Contemporary Chinese poets: 1

Yan Jun:
Charter Sonnet
(to be read with electric guitar and Marshall amp; also known as ‘Charter 09’)
I demand the abolition of the subway’s automatic ticket checking system,
continuing manual ticket checking until the world ends;
I demand that the whole of mankind have the right to vote for
the president of the United States;
I demand an increase in birth control, the encouragement of
same-sex marriage,and the imposition of fines on heterosexual marriage;
I demand the revision of constitutional law, deleting
all semicolons and series commas;
I demand a ban on mahjong and KTV, the detainment of those who
walk their dogs at 5 a.m., and the holding of regular poetry readings
in police stations;
I demand the abolition of art and of changing one’s life;
I demand that salt be rubbed in wounds, that wine be poisoned, that a
cold ass be pasted on every hot face;
I demand the erection of two amps the size of buildings and the
holding of unattended noise concerts in scenic locales;
I demand that you and I be together, never to be separated;
I demand memories, black flowers, stars that shine above bicycles
and turn into kids’ faces;
I demand the release of imprisoned words like
“your mother’s cunt” and “Jiang Zemin”;
I demand demands, forbidden forbiddenments, annulled annulments,
sneering sneers, and the tying up of the guy who’s always pouring out his heart;
I demand loud singing at the gates of hell and sleeping on the bus;
I demand that we maintain quiet . . .



Born in Lanzhou in 1973, Yan Jun is a poet who’s also

a musician, giving live “hypnotic noise” concerts.

For him, writing poetry is a political act – witness

his list of “demands” in the poem above…



© 2008, Yan Jun

Translation from Chinese:  © 2011, Ao Wang and Eleanor Goodman

Special Thanks to PIW