We took a long layover in Taoyuan, Taiwan in the Zhongli District to enjoy some food and chills before the long-haul flight back to Toronto.

I picked a few snaps from our quick day traipse through the neighbourhood.

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I love the worn-down, grungey vibe of Taiwanese neighbourhoods. The old sleepy urban vibe reminds me something like childhood, something like belonging, something like forgetting.

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The hints of Japanese aesthetic (from the Japanese Occupation) lingering through particularly the older cities in Taiwan, such as Taichung, are little bubbles of the past. Chancing upon these aesthetic gems hidden within the Chinese urban sprawl of the neighbourhood is a moment of the city remembering.

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Speaking of urban sprawl. Neon signs are perhaps THE symbol of Chinese urban nostalgia. Nothing makes me happy the way a crowded block of buildings with strange colour combinations and rusting metal does.

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Even though I can photograph it for a moment, I am still working to bring to words the feeling of watching the tail-ends of luck flutter in the city breeze.

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如今我已不再置身事外,I no longer have to do without now
一切色彩皆已化入 all colours are translated
聲音與氣味。 into sounds and smells.
且如曲調般絕美地 And they ring infinitely sweet
鳴響。like tones.
我何必需要書本呢?Why should I need a book?
風翻動林葉,The wind leafs through the trees;
我知曉他們的話語,and I know what passes there for words,
並時而柔聲覆誦。and sometimes repeat them softly.
而那將眼睛如花朵般摘下的死亡,And Death, who plucks eyes like flowers,
將無法企及我的雙眸… doesn’t find my eyes…
- Rainer Maria Rilke (The Blind Woman)

Translation taken from 地下鐵, by 幾米。

Posted by:jasmine

Jasmine is an editor, poet, and community arts organizer. She comes to poetry by way of Chinese music. This blog is a mapping of ways.

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