Chinese Dream 24

Timothy Yu

I long to see a temple, I wish to smell ancient blood, I desire to transmigrate.

—Berryman


he was a question of race bigotry

—Tyehimba Jess


Dr. Timothy lectured till

his tenure came and then

he stole a voice & lectured to the world.

They publish again & again, like war,

their poems of Asia, for what they’re worth,

as weapons on their side, for rebirth.


Henry’s tour was a feel-monsoon.

Indians do not like us; and why should they?

He tired of questions on race bigotry.

What had he to do with race bigotry?

America’s

mad son escaped down the Ganges

in a hired boat, trying the lotus position.


Now Timothy writes inside Henry’s Taj, something limit-

ed or missing at the heart of this,

kowtowing to his undead feelings

that still never seem to kowtow back.

I’ll help you, Henry. All you wanted was

your hoarded feelings mouthed by someone other than yourself.


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.