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Xu Lizhi (1990-2014): Poet and Foxconn Worker

By Harriet Staff

foxconn63

Libcom.org is a site stocked with resources for strikers, occupiers, and activists worldwide. In a recent post to the site, friends of Xu Lizhi, a Foxconn worker who commit suicide in September at the age of 24, are honoring their friend by publishing translations of his poems into English. Xu Lizhi’s poems reflect on his experiences working in the factory and are published at Libcom.org alongside remembrances written by his friends. A poem by Xu Lizhi, translated into English:

《我就那样站着入睡》
“I Fall Asleep, Just Standing Like That”

眼前的纸张微微发黄
The paper before my eyes fades yellow

我用钢笔在上面凿下深浅不一的黑
With a steel pen I chisel on it uneven black

里面盛满打工的词汇
Full of working words

车间,流水线,机台,上岗证,加班,薪水……
Workshop, assembly line, machine, work card, overtime, wages…

我被它们治得服服贴贴
They’ve trained me to become docile

我不会呐喊,不会反抗
Don’t know how to shout or rebel

不会控诉,不会埋怨
How to complain or denounce

只默默地承受着疲惫
Only how to silently suffer exhaustion

驻足时光之初
When I first set foot in this place

我只盼望每月十号那张灰色的薪资单
I hoped only for that grey pay slip on the tenth of each month

赐我以迟到的安慰
To grant me some belated solace

为此我必须磨去棱角,磨去语言
For this I had to grind away my corners, grind away my words

拒绝旷工,拒绝病假,拒绝事假
Refuse to skip work, refuse sick leave, refuse leave for private reasons

拒绝迟到,拒绝早退
Refuse to be late, refuse to leave early

流水线旁我站立如铁,双手如飞
By the assembly line I stood straight like iron, hands like flight,

多少白天,多少黑夜
How many days, how many nights

我就那样,站着入睡
Did I – just like that – standing fall asleep?

— 20 August 2011

Learn more about Xu Lizhi and read his poems at Libcom.org. We’re grateful to the translators of these poems, who have further illuminated Xu Lizhi’s struggle for English-speaking readers.

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Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 by Harriet Staff.