Poem: The Last Graveyard
Ed: This is a poem by Xu Lizhi, a 24 year old worker at a Foxconn factory in Shenzhen who killed himself last September. It was translated at the Nao blog, who are happy with other sites republishing the poems. Over at Beijing Cream, Anthony Tao has also posted another couple.
For context, also check out this interview Alec Ash did a while back with Li Liao, an artist who went undercover at a Foxconn factory. He said of the suicides: "I think it was mostly out of despair ... If they leave they are unemployed, and can only go back to their old homes and start a small business. They feel they have no way out."
"The Last Graveyard"
Even the machine is nodding off
Sealed workshops store diseased iron
Wages concealed behind curtains
Like the love that young workers bury at the bottom of their hearts
With no time for expression, emotion crumbles into dust
They have stomachs forged of iron
Full of thick acid, sulfuric and nitric
Industry captures their tears before they have the chance to fall
Time flows by, their heads lost in fog
Output weighs down their age, pain works overtime day and night
In their lives, dizziness before their time is latent
The jig forces the skin to peel
And while it's at it, plates on a layer of aluminum alloy
Some still endure, while others are taken by illness
I am dozing between them, guarding
The last graveyard of our youth.
– 21 December 2011
We're putting the call out for original poetry submissions. Email us to get in touch with Anthony