The continent died with you, China
man with sun-snarled neck, mouth of gunpowder, skull
they’ll bury to face westward. Consider the trans
formation of a country that will outlive you, consider white
men on horses, a cruelty we all recognize. No more rivers manifest
their gold, only iron, only a brother’s bones stomped to wine,
the first rule they taught you: never whine
or speak, so you learned to sing of a sea china
-blue: a sea sung into the mouth keeps thirst from its manifest.
It is summer and hot and you dig so deep you hit skulls.
The white men say leave it. Left, they white
out the horizon, burn like bulbs, a light that will never trans
late as a Chinaman: the joke is who owns time, and who must trans
literate? 不会. Married? 没有. Legal? Hey, let’s offer him some wine,
at least. This is America, after all. Haha, look how white
he’s turning – Ha. I’m funny – aren’t I? Almost as funny as a China
man with the end of his pigtail stuck up his – ok, ok. Back to business. Skull
well-formed. Teeth strong. Anus clean. Penis – haha. Shall we write – barely manifest?
In new country, learn only the names of things that could kill you: Manifest
Destiny, Mountain Lion, Irishman. In new country, learn to trans
mute: scoop an ear into the ground, curl inside like a dead language. Skulled
but never spoken, a language ferments, gives up its wine
-darkened mouth of Governor Stanford saying: long enough to reach China.
1776 miles, one for every year the whites
stayed: no Chinaman wanted to. White
lies to send home: even their dust is gold. Even gnawed bones manifest
new meat. Lazy bones, you were called in China
Acceptable meat, you are now in America. Call it trans
action, to leverage a knife against its rust, a grape against its wine.
To measure a man against the price of sending back his skull.
I don’t like the look of them, those slant-eyes, that skulk
about – it’s about – it’s about jobs, it’s about fairness, it’s about white
women – protecting – being a man. They can’t even hold their wine
for God’s sake, for the sake of God, our God, ever-living, ever-manifest–
it’s a matter of values, beef-eaters or rice-eaters, our God or trans
send them back – send them back – back to Godlessness, back to China –
In California, I ride the train along a crease in your palm, trans
fixed: nothing can be. Light through the window skull
-capping me, tightening, wearing me white.