Pui Ying Wong

 

Pui Ying Wong

 

(China-USA)

 

 

 
A WATERFRONT RESTAURANT

 

The waiter hands us

oversized knives

 

in a nest of avocado

and corn, the meat

 

bleeds, a band plays

near the bar, it’s only

 

Thursday. Outside,

graduates at the pavilion,

 

dressed in robes like a church choir

wave their diplomas and sashes.

 

I remember the chunks

of meat hanging

 

in the butcher shop

near my grandmother’s

 

where after school

I escorted her home

 

because of her poor eyesight,

the butcher unhooking

 

the meat and wrapping it

still dripping

 

in the newspaper. I watched

words absorbing the blood,

 

blood dissolving the words.

How strange to contain

 

a vanished world

inside my body which still requires

 

to be fed &

this & that other worlds

 

hopscotch while I eat

off a white plate

 

in a city this new summer

hearing swing music

 

in a room packed with tourists

or suddenly, from the graduates

 

a heady wave of brass

horns—

 

the anthem

gleams the harbor

flag-decked schooners

crisscrossing water-taxis

clambake at sunset

a lone cloud crawls.

 

 

 

YEAR OF THE HORSE

 

February just after Chinese

New Year so full

Eating rice cake

Hotpot

Primetime TV

Shows & business types

Filled the airwaves

With auspicious greetings

Prosperity

Longevity & the Best Year

That’s Here & Now

 

From the balcony

We saw a few barges in the bay

Tugboats moored

Behind a strip of sandbar

It seemed all of Kowloon

Was mist-cladded

Wind-stroked

Lights bounced off

Tsing Ma Bridge

Unhinged & spectral

 

Our evening walk

Past a bland stretch

Of road to Jordan

Prospered with Mahjong Parlor

Sauna Club & Foot Massage

A mix of Putonghua

& Cantonese

Spoken freely there

Odd to see

Out of a colony of neon

On the façade of a 70’s building

A white cross beamed

I am life

 

Stall after stall

Of trinkets

On Temple Street

The night market

Lipstick-Case

Lighter Calendar

Chopsticks Panda

Hook Comb

Tee Shirts Obama

Marilyn Monroe

Socks Fake-Silk X

Men Hello Kitty

A hole-in-the-wall

Snake shop

Live snakes eyes bulging

Twitched in wire cages

Who was eyeing who

The customers all men

Stepped up to the counter

As if for communion

 

At 8 a crowd gathered

On the boardwalk

For the light show

We walked away

Toward Hung Hum

The ferry still ran

Every half hour

It was indispensable

Then I said

You remember the poem

North Point Ferry

By Yasi written

Precisely forty years ago

 

At his memorial reading

A few evenings before

The same poem

Was read aloud

In French & Cantonese

Rainbow in oil-

slicked sea

Skyscrapers trembled

in puddles

But Love

Who was that bystander

Eyes black as soot

Who still went looking

For a handful of dirt

 

Leaning on the guardrail

Waves beneath us

We heard the cheer

From top of the towers

Lasers shot out

Across the skyline

Array of colors

Striking the clouds

A red one broke off

Like remnants

From the Eastern Sun

Straight from hell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bio

 

Pui Ying Wong was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of a full length book of poetry Yellow Plum Season (New York Quarterly Books, 2010), two chapbooks: Mementos (Finishing Line Press, 2007), Sonnet for a New Country (Pudding House Press, 2008) and her poems have appeared in Angle Poetry (U.K.), The Brooklyner, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (Hong Kong), Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Crannog (Ireland), Desde Hong Kong: poets in conversation with Octavio Paz, Chameleon Press (Hong Kong), Hawaii Pacific Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Prairie Schooner, The Southampton Review, Taos Journal of Poetry & Art and 2Bridges Review among others. She lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband, the poet Tim Suermondt.

 

 

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