I was asked this summer, after my birthday, around mid August, to go up to Nan San (mountain) and perform something with Chongqing’s most famous and prestigious painter, Master Feng, famous for his paintings of grapes. I wasn’t really sure what it would be like, or what to do, or why I would be there at all, but I agreed in the spirit of cooperation, and the mountain is a lovely place to spend a day, anyway.

I decided to rework a poem, to fit the occasion, and performed it with Shaolin’s help, translating to Chinese for the crowd. Later, Master Feng gave a group of about 30 children a masterclass on grape painting, and then they all did a great (grape) job of painting their own bouquets of fruit.

After, we had a nice lunch, of wild mushroom soup, gathered by hand from the mountain, and were treated to a local Tujia people song.

Here’s the poem, Chongqing Juicy Grapes.

Chongqing Juicy Grapes – Jorah Kai

I pass the time browsing    

a little story,       

Chewing the words. 

over and over.    

It feels like I’m chewing     

the same perfect grape     

around my tongue  

over and over.   

I stroll around my tidy home on the side of a mountain

and leave its essence dripping

through the air in every room.

I perspire full-grown grapes at the gym and recite it.

I read it from HongYaDong bluffs into the river’s swollen belly.

I rap out the cadence onto a cupboard bursting with treasured books.

And when my two dogs look up at me,

I bow down to the floor

and whisper into four long, curious ears.

One is old and remembers.

The other is young and eager to understand.

I read it without listening,

I discover it without speaking it at all.

Billy asked me, did you take it? 

I did, I made it mine to take.

It’s about a little piece of cotton 

bound around my face.

Every time, I feel its touch 

against my lips, 

against my chin,

when I say it out the window,

that embrace travels around the world,

a message of hope.

Like a bird, with papery wings,

and in its beak, a bunch of 

juicy Chongqing grapes.

重庆多汁葡萄 – 王凯

我在浏览的时候    

一个小故事。      

咀嚼着这句话。

一遍又一遍。   

这感觉就像我在咀嚼     

同根生,相煎何太急     

绕舌  

一遍又一遍。  

我漫步在山边整洁的家门口

淋漓尽致

通过每个房间的空气。

我在健身房汗流满面的葡萄,背诵它。

我在洪崖洞峭壁上对着河水膨胀的肚子念。

我把节奏说唱出来,放到一个装满宝书的柜子上。

而当我的两只狗抬头看我时。

我跪在地上

并对着四只长长的、好奇的耳朵低语。

一个是老的,记得。

另一个是年轻的,渴望了解。

我看了不听。

我发现它的时候,根本没有说出来。

比利问我,你拿了吗?

我拿了,我把它变成我的了。

它是关于一小块棉花 

绑在我的脸上。

每一次,我都能感觉到它的触感 

对我的嘴唇。

靠着我的下巴。

当我对着窗外说的时候。

拥抱环游世界的。

一个希望的信息。

就像一只鸟,长着纸质的翅膀。

在它的嘴里,有一串 

多汁的重庆葡萄。