Shadowless Shadow

The Great Matriarch says: There is a dog who barks at his own shadow, which is not there, for in mid-day sun, there is no shadow.

Notice, if I give him a dumpling or a chew-toy, he stops barking, but he does not stop when he sees his shadowless shadow. He barks with warning, with alarm.

He barks louder and louder, snapping his jaws, swallowing sputum, on his haunches, ready to pounce.

He is afraid of what is not there. Like you, Mei Ling, when you wake up, gasping for breath, thinking you might die, that ICE agents will come with a choke-chain.

Poor dear, he wants to protect us from the unseen, the unexpected, the unknowable. This is very bad luck in the neighborhood, to constantly hear the harbinger of doom.

Should we, then, euthanize him, put him out of his misery? To prophesy destruction is to invite bad omens, to stare into the abyss.

Or should we calm him, caress him, give him shelter?

Let’s call him by his birth name and take away his power. Let’s shout, “Hashtag, No Collusion, Gunboat, Death Star, Apocalypse, Mara, Cerberus, Beelzebub!”

Let’s call him, “The one who understands vacuity.”

Let’s not fear him, but love him, offer the pink leash, for he is your dog and he is mine.

One Child Has Brown Eyes

One child has brown eyes, one has blue
One slanted, another rounded
One so nearsighted he squints internal 
One had her extra epicanthic folds removed
One downcast, one couldn't be bothered
One roams the heavens for a perfect answer
One transfixed like a dead doe, a convex mirror
One shines double-edged like a poisoned dagger
Understand their vision, understand their blindness
Understand their vacuity, understand their mirth

Quiet the Dog, Tether the Pony

        A lament for Don (1958-2011)

Gaze     gaze      beyond the vermilion door

Leaf      leaf       tremble    fall

Stare blankly      at the the road's      interminable end

Reduplications     cold      cold     mountains

Long     long    valleys          broad    broad     waters

Tears     are exhausted      now    shed    blood

Deep    deep     the baleful courtyards     who knows how deep

Folds on folds       of curtains

Gates         trap        infinite      twilight

Walk     walk        through     waning meadows

Steep     steep        toward       ten-thousand Buddhas

Knuckles     blue     on the balustrade

In the land of      missing      pronouns

Sun     is a     continuous     performance

And we      my lover      are      nothing

from Two Inch Fables

Yellow gold is meaningless
Learning is better than pearls
A woman without brilliance
Leaves nothing but dim children
You can hawk your gold if you’re hungry
Sell your mule when you’re desperate
What can you do with so many poems
Sprouting dead hairs in an empty coffin

Lotus: pink     dewlapped     pretty
Lotus: upturned palm of my dead mother
Lotus:  a foot       a broken arch
Lotus:  plop      and a silent     ripple
I hum and stroll
And contemplate a poem
While young boys are dying
In West Darfur
I hum and stroll
And contemplate a poem
While young boys are dying
In West Darfur