Arguments Worth Having

Art = Absurdity = Provocation = Contemplation = Wisdom = Love

Bukowski Sleeps with the Most Beautiful Woman in Taiwan

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On Sunday, November 20, The Monarch Review announce their debut print edition. I’m honored to be a part of this, and thank editor Jake Uitti for selecting my story, “Bukowski Sleeps with the Most Beautiful Woman in Taiwan.” There will also be a release party at Third Place Books in Ravenna, downstairs at The Pub, 6504 20th Ave. I’ll be there.

In Taiwan I read Bukowski’s The Most Beautiful Woman in Town. I’ve never read the English. Bukowski’s language is simple, guttural, direct, and not to underestimate the difficulties of translation, but I’d bet Bukowski makes for less work than, say, Baudelaire. Below are the first paragraphs, in Chinese and English. As for my Chinese ability, it’s horrendous, it takes me ten times as long to read in Chinese than in English, and I’m so disfluent in the language that I can only manage to fake understanding to get any native speaker to converse with me, but it’s a passion. After attempting to translate the original, and I’m certain I didn’t get everything right, I then set the story in Taiwan with tangible changes. On this I’m half performing artist, half creative artist, but it’s different enough that the Bukowsky estate shouldn’t be bothered terribly.

镇上最美丽的女人: 凯丝是姐妹中最年轻,也是最美丽的一个. 凯丝是镇上最美丽的女孩. 二分之一印第安血统,丰满而有异国情调的胴体, 如蛇般的火热胴体, 还有灵活的眼睛. 凯丝是流畅灵活的火焰. 她就像是肉体困不住的精灵. 她的黑色长发如丝缎, 婉转飘逸如同她的身躯. 她的精神不是非常高昂, 就是非常低落. 凯丝时不走中间路线的. 有人说她疯了. 无趣的人才会这么说. 无趣的人永远无法了解凯丝. 对男人而言, 他似乎只是个性爱机器, 他们才不在乎她疯了没有, 除了少数情况, 当他们准备抓住凯丝时, 凯丝就会流走, 逃脱男人掌握.

“Kai Na was the youngest of three daughters, and the most beautiful. She was most beautiful girl in Taipei, and the most beautiful girl in Taiwan. Half Atayal aborigine, and half Chinese, she had serpentine physique and black eyes, with silk hair that Oriental poets thought extraordinary. Her soul, if not noble, carried a detached air that showed humility. She did not walk down the center path. Some said she was crazy. Usually mediocre people thought this. The men she came across considered her a sexual machine. They did not care if she was crazy…”

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Written by Caleb Powell

November 17, 2011 at 6:17 pm

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