This deceptively simple question is a brilliant attack which renders the vulnerable heart defenseless and the methodological conceit ridiculous. What haunts me or my work unendingly can't be located in a singular image, action, object, activity, or a specific sense-memory. Instead it's a collection, composite, or superimposition of elements of all of the above which have accumulated through some crucial period of time. Literarily I would like to identify this first five-year period as that from roughly the second half of the 19th to first half of the 23rd year of my life in China, with its most intense physical symptoms manifest in the first and last years. Suddenly everything, everybody around you turned strange: friends were or were to be scattered across the country and beyond, people who remained with you and who you used to know you don't know anymore. Flooded by strangers, you're left alone completely and absolutely. The final scene of the film "One and Eight": a criminal-turned anti-Japanese soldier of the Eight Route Army shot with one of his last two bullets his female comrade who was to be captured by Japanese soldiers. The despair in gauging the distribution and strength of external loads/forces. The helplessness and confusion in identifying the paths of transmission of the external forces through the mechanical assembly, through your mind. Suddenly you needed mirrors. The conscious turn to literature and philosophy scrambled for explanation, to relieve the unbearable internal stresses. The dusted cover of "World as Will and Representation." The abused pages of "Conflict of Ideals." The critiques of the truths of Marxism and the total negation of the Cultural Revolution became fashionable among emerging intellectual elites and so-called avant-garde writers which have persisted and gradually dominated the cultural discourses until this day. You had most intimate contacts with the lawns, the man-made lake in the park, and flowers in the botanic garden. A long and strenuous biking trip to the Daoist Mountain and a sleepless night on the bench in the park. Instead of concentrating on the thesis you conceived a theory of elastic differential geometry. A yellow skirt. A skirt with imprints of many-colored flowers. You kept searching for the song of innocence. You listened to Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, Beethoven, Mozart, Grieg, and Stravinsky, among others. But words were just so difficult to utter. Yet you managed to scribble after T. S. Eliot a free verse which was dismissed immediately by the committee, and a short poem strictly according to the metric and rhyme scheme from the Song Dynasty. Children in the semi-mountainous area can be really mean where most people don't want any drastic change. You realized that painting may not be the bottom rung in the ladder of arts as put by Hegel. Women in women's oil paintings have a special appeal. Still all these seemed uneventful until the future event swept, guided and shaped you like a pilot wave, with little time or room to think but to walk and shout and shoot pictures along the way, not to mention to write about it. Yet you are never ashamed of those failures and humiliation. Had this happened before? Yes, much earlier. If you thought hard about it only much later. You're freaked out and perplexed by the piercing first cries of a little girl out of womb inside a cave. Left alone in a cave in the field you're scared to death by the imaginary wolf's howl in the rain. You gazed at the wall papers of stills from the filmed ballet "Red Detachment of Women." You wiped the tears continuously with handkerchief when the whole class was watching the North Korean film "Flower Girls." Like the mushrooms flowering among wild grass and tree stubs in a huge deserted pit. Fallen poplar trees. The heavy glasses on her small face. Or the skirts fluttering on the open truck and waves of laughter accompanying them. No. You couldn't see objects in the distance anymore and you needed glasses. The first short story you wrote was about a stoker. The red plum flowers on a red crag. The uneasiness after you ignored the essay requested personally by the high school teacher on Hegel and instead single-mindedly traced bridges and fingered holes in topology. Did it happen after? Again and again. And it's happening now. For some time you have begun to suspect the business-as-usual poetry readings and poetics talks, the church hall or bars you used to frequent where such readings and talks happen, poets who introduced you to the scenes and poets you used to listened to. Suddenly you got obsessed with all kinds of telescopes. You preferred the darkness among strangers in movie theaters. Because you had difficulty to read books up close or there's nothing to read? But the words of Karl Marx and Mao Zedong have slowly revived and gained new force and meaning. The halos around Buddha and Jesus have faded quietly. After attending almost all of the live performances of Steve Reich's work in the span of a month or so, you realized how lifeless they can be. You doubt that the celebrated gestures of "rethinking" can well be masks of reiterating, rephrasing, reinforcing, restraining, or repressing. To reach the initial conditions of the present crisis on foot, by bike, by bus, by train, by plane, by rocket, by ground-based and space-based telescopes, by typing. No, they are not initial conditions but correspondences, correlations, clandestine collaborations, and violent confrontations and collisions. You recalibrate the boundary conditions of language games, of appropriation, conceptual, and procedural exercises. You reformulate the constitutive relationship of the body politic, of quantum subjectivity in a protracted war. You reexamine the equivalence between gravitational mass and inertia mass from the quantum point of view. You elaborate the production processes of heavy elements. Information can't be destroyed in a black hole. And black holes are hairy. You want to prove the impossibility of naked singularity and individuality, yet the necessity of individuality of a work of art. There's no nude in "Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2." Every work of Beethoven is different and John Cage was wrong or just stupid in dismissing them as the same. Every artistic creation is necessarily an act of violence. Massive destruction is the prerequisite for reconstruction. You can't forget the factories, railways, and housing projects and the workers populate them in Wang Bing's nine-hour documentary epic "Tie Xi Qu." You can't forget the powerful images at the end of Pudovkin's "Mother." You can't forget the scene of the dying mother lying on bed, her sick son sitting besides her with bundles of flowers in his arm in Pierre Clementi's "Sun," and the execution by sword at the guillotin and murder by knife in the bathtub in his "In the Shadow of the Blue Scoundrel." Yet the most intimate, humane and moving way of killing has to be strangling. You don't think the court scenes in Peter Watkins' "Punishment Park" are purely fiction. You want to find a new purpose of writing, of biking, of shooting. To escape to the darkroom is not admission of defeat but merely a change of direction of your attack. Rotation is the most fundamental mode of motion. The best time to walk and think is the hour immediately after sunset around the almost circular man-made lake in Flushing Meadow-Corona Park. More accurately, in Mexico. Around a supermassive black hole rotates an accretion disk of infalling matters where new stars are bursting into existence and where groups of four, of girls of 13 and 19 and women of 31 and 69, in large numbers, are dancing, while the powerful radio-loud relativistic jet, along the rotation axis, shoots out and stretches hundreds of thousands of light-years. It's the jet of love. Love born in the revolution. Love composed of iron nuclei and protons. The most beautiful hour is that before sunrise when you're awaken from dream. The most beautiful song is "Internationale," in any language. If poetry leaves the young completely cold, then let there be no poetry. Poets die young. Poetry dies younger. He remember. He remember.

Regaining North

by Shanxing Wang

In the summer heat his six-year-old bare upper body shivering the boy poured one basin of water after another from the muddy stream into the dry cornfield and in between paddled with other village school children till dusk till it rained. This was only after his repeated pleas the day before. At the foot of the barren hills to the east of the head of water, inside the dark depth of the cave lighted by a flickering kerosene lamp, on the header of whose door stuck the black characters "active counterrevolutionary" on the rectangular piece of red paper, under Papa's wintry stare that struggled to keep focused after a long day of forced laboring in the field of the People's Commune, having rubbed the black ink stick on the ink stone for half an hour the boy obediently practiced dot, horizontal, vertical, right-to-left and left-to-right diagonal strokes, breathing the stinky ink fragrance and secretly asking himself "Who is Li Ni the little Guangzhou girl with short pigtails?" She among the successors of the revolution cursive-scripted like Chairman Mao "Mountains! I whip my swift horse on, glued to the saddle." Like the sun at 8am or 9am she wrote in cursive-script "I turn my head startled, the sky is three feet and three inches above me!"

Under the high sun of October, 1972 on the horse-drawn cart trotting on the dusty and bumpy country road he read My Childhood.

Mama's coarsening hand shaved his head and then led the shiny head that couldn't tell north south west east, proceeding straight forward, then turning left and then turning right into a classroom in the Southwest Elementary School, and the head was suddenly buried in a burst of laughter out of 20 plus small mouths around the green ping pong table as the make-shift desk. The ping pong fever had earlier in the year swept the paper tiger Richard Nixon into Beijing where the Cultural Revolution had lost its momentum. It was not the typhoon as portrayed in his picture book. Tornado erupted and earth turned and heaven turned. Poplars were screaming were moaning on campus. After school in the recently rehabilitated Papa's middle school office he silently repeated brush moves tracing the red characters neatly confined in squares below the white rice paper, and then silently counted the red circles marking some finished characters on yesterday's rice paper. Every time he skipped the daily routine the evening beating always fell on his left palm so that it wouldn't affect his right-handed calligraphic practice next day. This rough fatherly love was too hard for him to appreciate. The first song had no name. The first movie had no name. Walking out of the theater after a movie he couldn't find Didi's hand in his hand.

On May Day holding the shaky old furniture that stood on the open bed of the Liberation truck he helplessly saw Didi wailing his straw hat blowing in the north wind but couldn't see the end of the spiraling highway until they're suddenly at the foot of the famous Mountain Heng.

You cried out loud in class for the first and only time not because some classmates picked on you - the new comer - and beat you up again, but because you couldn't sing the song being examined. Why were they singing a different song? Your heart cried for the second time not because of the continuation of early summer drizzle, nor trotting from school to home, nor the big G of the first "Three G" student certificate hidden beneath your coat, but because of Papa's scolding "Don't you want to get sick running in the rain?"

While the brand new red scarf sustained teacher Hao's tigerish fist his still dashing heart prayed "Red Ear, lighter. Red Ear, will you let me explain? Will you?"

"Traitor Lin Biao and Confucius, both bastards!"

Red Ear and his accomplices bent down their lordly heads stooping before the wall covered with big-character posters and drowning in the sonic tide of the uprising big brothers and sisters of the fifth grade outside occupied and then abandoned classrooms.

Didi quit ping pong in less than a month, bored by daily repetitive drills and hypnotized by the sounds of "ping" and "pong" in the Children's Palace. To counterattack the right-deviationist reversal-of-verdicts trend, play "taking Tiger Mountain by strategy," or tail after bigger children in the open field.

At 15 he left home heading south for the far-away ancient city. The Yellow River does come from the sky, when you look at it from the train crossing the Fenglingdu Bridge above the river.

Light rain wets everything on the heavenly streets like butter. The lotus leaflet barely pushes its sharp tip out of the water.

He chose the fast attack style with the penhold grip because he had practiced too many straight strokes in the regular script. He gave up the regular script practice there and then because he immediately hooked up with the art of war against the mobile enemy across the ping pong table. It's essential to tell who and where the enemy is at any moment in a war. Writing is war, a protracted war. A poetic manifesto is necessarily a declaration of war. And a pen is as important a weapon as any gun or bomb. The switch to the shakehand grip in 2000 would prove to be a huge disappointment for him. Like the bad weld in the superconducting wire connecting two magnets which caused damage in 53 magnets on September 19, 2008 and put the LHC offline for nearly a year, just nine days after the facility circulated its first particle beams. Like the bad music of Tan Dun. Concerto for Six. Silk Road. Secret Land for 12 Violoncelli. Violin Concerto "The Love." Pretentiousness. Sleekness. Predictability. Nothingness. Bad no matter how hard Mr. Tan swung the baton and lauded the Juilliard School and its Orchestra and the violin virtuoso Cho-Liang Lin. Bad because nothing was at stake. That's exactly why 200 plus non-ticket holders waited in the line outside the transparent glass wall of the newly-renovated Alice Tully Hall on a chilly Monday evening. 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Olympic bad. Oscar bad. Grammy bad. Grawemeyer bad. English bad. French bad. Bad bad.

On July 11 at Mama's between A & B the Greek actor/poet Ni announced she is flying to Athens, Greece, staying there for two months and then flying to Paris in September to start a new performing career there, after living and acting for more than a decade in the city. No questions were asked about the reason why she was leaving. Not a word mentioning or hinting the students in Athens last December or the French youth in autumn 2007. The $160 one-way ticket was really cheap, but you had to stop and change planes in London. The drizzle had turned into moderate but persistent rain when they parted at the subway entrance past midnight.

Both excessive obsession with external form and its slight often betray absence of inner necessity. To produce more curvature for the projected shot you need only to spin the ball harder by restructuring your stroke. To defend the weak position when you move from right back to left you have to invent a new stroke with another sheet of rubber on the back side of the racket. The Men's Singles final at the 11th National Games clearly showed this again in Qingdao on October 2. This is how you make revolutions: loop (sentences) and lob (big characters). Don't ever shake hands with your enemy.

Etymologically, revolution is a return of the movement to the point of departure, a circulation. By sending tens of millions of urban revolutionary youth to the countryside after December, 1968, the late stage of the Cultural Revolution already undid itself, not that the countryside was inherently counterrevolutionary, but that removal of the vital force of youth from the front lines of battle did the irreversible damage.

The beauty of autumn in New York diminishes exponentially after it was transposed from FM radio-wave in Beijing in October, 1990 to YouTube in NYC in October, 2009. Master Light, you are in the late stage and you are already done for. To hold your ground and fight to the end, or to leave and found new bases: this is the question.

In the ancient city, September rain never ends. On the main roads roofed by the spreading and overlapping thick Wutong leaves in a high arc he could never again see the sun that never set. His first childhood had ended at 13, or 11.

30 years of counterrevolution. 30 years of united counterrevolution. 30 years in the east bank of the river of capital, 30 years in the west bank of the river of capital. The only things remain unchanged are the tan, the hat, and the man of the biggest banks.

To resolve the contradiction between sun and rain, you must change the location of your observation with regard to the position of the sun. If it still shines. This is by no means reconciliation. For example, the double rainbow in the sky on your drive in Houston on a late afternoon in late August.

In late August, Ma & Pa finally left for Datong after three years' bathing in the California sun with the little grandchildren in the sun room of the single-detached house. To cure the symptoms of chronic cold under another Chinese sun. To tend the pending demolishment of their downtown home. There will be no great harmony as signified by the great name of the city.

Last September in Cambridge for the first time scientists observed ferromagnetic behaviour in an atomic gas of Li cooled to 150 billionth of 1K, similar to a magnet made of Fe or Ni. Not that town of dons and dummies across the Atlantic, but the one here in the north. "How do you engage the English students in poetry based on your first encounter with them just before the end of history?" The mechanism of ferromagnetism is to align the atoms so the spins of unpaired electrons are parallel. The revolutionary nature of optical fibres got its long overdue Swedish recognition on October 6. But not the above message that was transmitted via it. AB, this is the 20,000km loop to reach your cherished woods.

Last September in Grenoble and Berlin independently they claimed to have observed for the first time the magnetic monopole such as magnetic north in single crystal spin ice Ho2Ti2O7 and Dy2Ti2O7. When the crystals were chilled to 0.6K and 2K respectively, they seemed to fill with tiny single points of north and south separated by fractions of a nanometer. The method doesn't bring a north into existence without also generating a south—the key is their dissociation. This is not another example of individualism. Embrace winter, increase external field strength, disentangle, and strike the center position slightly to the right.

Facing north you go sideways westward to arrive eventually in Baotou, Inner Mongolia. Just to the west of the Taihang Mountains a Li-alloyed patch of scarlet at daybreak has been beckoning a giant rainbow since July 14, 2009. To the west of the Taihang Mountains, 2,598 coal mines are being consolidated and to some degree nationalized into 1,053 mines. On your way to the west make stops in Santa Cruz, and Berkeley for that matter.

Solidarity requires solids as prerequisites. If a global single crystal of rare earth oxide on earth is pure fantasy, then strong networks of annealed and realigned polycrystals or quasi-crystals of consciousness will get the ball turning. A battering heart must go hand in hand with an untracold head. Go, Li-ion batteries.

In the cave the six-year-old boy mastered the first productive skill - to start the fire in the built-in stove attached to the head of the family-size bed made of sun-dried, unburned bricks of clay and straw, and sustain the fire by blowing the bellows to help Mama cook millet porridge. It was almost scandalously sensuous to observe the flame's fluctuating spatial, spectral and temporal patterns and to be able to effect immediate changes to it with your right arm's repeated piston strokes.

Struggle to square the circle again, despite many failures of Hobbes.