is sad how they are all disappearing now that everyone in Taiwan has a cell phone. I suppose you could say ‘Moth’ is a kind of elegy to that vanishing social space.”

Emily Capettini is a fiction writer originally from Batavia, IL. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her fiction has appeared in places like Noctua Review and Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her critical work can be found in Feminisms in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2012) and is upcoming in Neil Gaiman in the Twenty-First Century(McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015). She currently lives in Maryland.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Ye Mimi’s “His Days Go By the Way Her Years”

ye mimi author photo

Translated by Steve Bradbury

Her Perspire-y Left Hand was Semi-Colon-y (excerpt)

everyone needs a Sleeping Beauty and a pug
like a harbor needs a boat╱a hot spring a thousand-year-old egg the
prison warden issues handcuffs and locks

coral loiters in the place from whence it came waiting for the ocean to come back
her skin soaks into a kind of solar black╲the sky is looking-glass blue╱thatch screw pine a
             deaf and dumb green
╲every one of the □ □╱could find themselves sluiced by the □ □ □ into a watermelon
             frappe of a summer season
midday over╱the □ □ turn fertile fairly often


This selection comes from Ye Mimi’s chapbook His Days Go By the Way Her Years, available from Anomalous Press. Purchase your copy here!

Ye Mimi is a young Taiwanese poet and filmmaker. A graduate of the MFA Film Studio Program at the Art Institute of Chicago, she is the author of two volumes of poetry, most recently The More Car the More Far (Taipei: Garden City Publishers). Many of her poems are inspired by dreams, both by specific dreams she has had but also by the quirky ways in which dreams are cobbled together. Other poems seem to compose themselves when she is seized, for example, by a particular rhyme or alliteration that won’t let her go. Her best poems combine these sources of inspiration and tend to be written in a “white heat” over two or three days. She rarely talks about individual poems, but made an exception in the case of “A Moth Laid Its Eggs in My Armpit, and Then It Died,” when the English translation appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review a few years ago: “I really did have a dream that a moth laid its eggs in my armpit and died. It was just the sort of thing you’d want to call up all your friends and tell them about. That’s why I added all the stuff about phone booths. I’m more interested in playing language games than in communicating ideas or expressing my feelings, but in this case my feelings about telephone booths seem to have crept into the poem. I love a good phone booth and think it is sad how they are all disappearing now that everyone in Taiwan has a cell phone. I suppose you could say ‘Moth’ is a kind of elegy to that vanishing social space.”

Emily Capettini is a fiction writer originally from Batavia, IL. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her fiction has appeared in places like Noctua Review and Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her critical work can be found in Feminisms in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2012) and is upcoming in Neil Gaiman in the Twenty-First Century(McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015). She currently lives in Maryland.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Ye Mimi’s “His Days Go By the Way Her Years”

HisDaysFINAL
Translated by Steve Bradbury

A Moth Laid Its Eggs in My Armpit, and Then It Died (excerpt)

in an airtight phone booth╱ made of glass╱ you feel as though you’re sittin’ in a limo
╱ absorbing the scenery and being absorbed in turn╱ as you’re effortlessly carried on your way
the conversation they fashion cascades like ticker tape╱ out of their mouths and into their ear
╱ canals and forms a little heap in the cockles of their hearts
one day there’ll come a day╱ when everyone’ll have exhausted all discourse ╱ repeated every
             puffed-up metaphor
to everyone they know
every tired turn of phrase╱ every long-winded grievance and expression of affection

that is when╱ they’ll╱ twist their phone cords into a corkscrew spiral

╱ and in one fell swoop╱ flourish their scissors snip╱ snip╱ off with their handsets!

that’s when they’ll get a Bloody Mary╱ and the lyrics to a thriving song
╱ in a gesture of recognition they’ll savor forever

 


This selection comes from Ye Mimi’s chapbook His Days Go By the Way Her Years, available from Anomalous Press. Purchase your copy here!

Ye Mimi is a young Taiwanese poet and filmmaker. A graduate of the MFA Film Studio Program at the Art Institute of Chicago, she is the author of two volumes of poetry, most recently The More Car the More Far (Taipei: Garden City Publishers). Many of her poems are inspired by dreams, both by specific dreams she has had but also by the quirky ways in which dreams are cobbled together. Other poems seem to compose themselves when she is seized, for example, by a particular rhyme or alliteration that won’t let her go. Her best poems combine these sources of inspiration and tend to be written in a “white heat” over two or three days. She rarely talks about individual poems, but made an exception in the case of “A Moth Laid Its Eggs in My Armpit, and Then It Died,” when the English translation appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review a few years ago: “I really did have a dream that a moth laid its eggs in my armpit and died. It was just the sort of thing you’d want to call up all your friends and tell them about. That’s why I added all the stuff about phone booths. I’m more interested in playing language games than in communicating ideas or expressing my feelings, but in this case my feelings about telephone booths seem to have crept into the poem. I love a good phone booth and think it is sad how they are all disappearing now that everyone in Taiwan has a cell phone. I suppose you could say ‘Moth’ is a kind of elegy to that vanishing social space.”

Emily Capettini is a fiction writer originally from Batavia, IL. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her fiction has appeared in places like Noctua Review and Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her critical work can be found in Feminisms in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2012) and is upcoming in Neil Gaiman in the Twenty-First Century(McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015). She currently lives in Maryland.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Ye Mimi’s “His Days Go By the Way Her Years”

ye mimi author photo

Translated by Steve Bradbury

In the Mountains Near at Hand

We identify the plants, in the mountains near at hand.
The cigar grass and pencil-box tree, the airy songs of the birds
and sinking lake. The road being quadrangular,
we also sport our floppy hats, to ward off the hard
sun.
When the empty pen & paper squeeze between the trees,
the sublime becomes a kind, green.
The names of all the flowers and plants begin to flicker
but as we climb are soon snuffed out.
“Sniff and see,” he says.
In a torn leaf, a single pupil
burns, burning our far-flung hunger.
In the mountains near at hand,
we identify the plants, moreover eat as many as we
can. The mountain heights are quadrangular too.


This selection comes from Ye Mimi’s chapbook His Days Go By the Way Her Years, available from Anomalous Press. Purchase your copy here!

Ye Mimi is a young Taiwanese poet and filmmaker. A graduate of the MFA Film Studio Program at the Art Institute of Chicago, she is the author of two volumes of poetry, most recently The More Car the More Far (Taipei: Garden City Publishers). Many of her poems are inspired by dreams, both by specific dreams she has had but also by the quirky ways in which dreams are cobbled together. Other poems seem to compose themselves when she is seized, for example, by a particular rhyme or alliteration that won’t let her go. Her best poems combine these sources of inspiration and tend to be written in a “white heat” over two or three days. She rarely talks about individual poems, but made an exception in the case of “A Moth Laid Its Eggs in My Armpit, and Then It Died,” when the English translation appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review a few years ago: “I really did have a dream that a moth laid its eggs in my armpit and died. It was just the sort of thing you’d want to call up all your friends and tell them about. That’s why I added all the stuff about phone booths. I’m more interested in playing language games than in communicating ideas or expressing my feelings, but in this case my feelings about telephone booths seem to have crept into the poem. I love a good phone booth and think it is sad how they are all disappearing now that everyone in Taiwan has a cell phone. I suppose you could say ‘Moth’ is a kind of elegy to that vanishing social space.”

Emily Capettini is a fiction writer originally from Batavia, IL. She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and her fiction has appeared in places like Noctua Review and Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her critical work can be found in Feminisms in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose (McFarland & Company, Inc., 2012) and is upcoming in Neil Gaiman in the Twenty-First Century(McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015). She currently lives in Maryland.