Chinese Dream 22

Timothy Yu

I am a snarl who does know better, but…

—Tyehimba Jess


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.