Insomnia’s Spring (失眠弹簧)

Little iron spring. Heavy.

Earlobes, heavy.

Nose, quite heavy. Sinus infection, severe.

Severe to critical.


Little iron spring. Light.

Mosquitoes, light. Chugging fan blades,

surely light. Traditional medicinal drops for the eyes,

very (to extremely) light.


So, between light and heavy

my soul escapes upward.



Translator’s Note:

Yang Qingxiang’s poems have garnered critical acclaim for their unabashed portrayal of the crises facing Chinese Millennials today: poor living situation, medical care, education, and chronic lack of sleep. His poems combine these social themes with a deeply personal reflection of national identity.



Yang Qingxiang (born 1980) is an Associate Professor of Literature at the Renmin University in Beijing. He is considered a representative of the New Scar Literature Movement. Yang is the youngest member on the judges’ panel for the 9th Mao Dun Prize, the most important literary award in China. His first poetry collection has sold more than ten thousand copies, making him one of the best-selling poets of the Chinese millennial generation.


Frank F. Zhang is a chemist and translator. He received his BA in English from Shanghai Normal University and MS in Chemistry from Ohio University. He has worked for both Chinese and American chemical companies. In his free time, he enjoys classical music and traveling around the globe.



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