Automatic: Chinese New Year Motions

Chinese New Year
Big celebratory event with
Astronomical ticket price
Gives you the chance to see
Vibrant, less familiar kinds of
Performances–body twisting
Contortionists, aerialists, stilt walkers
And people you rarely
See around in the bustle of
Everyday life.

Except maybe a wealthy
Spiked heeled version
Spotted, an elusive sleek leopard
Slinking among racks of
Coyote fur lined $1000 winter coats,
While working Neiman Marcus events
As foreign to me too as
African languages utilizing
Tongue clicking
Fascinating, mysterious.

The utter lack of ever
Seeing anyone else
Who looks like me
Is a ragged drag
A small splinter on a thumb
On a hand attached to an arm
Moving smoothly enough
Through common motions
Automatic and every day
Most other people also make.

Now and then, though
This pricked protrusion
Catches on a surface
Makes me stop
An emptiness
A longing
For any positive, normal
Visual cues that reflect me.

Not dressed up in
Stringed instrumentals, wishing trees
Golden dragon dances and
Cuisine so “creatively” fused
Beyond recognition that
We who grew up with
Our family’s own versions
Are left mystified
At the ridiculous pomp
Staring up us
At small plated establishments
Thinking, “What the fuck is this?”
While reaching for a tall glass of water
To wash down overly salted, fried
“Croquetted” bullshit
We have to wade through
Just to be sociable.

But rather, I’d like to see
Versions of myself
Grocery shopping, in jeans
Taking their kids to school
Attending plays and concerts
Getting their hair cut
Riding the bus
Speaking English, of course.

Today, the city’s Lucky Enough
Celebrate, partly to
Soothe liberal ideas that
Their attendance here today affirms
They are “aware”, urban people.

Still feeling lackluster
I’ll don getup and go to a smaller,
Hopefully more intimate affair.
People will likely assume
I must be Chinese since I’m there,
But I’m still going because
I’ve never been to anything like this
In this city. And,
Like anyone else
I’m curious.


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