A reading in celebration of recent poetry publications - 100 Chinese Silences (Les Figues Press) by Timothy Yu & Red And White Balloons (Adjunct Press) by Mike Hauser.
Timothy Yu is the author of 100 Chinese Silences, the editor’s selection in the Les Figues Press NOS Book Contest, and of Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965 (Stanford), winner of the Book Award in Literary Studies from the Association for Asian American Studies. He is also the author of three chapbooks: 15 Chinese Silences (Tinfish), Journey to the West (Barrow Street; winner of the Vincent Chin Chapbook Prize from Kundiman), and, with Kristy Odelius, Kiss the Stranger (Corollary), and the editor of Nests and Strangers: On Asian American Women Poets (Kelsey Street). He is associate professor of English and Asian American studies and director of the Asian American Studies Program at UW-Madison.
Mike Hauser has lived in Milwaukee since 2002. He has curated reading series such as Too Close For Comfort, Salacious Banter, and Ineluctable Place. His work has appeared in West Wind Review, Bright Pink Mosquito, and Delirious Hem, among other places. His most recent book is Red And White Balloons from Adjunct Press.
Chinese Silence No. 1
after Billy Collins, “Grave”
What do you think of this poem
I asked the tomb of my unknown grandfather
with its livid quiet marble.
A Chinese silence fell.
It dropped from a glowering tree
to perch on my shoulder.
We looked at each other.
It would have been hard for a stranger
to tell one of us from the other.
We both looked like monks or scholars
or like piles of drowned bones
laid softly on the loamy earth.
My grandfather said nothing.
His Chinese silence coiled its tail
into the shape of a long-lobed ear,
one of the one hundred American signs
for anxious virility.
Then the silence fell
into a cardboard box full of other silences.
Like blind puppies they squirmed
and snuffled for their mother.
OK, I made that last part up.
But you must admit it was a fabulous metaphor.
No? Oh, now I see
you are just as Chinese
as all the other silences—
the Silence of the Heavily Armed Gunboat,
or the Silence of the Drunken Mariner,
or my grandfather’s silence, like the Liberty Bell,
only cracked right through.
Hang With Me
after Robyn & automatic writing
What’s next is not always most available
to redress, coaxing, little kinks worked out,
little begging, little sanctioning. What’s next give it
a work out in form of fabulous incumbent circular
and menacing change, hope that it proves soft, blissfully
painful insanity, if we agree, recklessly, heedlessly, make
now the punky portion, I got your big back. an inventory of the day’s
sound wilts, willis reeds some, wiling, coyote, cuyanga
mixing magic, magical thinking, made manic in the
waning, wistful, wanky wang.
The portentous manic, wanky wang, wanky, wangful,
put in there told us the bench-players. We want real solutions
of the moments, but we ain’t gotta
ascribe WWII to all our happy thoughts.
Happy thoughts criminally insane or not, become big and lack a
support for big banks, having got big, middle ground sense,
tertiary sense. what occurs to you next, here, a burden to freaky, freaky
meek and meek. An ass kind of wanking thing.
Add to the ass kind of wanking thing, mania fumbling,
pertrified relations, mortgaged futures, further farts in innovations
fathered by beltless goofs in bumpy relatable let. Relatable
pure suplex, stories we tell each other, and stories we fumble
in relation, stories gotten in systemic intrigue. Bubbles that peter out,
that pop in unison, that assemble impressive chorus in sensible dawning on you.
Beats don’t break the law, little sheep sleeping on turntables, that’s us,
before we got there. Before we got there, dandled some wild combination.
Unannounced believability fills the room, you have no way to remove the system
you no infantile duress to sufficiently trucks with credible bench players.
I move closer to the keyboard. I don’t know about leading walks with
troublesome dogs and their owners, I don’t know about any of this either.
There is no reason not to lead walks, lead being “lead”, with troublesome dogs and
their wonderful owners, these godly dogs with wonderful owners.
Now lean in, to Robyn, dance to the beat, dance to the
beat of a distant mogul, a different mongrel, a more likely that
I hear words in their distortion no birth day longer than this any way. Sup. Zup. I lead dog walks, it would be very simple. I say, “hi everybody”, I simply imagine how it might go,
but there is also the concern. I’m uncomfortable with the term “leader”,
maybe escort is better. Also, I don’t know how to prevent dogs, really
how to handle dogs very well.
I mock, how does a big boy handle a big dog.
A big, temperamental boy. A boy-dog
with a drivers license. Even the French know betta
than t’ fuck wit me.