QUARTET OF STILLS WITH A MARTIAL ARTS FILM STAR

 

1.

Yes, Bruce Lee and I say cha for tea in Mandarin.

Bruce whispers cha in Cantonese, too.  We say cha

with the softness of a gypsy moth whose mist-laced wings

lift a mote of pekoe ash under a supermoon

rising over tea estates.
 

2.

Yes, Bruce Lee and I compose poetry in Chinese and recite
                                                             the old adage, less is more, in English.
More or less.  

Hack away at the unessential, says Bruce

Be formless, shapeless like water.

His fabulous eyebrows vanish into the pine-ash strokes

of an ink-brush scroll.

3.

Yes, Bruce Lee and I celebrate the same birthday

in late November, thirty-three years apart.

When I was a girl, I knew this meant I was destined for greatness,

although I wasn’t sure exactly how.
 

4.

Are you related to Bruce Lee? First grade boys would ask.

Yes.  I’m an imaginary paper niece of the legendary

martial arts film star who said, Under the sky,

under the heavens, there is but one family.

A PARABLE OF TURQUOISE AS AN ANTIDOTE FOR THE UNREQUITED

In this parable, turquoise is a remedy for broken hearts. I was dragged out of the sea by jute nets to a tiny hamlet where musters of feral peacocks roamed under pergolas as turquoise aquifers fed turquoise springs, bath-spas. By night, I slept on a waterproof mattress of turquoise. By day, I soaked in a mineral spa of turquoise waters. If I chopped onions underwater in a turquoise basin, the onions bled turquoise ink, a crystal bulb of tears. If I used copper to shut the eyes of drowned sailors, ancient coins would be engraved circles of verdigris. Turquoise glimmered on my layered iridescent scales, adorned the jewelry of peacock trains with faux eyes. So I lived my quotidian hours with a turquoise filter ‘til one spring day, a notorious goatherd-heartbreaker halted my noon bath in a nook of turquoise faiences.  Fortuitously, thanks to turquoise scales on my tail and a bird cage covering my four-chambered heart, I was immune to his ploys. The goatherd, a rogue youth of hormonal campaigns, was spirited away by turquoise, the color of immunity – which the goatherd cautiously gathered when he thought I was not looking.

 

Germinating, his pocketed turquoise   
flowered in the shapes of peacocks,
yes, with mock aquamarine eyes.

return to ISSUE ONE