Franz Kafka (briefly) Interviews Tao Qian
Anywhere there is water
There I dip my line
Life can reside in depths
Truth is a bad deal, my friend,
It ruptures the Bohemian night
Fuzzy Wuzzy was he
But logically he was not he
My line drifts
Neither Franz Kafka nor Tao Qian knew of each other nor cared about fame. And they lived literally worlds apart in time and space. What follows is a brief fictional interview:
F: Are you afraid of roaches?
T: Of the kind that moved about, only the kind that moves in high places. I smoke them out.
They pass legislations and suddenly illegal becomes legal, etc. They eat a meal, walk then as
far as half a block, and then eat another meal.
F: I understand that you are a famous poet in China. Is that correct?
T: Look at it this way, my friend, if you are a successful traveling salesman of restaurant
cookware, then I am a poet who has drowned himself many times in wine.
F: I understand you gave up a government post to become a rustic farmer of chrysanthemums.
T: Yes, my friend, just as you prefer Prague coffeehouses, I prefer anonymity amongst village
dung. Confucius said there is beauty in all, except some fail to see it.
F: Thank you, my friend, I must go see my friend Max now.
T: Good-bye, my friend, when you come this way again, look for the house surrounded by five
Epilogue: Friends can be as eloquent as the long Great Wall of China or as terse as a legal brief.
You can hear each murmur in a crowded courtroom or the silence of a bamboo leaf.
- Koon Woon, March 6, 2020