‘Empty Chair-ism’ by Yang Xiaobin, translated by Nick Stember1 min read

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Illustration by Erin Taniguchi



In the end, the chair has lost its owner.

The chair grinds out bad cells, the wind on the chair
is caught in the throat as it takes one final breath.

Nightmare finally over, never again will the jailor imagine hearing
the midnight call of the chair.

That chair, buried at last
decorates a future tomb, waiting to be dug up again.

In the end, only the chair’s ghost remains,
taking flight to the Jade Palace, dancing before the throne.

In the end, a lone chair will grow into a forest…





Yang Xiaobin is a poet, critic and graphic artist. He is the author of nine poetry volumes in Chinese and a number of critical/scholarly works, including The Chinese Postmodern (University of Michigan Press, 2002). Having earned his Ph.D. at Yale University and taught at the University of Mississippi, Yang Xiaobin is now Research Professor at Academia Sinica (Taiwan).

Nick Stember is a translator and historian of Chinese comics and science fiction.

Illustration by Erin Taniguchi @erintaniguchi

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