I am a snarl who does know better, but…
I am not the man who spoke & spoke.
I am not the girl better, braver but.
I am not thinged for your school.
I am not wise. I keep my selving shut.
I am not official & am not your tool.
I cannot take a joke.
I am the Chinaman of the mind.
I am the automaker who fires you.
I am a global power, with a plan.
I am the model man.
I’m neither huffy Henry nor Henry who
climbed free from his box & replied in kind.
What is the Fourth of July?
Connect Bones, this blackface man,
to you his creator, to Henry freed.
And I was made to help keep Henry treed
in pain, in pain, in pain.
I am Timothy Tiger, a useful lie.
Timothy Yu is the author of 100 Chinese Silences (Les Figues Press) as well as three chapbooks: 15 Chinese Silences (Tinfish), Journey to the West (Barrow Street), and, with Kristy Odelius, Kiss the Stranger (Corollary). He is also the author of Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965 (Stanford) and the editor of Nests and Strangers: On Asian American Women Poets (Kelsey Street). He is a professor of English and Asian American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.