API Living – Boston 2007

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Todd Lee

1. Hello

The white man
with the so-pleased-
with-himself
look
on his face,
says “Knee how”
too loudly
as he passes
the Asian woman

who is clearly

Korean.

2. Smile

A woman
smiles at me
sweetly, for no apparent
reason
- on the Boston subway!

I wonder if,
it’s my dashing good looks
or if I
remind her
of a scene from a
Jackie Chan flick
she really dug.

3. You Can Forget All Your Troubles, Forget All Your Cares

The men
(yeah, they’re still
mostly men)
in the two thousand dollar
suits
meet in the big conference room,
all polished oak
and gleaming
metal.

They plan
for gleaming skyscrapers
to grow like giant oak trees,
made of metal.
blocking the sun,
choking the
roots of the grass
‘til they all wither,
and die.

In their grand plan,
Chinatown
is “downtown”,
and where real people live right now
is just a sandbox

in a new playground
for people like them.

4. La Vida Loca

Where is our Asian American
music? Bearded geniuses
wailing away
in community centers:

unknown, under-
appreciated. Filipina
master drummers
laboring
in obscurity.

Lone men
in kung fu slippers
playing the erhu,
in a shady spot on the edge
of the dragon boat festival
for spare change.

Our music feels
subverted,
diverted,
perverted, or
just plain
murdered!

Case in point:

William Hung
released his new CD
to minor acclaim
and 5 minutes on
Access Hollywood.

He is
once more
the most famous Asian
in America.

What?????!!!!!!

5. Smile Number 2

Why does
the banh mi
taste so good
going down, but always,
ALWAYS -

one hour later,
you’re smiling at your honey,
with a big piece of cilantro
hanging boldly

from your front teeth?