Everything in the prison is grey. The walls are grey. The floors are grey. The metal fence is grey. And it is loud. There are shouts and sounds of fighting from the men behind bars. But one room in the prison is very different. In this room, spoken words bring colour and life. Here, a few men gather to listen to spoken word poetry. This kind of poetry is not only words on paper. It also includes performance - the way the words sound out loud. The men listen to another prisoner perform his poem:
if your world is black and white 你的世界若是黑白色 let me bring the colour 让我带给你缤纷的色彩 … let's get back to the cause 让我们回到那最初的本意 let's get back to these walls 让我们回到这些墙壁 built to separate and create hate 乃为了隔离而兴建，造出了怨恨 built to execute and create waste 为了处决行刑而兴建，造出了废人 so i write from a place of pure bass 我从这纯粹的低音中写这诗 all the elements put together to produce faith. 所有的元素结合造就了信心
These are the words of Kosal Khiev. His spoken word poetry has helped many people, including himself. He began writing in prison, but later, he performed for the world.
这些诗句是由Kosal Khiev 所写的。他的口语诗帮助了他自己及许多的人。他一开始是在狱中着手写诗，但后来，他却在全世界各地朗诵表演口语诗。
Khiev began writing and performing poetry in a prison in the United States. But he was not a citizen of the United States. Khiev was born in a refugee camp between the borders of Cambodia and Thailand. His family fled the war in Cambodia before he was born. They moved to the United States when he was only one year old. Khiev struggled growing up in the United States. His family was poor. And his father was still in Cambodia.
Khiev 开始写诗和朗诵诗句，是当他身在美国的监狱里时。他并非美国公民。他乃出生在柬埔寨 和泰国的边界。在他尚未出生前，他的家人因为国家的内战，逃离柬埔寨。他们搬到美国时，他才一岁。Khiev 在美国成长，经历许多挣扎。他的家庭贫困，而父亲还留在柬埔寨。
As Khiev grew up, he did not feel that he belonged in the United States. When he was thirteen years old, he joined a gang. This violent group of young men accepted him. He had friends. They almost felt like a new family. But the gang also got him into trouble. When he was sixteen years old, Khiev shot and injured two people. It was a serious crime. The police caught Khiev and charged him with attempted murder. The courts sentenced him to sixteen years in prison.
Life in prison was extremely difficult and violent. At one point, Khiev got involved in a fight. The prison guards put him in solitary confinement. Khiev lived in a small room for a year and a half. He was completely alone. He told the BBC that his time in solitary confinement changed his life. He said,
"You come to talk to yourself. You have to look at yourself, all parts of yourself. It made me say, 'Is this it? Is this all your life is going to amount to? Are you going to die in prison?"
Khiev began writing down his thoughts and feelings, and speaking them out loud. He did not know it yet, but he was performing spoken word poetry. He discovered that his words had power. They gave him power to express pain and ask questions. They gave him power to think about things, and explore ideas. In time, words even gave Khiev power to hope. He writes of this experience in his poem, "Marks of a Man":
under the surface 除开外面表象 lies a broken boy 内里有个生命破碎的男孩 feeling like he is nothing 深觉自己一无是处 caged like an animal 象一只关在笼内的动物 how can he know what love is 他怎知何为爱 so nothing moved him 没有任何事物能感动他 almost let the animal become him 他几乎容让自己成了那笼中兽 but then spoken word came 但那口语诗句来到他生命 and it changed his movements 改变了他的举止动作 he grew into a man 他慢慢成了一个男人 who became more than stupid 不再是个愚拙人 truth is 真相是 he grew into a man 他长成了一个男人 and became his own movement. 举手投足都是自己了
When he got out of solitary confinement, Khiev was a different person. He began to attend a program called "Arts in Corrections." There, other poets taught him and encouraged him. He wrote and performed more poetry. He began to dream about his life after prison.
But the United States had a law that affected Khiev's dreams. This law is for people who are not American citizens, who commit a crime there. The law says they must leave the United States. Khiev was not a citizen of the United States. He was a Cambodian citizen. So after he served his prison sentence, he had to go back to Cambodia. But Khiev had not been to Cambodia since he was a baby. He did not know the culture. He did not speak the language very well. His family were all in the United States. Where were all his hopes and dreams now?
For almost a year, Khiev did not have a good place to live in Cambodia. He moved from home to home. Sometimes he did not have any place to stay. But he kept writing and performing poems. He kept going forward, even when life was hard. In this way, he discovered his connection with the country of Cambodia. The country of Cambodia has had many difficult times. But he found that Cambodia was still beautiful, and still strong. He told Radio Australia,
"You know, Cambodia is resilient. Cambodia can come back and keep going. And I am resilient as well. You know, I survived. Cambodia survived. Now, it is like two survivors have found each other."
Khiev wrote a poem about his special connection with Cambodia called "Cambodian Rain."
God is crying 神正在哭泣 and I am lying 我是在撒谎 if I am not crying too， 如果我说我现在并没在哭 I am trying to make amends 我正试着做弥补赔偿 but in the end 但到头来 I am dying too 我也面临死亡的结局 So before I die 所以在我尚有气息之时 Let me cry along with you 让我和你一同哭泣 hoping in the end 企盼在最终之时 we both fly 我们都一起飞翔
Other people noticed Kosal Khiev's gift for poetry and his connection to Cambodia. He was even able to represent Cambodia as a performer at the 2012 Olympics in London, England. This world-famous international sports event also included a special poetry event. This was the largest international poetry gathering in history. It was a big honour for Khiev to perform.
Since then, Khiev's spoken word performances have won awards in Europe. He also teaches spoken word poetry classes in other countries.
We end this program with Khiev’s poem "Prayer." In this poem he shows his struggle with belonging among different cultures. But he also shares his hope that he is connected to all people as creations of God:
Am I Cambodian? American? 我是柬埔寨人?还是美国人? Why can't I be God's creation? 为什么我不能就是神的创造物？ In the image of his face 是按祂的脸面的形象所造的 Why can't we be placed 为何我们不能 among kings and queens 就身列在国王和皇后之中 if we are the creation of his make 如果我们是神所创造的 So come on 所以， Say this prayer with me 和我一同来说这个祷文 Say our prayer for this new day we breathe. 期盼这崭新的一日到来
(You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at http://www.radioenglish. net. This program is called, “Kosal Khiev: Hope in Poetry.")http://spotlightenglish.com/listen/kosal-khiev-hope-in-poetry#sthash.q41...
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