Cathy Park Hong, “The Lineage of Yes-Men”

Nut’ing but brine jars y jaundice widows en mine old village.
I’s come from ‘eritage o peddlas y traitors,
whom kneel y quaff a lyre spoon-me-spondas. Mine fadder
sole Makkoli wine to whitey GIs din guidim to widows fo bounce.
Me grandfadder sole Makkoli wine to Hapenese colonists
din he guidim to insurrectas… sticka hop? Some pelehuu?

Afta war, villa men pelt mine grandfadder wit ground stones.
He stand in de cold tillim fingas frost jawed, until blewblack.

Villagers callim yellow, callim chihuahua ssaeki, a dies irae
fo yesman—he yessed his way to gravestone.

Din mine fadder sole Makkoli—he a ‘Merriken GI chihuahua.
Some populii tink GIs heroes with dim strafing “Pinko chink”
but eh! Those Jees like regula pirates, search fo booty y pillage…

He took Jees to war widows tho widows too dry woeing tears

for Eros. He like mine grandfadder yessed y yessed, nodded
til no lift him fes up. In his deathbed… sayim to me,
Ttallim, you say no, no, no, you say only no. Him fes
waterlog de liquor y when him die, he retched white.

From Dance Dance Revolution, the winner of the 2006 Barnard Women Poets Prize. Hong will be reading with Christian Hawkey and Rachel Zucker tomorrow night at a Bryant Park event sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. After that, check her blog for future events… or listen to her read the poem “Zoo” at Salon.

7 May 2007 | poetry |