Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Tuesday Platform

Chinese New Year
The dragon is in the street dancing beneath windows
  pasted with colored squares, past the man
who leans into the phone booth’s red pagoda, past
  crates of doves and roosters veiled
until dawn. Fireworks complicate the streets
  with sulphur as people exchange gold
and silver foil, money to appease ghosts
  who linger, needy even in death. I am
almost invisible. Hands could pass through me
  effortlessly. This is how it is
to be so alien that my name falls from me, grows
  untranslatable as the shop signs,
the odors of ginseng and black fungus that idle
  in the stairwell, the corridor where
the doors are blue months ajar. Hands
  gesture in the smoke, the partial moon
of a face. For hours the soft numeric
  click of mah-jongg tiles drifts
down the hallway where languid Mai trails
  her musk of sex and narcotics.
There is no grief in this, only the old year
  consuming itself, the door knob blazing
in my hand beneath the lightbulb’s electric jewel.
  Between voices and fireworks
wind works bricks to dust—hush, hush
  no language I want to learn. I can touch
the sill worn by hands I’ll never know
  in this room with its low table
where I brew chrysanthemum tea. The sign
  for Jade Palace sheds green corollas
on the floor. It’s dangerous to stand here
  in the chastening glow, darkening
my eyes in the mirror with the gulf of the rest
  of my life widening away from me, waiting
for the man I married to pass beneath
  the sign of the building, to climb
the five flights and say his Chinese name for me.
  He’ll rise up out of the puzzling streets
where men pass bottles of rice liquor, where
  the new year is liquor, the black bottle
the whole district is waiting for, like
  some benevolent arrest—the moment
when men and women turn to each other and dissolve
  each bad bet, every sly mischance,
the dalliance of hands. They turn in lamplight
  the way I turn now. Wai Min is in the doorway.
He brings fish. He brings lotus root.
  He brings me ghost money.  
It's open link day in the Imaginary Garden. Please link up a poem of your choice, and take some time during the week to visit others who have shared their poems. We look forward to sharing with you!


Magaly Guerrero said...

Happy Tuesday, Marian!

Timoteo said...

Good morning, Toads!!!

Blogoratti said...

That's truly magical, a vivid scene and a delightful piece to read. Greetings!

Gillena Cox said...

Another take at the happy new year greetings. If you were off to a false start Jan 1st, this time you can make it right

much love...

Helen said...

Happy Pancake Day! I enjoy digging this one out of the vault (when I remember.)

grapeling said...

thanks for sharing this poem, Marian ~

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks for the poem Marian. I did some research on the history of Valentine's Day. It has dark roots that is for sure.

Outlawyer said...

Ha. Happy Losar, Marian! I'm celebrating Tibetan version.

Also it says I'm from Brooklyn on Traffic feed--I'm on upper west side right now! as in what happened to all of midtown and the East River? k.

Bekkie Sanchez said...

Hope this week finds all of you well! The Chinese New Year poem reminds me of the time I saw the parade in San Francisco the colors and dragon dancers were amazing to see. I'm happy to link up a senryu (even though it's Japanese, lol) that I did for another site and it's nice to be able to share a poem of choice. I'll be around to read. Hugs!

Carol Campbell said...

It's always so nice to garden with you all. Please take care and have a blessed week!