Monday, December 31, 2018

Why I Do Not Work for the CIA / 我不為 CIA 工作的理由




Why I Do Not Work for the CIA

1.

I do not work for the CIA because I am too dumb
And I am not a Mormon

Besides my patriotism is lacking

I wouldn’t have passed any of their tests

It’s clear I do not work for the CIA

2.

Do I maybe, after all, work for the CIA?
It’s hard to believe I do

I begin my day later than them

And teach language at night

CIA people would be analyzing language
Arabic and Urdu and such

Documents of specs in Chinese

But me I teach language

The CIA wouldn’t be teaching anything
They’d be writing up reports to answer
Yes or No Yes or No

But me I teach and joke with students
Trying always to play out the Maybe

For as long as possible

3.

I keep to myself and drink scotch
This is very CIA

How long have I been CIA now?

4.

I'm damn good at what I do in fact

My Chinese is better than many a fellow agent’s

And my French was once good too

I still get the subjunctive wrong less often than many a Mormon
Who passes me sober in the halls at Langley

5.

I’ve never been to Langley

There's no way I'm CIA

I’d have cracked under pressure sooner
And told everything I know

6.

Though I’ve been under immense pressure at times
And have cracked twice or more
I’ve never quite told everything I know

But it wasn’t because I was holding back

Out of patriotism or to protect some asset
But because I didn’t quite know how to put it
How to frame it I mean

Everything I know

And sometimes I didn’t even know really
That I knew it

7.

This kind of thinking is definitely not CIA

Maybe that’s why I'm such a precious asset to them
They wouldn’t risk me on any small mission
Translating chatter from Urdu

Instead they coddle me

Keep an eye on my drinking

They’ve pared me down to one cigar a day

They’re encouraging me now to find a new health club
Get back in shape like I was

When we were winding down the Cold War

8.

In fact I will not find a new health club

I’m tired of this far-flung Asian assignment

I want them to know it too

I’m tired of the metro ride back and forth

The students half of whom are ADHD

I’m waiting for my station chief finally to have enough of me
And drop word that I’d be better off

Somewhere with more action

Berlin or Rome

Nice would be nice

But I’d settle for Damascus or Tel Aviv

As long as it wasn’t too dangerous

In short somewhere my skills can be used

9.

Now that it’s clear

I’m solid CIA

I must pay off those back taxes soon
Plan a visit to Langley

I must stop messing around with Maybe
And get back to basics

Yes or No

Me or You

One of us is in the wrong here

Eric Mader
* * *

我不為 CIA 工作的理由

一、

我不為 CIA 工作,因為我很笨
而且我不是摩門教徒
加上我那貧乏的愛國情操
鐵定無法通過他們任何一項測驗
顯然我不會為 CIA 工作

二、

又或許我,說到底了,就是在替 CIA 工作?
真叫人難以相信

我白天比他們晚起

晚上還有語文課要教

CIA 那幫人則忙著分析語言
諸如阿拉伯語和烏爾都語
和處理中文計劃書的文件
但我呢我有語文課要教
CIA 倒是什麼課也不教
只顧著把報導整理成文,好回答
是或不是或是或不是
但我呢我有學生要教還要跟學生開玩笑
也要試著沉浸在或許這又或許那的世界裡
越久越好

三、
我獨來獨往,會喝蘇格蘭威士忌
這很 CIA

我 CIA 多久了?

四、
我在工作上其實表現得可圈可點
中文比許多特務同事都要流利
法文也一度說得嚇嚇叫
不像許多經常錯用假設語氣的摩門教徒
後者總一派清醒地與我在蘭利的廊間擦身而過

五、

我沒去過蘭利
不可能是 CIA
稍被施壓我就會崩潰
大事小事都要脫口而出

六、
縱然有時得承受非比尋常的壓力
也崩潰過兩次或超過兩次
我卻未曾供出那些大事小事
倒不是出於愛國情操或是
為了守住某些資產才三緘吾口
我只是不太曉得該如何啟齒
我是說該如何表達
我所知道的一切
有時我甚至無法確定
我真知道那一切

七、

這種思考模式肯定很不 CIA
這或許便是他們視我為 CIA 之寶的緣故
他們不會冒險派我執行不起眼的任務
譯出截獲來的烏爾都語閒聊內容
他們會把我捧在手心
時時留意我又喝了多少
一天只准我抽一根雪茄
現在還鼓勵我找家新的健身俱樂部
好找回往日的健美
就我們準備結束冷戰那時期

八、
但我才不想找什麼新的健身俱樂部
我受夠這無窮無盡的亞洲任務了
我想讓他們也明白這一點
我受夠搭地鐵通勤往返
我的學生有半數是過動兒

我在等我 CIA 的駐派國代表終於也受夠了我
並呈報說為了我好
應該派我出去跑跑
看是柏林還是羅馬
尼斯的話就有意思了
但即便是大馬士革或特拉維夫我也絕無怨言
只要那邊不會太危險就好
只要是個能讓我發揮所長的地方就好

九、
既然一切都已水落石出
我就是如假包換的 CIA
那我得儘快繳清積欠的稅款
也該跑一趟蘭利
別再或許這又或許那地扯個沒完
我得回歸基本面
是或不是
我或你
總有一個人搞錯了

枚德林
* * *

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

OBASAN! 歐巴桑! (英/中)



Obasan #7

Taipei. I was sitting atop a cement traffic pylon near a busy intersection. It was just before class and I was smoking one of my mini-cigars before going in to teach. I had my umbrella leaned against the pylon—not a very good umbrella, the handle kept coming off and I needed to get a new one when I had the chance. 

A well-dressed 60-something woman came by me with a little caramel-colored dog on a pink leash. The dog was sniffing the base of my pylon and I was thinking: “This obasan is NOT going to let her dog piss on the pylon while I’m sitting on it.” 

Of course I was wrong. The dog started pissing, the stream of piss just missing my umbrella. I didn’t look at the woman, but kept my eye on the dog to let her know I saw how rude she was being. 

And the dog, no more than a foot tall, just kept up its pissing. Its piss flowed voluminously, amazing for such a small dog, until a broad puddle had formed just under me. 

Then the woman went on her way. 

As I stood up to go, not a minute later, my leg nudged the umbrella and it fell flat into the puddle. I decided to leave it there. 

I crossed the street and went into a little bakery to get something to eat. I hadn’t had time for dinner. Coming out, I saw the woman circling back with the dog. She looked at my umbrella lying in the piss, then looked round to see if I was still nearby, then reached down carefully to pick up the umbrella. She’d decided to take it! 

Pulling a few sheets of tissue from her high-end, oversized purse, she began to wipe the piss off the umbrella. I watched her from the shade of the bakery awning. When she was done wiping off the piss, she continued on her way, heading home with her dog and my umbrella. 

But she carried the umbrella by its handle. And the handle came off in her hand, the umbrella itself dropping to the ground. 

Surprised, she glanced round again, to see if anyone was watching, then looked down at the umbrella at her feet. Finally, in a gesture of frustration, she tossed the handle down next to it. She continued on her way home. 

Very OBASAN! Yes, very very OBASAN!

-----

我哈台灣奧巴桑

一、
好啦你最了不起啦擋在旋轉式柵門的入口前翻找包包裡的悠遊卡彷彿天底下就你一個人而已嘛後面六個人全都擠在那邊過不去嘛你還瞥了我一眼好像在說「我都五十六歲了一 手養大兩個兒子其中一個還是台大畢業的老娘讓個屁路!」哎喲台大是嗎啊不就好厲害陳水九騙的母校嘛我上班快遲到了一邊涼快去啦奧巴桑

二、
我每逢星期六就只能抓緊下課時間去買杯咖啡喝或許只 有三個人在排隊吧兩個奧巴桑加一個男人那兩個奧巴桑跟 櫃檯小姐說拿鐵會比卡布奇諾大杯嗎?對了刷什麼什麼卡是 不是可以打折?哦等等哦我有帶什麼什麼卡阿娘喂2%的折扣溜我來找一下卡什麼星巴克又出全新系列的隨行卡了哦那 我先前那張隨行卡裡面的點數還能用嗎裡面還有一些點數咦 有折扣嗎朵拉你看星巴克新推出的隨行卡溜(開始討論新舊 隨行卡哪張比較美老天饒了我吧)要不要買張新的你覺得咧 你覺得這張顏色好看嗎小姐你們有別的顏色可以挑嗎好了朵拉你要喝拿鐵還是卡布奇諾哎喲他們有聖誕節限定的噁心巴 拉摩卡溜這下好了已經有七個人被她們堵在後面了既然肢體 暴力在這個城市屬於犯法行為我就撤了我就兩步做一步直奔 Cama Café 去了我去你們的奧巴桑

三、
我要買體香劑就我太太只喜歡的那一款可現在是我的午休時間還有位要買兩小罐護膚乳液的奧巴桑就站在結帳櫃檯前然後櫃檯小姐說小姐(!)現在只要多花八百塊就能獲得這張價值五百元的折扣禮券明年就可以用啦奧巴桑在考慮了我還不清楚接下來會怎樣嗎老子二話不說揚長而去

四、
我在 7-11 正打算買點薄荷糖就發現結帳隊伍裡連續排 了三個奧巴桑而且最前面的奧巴桑已經跟櫃檯小姐吵了起來 說便當不是要比結帳金額便宜個三塊錢嗎那奧巴桑邊指著發 票邊說啊櫥窗上的海報不是寫便當只要多少錢喂喂我難道得 在這邊聽她高談闊論不成何況她後面還有兩個奧巴桑在等我 沒吃薄荷糖又不會少塊肉閃人了閃人了

五、
我有件包裹要寄去紐約結果人一進郵局就看見現場排了兩組人馬其中一排有五個人不過都是男性和女職員另一排則是兩個分別抱著一小件包裹的奧巴桑我可沒那麼傻我走向那 支排了五個人的隊伍然後哈沒想到吧我寄了包裹錢也找好了隔壁排的第二位奧巴桑還在那邊郵資哪個方案怎樣又怎樣問個沒完媽呀!

六、
隔天,我們一行七人緊緊挨在擁擠的捷運車廂裡面對車 門站著。我們這群人稍後就會一片黑壓壓地蜂湧而出,準 備下車轉乘綠線。我身後有個奧巴桑,穿著花俏橘襯衫。奧 巴桑這邊推那邊擠,試圖從我們之中開出一條路— 就因為 她已經,呃,五十七歲了?她好像迫不及待要下車,好像等 不及要奔向某個地方的收銀機,隨便什麼地方的收銀機。她 拚了命想擠過去,那可惡至極的超大 LV 包的金色搭扣也開 始勾住我樸素包包上的黑色帶子。我也下車— 我嘟噥著中 文。她沒抬頭看,也沒搭腔,倒是露出若有似無的淺笑。她瞇起了眼在計算,過分嫣紅的嘴角嵌著一小滴晶瑩剔透的口水。我知道她腦子裡正轉著會員卡、折價券、禮券、贈品的畫面。八秒之後,她又試圖從我們之中穿過去,即使用膝蓋想也知道我們會在這站下車。我也下車!我又說了一遍。我也下車,奧巴桑!

Eric Mader
枚德林

-----

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Monday, December 17, 2018

累死父路三段


C'est moi.

1. 是的,作為一個在這裡生活了數十年的西方人,我確實愛台北和台灣。但當然有一些事情令人討厭。這就是任何地方的情況。我有一些建議。今天我一直在記下他們。

2. 台北捷運不允許吸煙是合理的。但我認為每年應該有一天允許吸煙。事實上,在那一天,捷運上每個人都得吸菸,這樣才公平。

3. 這條規則將普遍適用。這意味著:在那一天,兒童 - 是的,甚至是嬰兒 - 都要在捷運上吸煙。

4. 吸著古巴雪茄的人可以免費乘坐。

5. 你能看如果我是台北市長的話會有多有趣嗎?

6. Louis Vuitton 的包包很醜陋。在台北有太多LV包包了。我知道在其他亞洲城市情況更糟。不過台北還是要改革。我自己不跟那些背著LV包的女人說話。我都不甩她們。LV包越大,這個規則就越適用。

7. Hermès,Michael Kors,Fendi - 這些品牌的是可以接受的。快丟掉你們的LV包包。你甚至在想什麼?

8.既然你的垃圾車已經有音樂,為什麼沒有一些有live音樂的垃圾車呢?卡車上設置一個小舞台,當垃圾車沿路開過時,樂團就會開始演奏。

9. 這樣可能還會創造出一種新的本土音樂類型。

10. 台北的交通不是很好,但並不是太糟糕。台北最差的車手是男人。這並不奇怪。但在台北,我發現,最糟糕的車手位於階級差距的兩端。所以:在台北,你會看到那些駕駛黑色賓士的男人,以及駕駛小藍色卡車的男人,在影響台北的交通。

11. 那些開黑色賓士的混蛋顯然認為他們太重要了,不用遵守交通規則。至於藍色卡車司機,他們似乎不知道這個城市甚至有他媽的交通規則。

12. 通過車輛識別這兩類駕駛員後,應該被法律強制每年在中央公共廣場聚集一次,只穿著內衣,進行公開體罰。

13. 體罰必須進行電視轉播。

14. Sogo 電梯非常慢。當電梯有電梯小姐工作時,電梯甚至動得更慢。沒有人他媽的需要電梯小姐,好嗎?

15. 幾天前,我突然意識到那個在羅斯福路上用木板拖車推著自己賣抹布的老人,他在二十年間完全沒有改變。太不可思議了。我開始懷疑他是一個被派到這裡監視我們的外星人。

16. 奇怪的是,今天早上我在廣福南路的車上看到了他跟他的小拖車。他們可能不止一個嗎?

17. 今天在捷運上,我看到一個約22歲,看起來傷心又面露恐懼的女人,她抱著一個藍色毯子,裡面抱著嬰兒,偶爾來回搖晃。這個女人衣著整潔,看起來很正常,除了悲傷的表情以外。

18. 當我靠近時,我意識到這實際上並不是真正的嬰兒,而是一個完全逼真的真人大小的人造嬰兒。它是某種塑料。我們目光接觸了幾秒鐘,我很想問她發生了什麼事,但由於她嚴肅的表情,我決定不這樣做。

19. 現在我不能不再想她了。當她搖晃那個嬰兒時,從她身上散發出一種奇怪的沮喪光環 - 讓她一直困擾著我。她正在做某種精神治療嗎?

20. 想著抱著假嬰兒的女孩比想著拖車上賣抹布的男人更難過。

21. 我在其他地方寫過關於家貓的邪惡,貓在台灣很受歡迎,所以我不會在這裡添加任何關於這個主題的東西。當然,一般來說,貓應該是非法的。

22. 我向北跋渉,天氣變冷了。河流被冰覆蓋,我釣不到什麼魚。當我受苦時,怪物很高興。他寫道:“這只是一個開始!你將遭受更多的苦痛!"

23. 噢,讚美寒冷的北方!

Eric Mader 枚德林

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

大腸王: Taipei Statements 12/07/18




1. Yes, as a Westerner who’s lived here decades, I do love Taipei, and Taiwan in general. But of course there are some things that irk. That’s how it is with any place. And I have some suggestions. Today I’ve been jotting them down.

2. That smoking is not allowed on the Taipei MRT is reasonable. I get it. But I think there should be one day every year when smoking is allowed. In fact, on that day, smoking should be required on the MRT, just to balance things out.

3. This rule would be universally applicable. Which means: On that day children--yes, even babies--would be required to smoke on the MRT. 



4. Those smoking Cuban cigars would ride free.  



5. You see how interesting things would be if I were in charge? 



6. Louis Vuitton bags are ugly and crass. There are too many in Taipei. I know it’s worse in other Asian cities, but still. I myself do not speak to women carrying LV bags. I will not give such women the time of day. The larger the LV bag, the more this rule applies. 



7. Hermès, Michael Kors, Fendi--all these bags are acceptable. But dump the LV bags. What were you even thinking?

8. Since your garbage trucks here already have music, why not have some garbage trucks with live music? There could be a little stage on top of the truck. The band would crank out tunes as the garbage collectors made their way from neighborhood to neighborhood.

9. A new local musical genre might arise. 



10. Taipei traffic isn’t great, but it’s not horrendous. The worst drivers in Taipei are men. No surprise there. But in Taipei, I’ve discovered, the very worst drivers are situated at opposite ends of the class spectrum. In Taipei, taking the cake as very worst drivers, there are the men who drive the black Mercedes, and the men who drive those little blue pick-up trucks. 


11. The assholes in the black Mercedes clearly think they’re too important to follow traffic rules. As for the blue pick-up drivers, they seemingly don’t know the city even has traffic rules. 



12. These two classes of drivers, to be identified by vehicle, should be compelled by law to gather once a year in some central public square, dressed only in their underwear, for a ritual public beating.  



13. The beatings must be televised. 

14. Sogo elevators are hellishly slow. When they have the elevator girls working them, they’re even slower. Nobody fucking needs elevator girls, okay?



15. A few days ago, I suddenly realized that the old guy who pulls himself along on a cart on Roosevelt Rd. selling washcloths has not changed one tiny bit in twenty years. Which is impossible. I'm starting to suspect he is an alien sent here to spy on us. 



16. Oddly, this morning I saw him on his cart on Guangfu S. Rd. Is there maybe more than one?  



17. Today on the MRT I saw a sad, frightened-looking woman about 22 who was cradling a baby in a blue blanket, occasionally rocking the baby back and forth. The woman was well dressed, and seemed normal, except for the sad look. 



18. When I got closer, I realized it wasn’t actually a baby she held, but a perfectly realistic life-sized artificial baby. It was plastic of some kind. We made eye contact for a few seconds, and I was tempted to ask her what was up, but because of her serious look I decided not to.  



19. Now I can’t stop thinking about her. The odd aura of dejection that emanated from her as she rocked that baby--it’s stuck in my mind. Was it some kind of therapy she was doing?   



20. To contemplate the girl cradling the fake baby is far sadder than to contemplate the disabled man on his cart selling washcloths.  



21. I’ve written elsewhere on the utter evil of house cats, an unfortunately popular thing in Taiwan, so I will add nothing on that subject here. Of course, in general, cats should be outlawed.



22. As I traveled north, the weather became colder. The rivers were covered with ice, and I could get no fish. The monster was happy when I suffered. In one message he wrote: “This is just the beginning! You will suffer much more than this!”  



23. Oh, for the frozen north! 

Eric Mader
枚德林

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