don't I see you double, because I have two eyes
and I can see you in each one by itself?
Meeny Miny Mo
big-fisted in one eye
big-livered in the other
backdated in two memory out-takes
said you're a friendly half-gweilo1
too hoed-out to be dangerous
just like that youth of Lingyang2
they called him fool
because he smelled like stale stogies
wearing a soiled silk handkerchief
over his face hiding some actor's
moustache coal smudged on upper lip
brought a plinth of curved jade
to the emperor who ordered
his feet removed
preserving the toes
like stubby lozenges
to remind the eunuchs
how shrunken life is in the morning
when they run for cover
to the citipati3 shouting
om! ma-ni pad-me Hum!...4
heard too many times
is imprinted under your skin
as you inflict another stranglehold
over your fraternal-brother
born 2nd you grin thinking he's fine-tarsal
like Princess Lenore5
holding her thumbnail up to measure
the moon believing
she can put it on a keychain
just because it was the size of a quarter
you found in the park passing it to him
with a pah
could you not see
why he laughed then punched out
your gonchong6 faces since
neither isolation nor companionship
could move you from
roots are prehensile
remanding fear on a roll of 1 on one die
but a roll of 2 on the other waits in repose.
1gweilo, "white ghost." This
is a somewhat derogatory term used to describe Caucasian individuals (Cantonese).
2Lingyang, a young man from Lingyang presented a piece of jade to the King of Chu (770-476 BC); but the king, not recognizing its value, chopped off the donor's feet in anger.
3citipati, "dancing skeletons." This happy sculptural skeletal pair from 17th century Tibet are dancing upon a sea of blood, holding in their well-filled skull caps the blazing fire of wisdom which consumes evil in the unity of duality, merging the finite with the infinite.
4Om! ma-ni pad-me Hum!, is often translated literally as "Hail to the Jewel of the Lotus!" It is also interpreted as "Hail to Man's Overself!" a state where there is no death.
5Princess Lenore, is the primary character in James Thurber's Many Moons, which recounts the efforts of a king to nurse his daughter to health by fulfilling her wish to acquire the moon.
6gonchong, a mythological cruel parasite which takes control of the brain of its victim and uses it to commit all manner of atrocities.
7Dongyuemiao, "temple of the Eastern peak" is a notable Chinese structure built in the early twentieth century, which used extremely gruesome tableaux to depict the tortures that await the sinner's soul in various Daoist hells.