Wednesday, April 21, 2010

According to the Spirit

who spoke with me
while at this desk
in these woods
birch trees bending

Don't let your dreams control
your sense of peace
and satisfaction

the s word is not a bad word

don't let them control you
a fishing line taut
dragging you through
your mouth
a steel hook through
choppy waters
you helpless fingerless
to remove the barb

Dreams should instead be
a gentle horse to ride
to love and trust
help you on your journey
to places intended and unintended

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Peach Tree Fruit

Science says
it's probably advanced maternal age
chromosomal abnormality

But why can't I stop thinking
of it all
this tree within me
as a magic forest
cursed by some wizard
lifting a boney wand in floating
ink smoke
my eggs some quivering
opal beings
like the magic beans in James and the Giant Peach
fighting for their lives

If only I could find one
glowing bean
put it on my fingertip
say there
you are

All I need is one

Vessel Me

I wish for a time
where I will
feel about
my womb
a peace again
see it more as
a once
way station
halfway house
for three spirits
on their way elsewhere
instead of
a coffin

Biological Clock

I know how people
must feel when I
tell them about my

Because I feel the same

You shouldn't have waited
until past
the deadline

Borrowed Island

We are waishenren
people from outer province
more like outer space

When I say we
I mean they
my parents grandparents aunts and uncles
they thought it would be temporary
for my sake I guess thank god it wasn't
I know that's selfish

The size of Jersey
a thirty minute drive to the mainland
if they built a bridge

My parents: we are chinese
My aunts and uncles born there: we are chinese
My cousins born there: we are taiwanese
Me: uh, I am...

An island

How to Write a Love Poem to Your Husband

Don't worry about what's going to happen
when his hair falls out
don't nag him about the belly
or why can't he see all the pubes
on the bathroom floor
and by the way the toilet
is not self cleaning

Then remember it's still true
this is your prince
the one
you waited for
whose hands on your sore shoulders
still sink heat from spine to knees
whose eyes still make you blush
when you catch him staring
while you change
whose sweet face in deep sleep
grinding snores drool and all
still make you think
boy I have such a crush on you


old walls crumble
rejected for the new
silver spires to somewhere
but where

The Last Time

I lost a baby
I said
you can do this girl
keep trying
again and again

But it gets harder see

no one gets as attached
to this invisible thing
except me

invisible threads
to three tiny birds

where am i supposed to put
all this grief
that belongs no where

stuff it inside
like a dirty piece of cloth
hide it from view


Because I smile
they think I am happy

Only two months ago
the technician said
I'm sorry
it didn't work out

I wish now I had looked
at that grainy screen
saw it floating in
my black ocean

Remember what they say
that the DNA
becomes part of you
becomes part of the healing process

I still think it was a boy

To the Cougar They Say is in These Woods

Big cat cougar woman
I know I shouldn't personify you
but that's what we humans do
feeble ego minded as we are
finding ease in connecting to you
as if you were one of us
rather than admit we are
animals too

as animals we should do
as animals do
freeze defend ourselves or run
but instead some of us would
rather stare and admire your tawny coat
matted with rain scruff bristled with rage
masking fear
are your children near?
briar on your hindlegs
hunched on your haunches
ready to leap
flaring your speckled nose
for a better smell of me

Do I smell anything like the scent of rain on hot rocks?

Cougaress staring me down with your
eyes of yellow gloss
assessing this stand off
can I take her on?

Nature is all you need
for guidance

Me stupid human wires all mixed
I do not even trust my own instincts
do I freeze or run or make a loud noise
or try to climb up a tree
(the last choice is obvious, I'd never make it up)

In the meantime I am paralyzed
mesmerized by your raw
grace taut muscles rippling
pale muzzle twitching
soft ears back
the way the forest light
rises and falls in your eyes

I am entranced by your beauty
cat goddess
and wonder
are you by mine?
will you go back to your lair
in some dark damp nook on
a raised pile of brush
somewhere not too far from here
and dream tonight of me in a way
that is also like a poem

(written at Soapstone retreat, Nehalem, Oregon)

The Patch or How to Kick the InternetEmailFacebook Habit

Grind a long sunny walk to a powder

Blend in a letter
a real letter in an envelope
written to someone you love

Fold in two hours of solid writing
(substitute with your own action
toward your own lifelong dream)

Sprinkle with the joy of reading
a real book
made of paper

Pour in a cup of focus and accomplishment
toss liberally with memories
of life before the Internet
(if you don't have any,
borrow some from an elder)

Wrap a layer of tales with
friends over a slow fine meal
newly learned and cooked

Uncoil a long strand
of reminders
of the preciousness
of time
(again seek elder for supplies
if needed)

Wrap tightly and pound this mass
into a paste

Spread on a piece of cloth from
your favorite pjs as a kid
how did I want to spend my time
as a child

Slap it on the back of your neck.

Do not remove until urge to
check InternetEmailFacebook

Go outside
Find shapes in clouds

For Tian Sheng Yu this April Day

You could have been my father
they saw you as weak
your strength and love cost you your life

Who is brave enough to say
hate crime
let's do something about it
what leader

A sunny Friday afternoon
with your son
shopping for coins
at the jewelry store
you dropped him off first
to find parking
then found him beaten
left eye puffed like a plum

Why didn't you fight back
you asked
as if you had memories
of school yard scuffles
in Beijing
where justice could
be managed between

Under a palm tree next to
a theater
you found them they
found you

Why did you hit my son?

You sought answers
in return one punch
to the mouth
blinding painlight
bash on concrete

sucker punched
only suckers get punched

the chink dared to speak
how dare he

They see us as weak
and the problem is
sometimes we are
smaller prone to quiet
so much at stake so much to lose

Yu shu shu
can we forgive

I know you
white polo, baseball cap,
a man who took care of himself
a proud man

a man who worked hard
painting and remodeling other homes
to get here
his family to this point
this place
to survive and grow
build a dream
shattered in a second
like a skull bone
like a soft cheek
caved in

Thursday, April 8, 2010

i love

my hair

after years of
wanting it to look like
dorthy's (hamilton)
wonder woman's
cindy's (brady and lauper)

after years of
bleaching it
coloring it
perming it
body waving it
crimping it
hating it

i can now say
i love my hair

straight as a pane of
softer than wind
black as the deepest
sleep in
the silkiest night

what's not to love?

one night

what's his name
a great omlette

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

poem of the day

dribble nasal
cloggy cogged
a cold like this
can ruin
any muse
it's destroyed
this poem

Monday, April 5, 2010


just like me
twenty thousand
eighty thousand
daughters, sisters, mothers, lovers
babies on a bayonet

grains of sand
through the fingers
of men

they spared
my aunt the one
with plump lips
who threw a blanket
to hide my father
in his bassinet
when the soldiers stormed in

a shame
a sham
a scar
a war

a silence that won't go away

Sunday, April 4, 2010


What Saartjie Baartman says to Afong Moy:
They shall never again call me Hottentot Venus

Afong Moy: They still call me Afong Moy
Before that
Juila Foochee ching-chang king

And what is your name?
No one knows
My name is also not my name
It made no difference to them
They made me gyrate nude
They made me show my feet
They treated me like an animal
They treated me like a doll
I was a slave, left to die
I was a curio, left to disappear

from memory

Saturday, April 3, 2010


You burn me up
bright tongue blazing
iced thighs
clenched toes
sweet sea rippling

dark bird soars


i found your heart
partly open
pried the lid
to get inside
but what i
saw was only this --
a label that read:
sealed for your protection