Canterbury Station isn’t exactly the gateway
to glamor and stardom.
I saw a man vomit immediately after disembarking
the train. Cars careen past him and there’s hardly
room for casual pedestrians.
The mix of businesses the district supports are, at best,
A casino and hotel, a chicken lunch joint.
Perhaps most prominently, a pole-dancing studio
next-door to a secondhand and rare book shop. Both
are protected by metal security bars. Both
are hiring. Neither is ever open that I can tell. Not in the morning,
and not at night.
But those are side
notes. The warehouse is tucked away in an alley.
You never know what shadows follow you there,
nor who – what – is in the woods at the end of Close
It was the darkest part of winter, just before the solstice.
I stood at the crosswalk with the others –
the men in suits and professionally polished women,
the elderly Chinese toting groceries.
Then the lady with her angular black and blue hair,
fierce eyes and a leopard-print, velvet wheel she carried
across her arms.
No lights lit the street as we disappeared
deep in circus
and life lingers,
clad in tutus and dinosaur costumes,
fox tails, and sequins, and quite
a bit of spandex
moving through the motions
across myriad apparatus.
She removed the trench coat. Beneath
were booty shorts revealing
speckled, tattooed stars.
She hula-hooped and I
sank in splits.
The best was yet to come.
the only reprieve
fell after dark,
noisy or quiet
— marked 拆 －－
Alien was the sun
that hung red;
comfort was in the egg tart
or soft steamed bun,
and hearts on sticks.
Solace is in the neon lights
that dance on dark waters
in the night.
Greetings, my love!
The morning I moved to Brooklyn the ground was littered with unopened condoms and empty wrappers of Hershey chocolate bars. What transpired that led to this trash trail is a mystery. I can only assume that my new neighbors know how to party.
Your family went above and beyond in ensuring everything surrounding my move went smoothly: We tightly packed the mini-van with suitcases and groceries, and they effectively packed my stomach with several months worth of dim-sum in a single meal after risking stops in “NO PARKING” zones and much block-circling.
My new roommate is German. To celebrate our living arrangement, she further packed my tummy with schnitzel and beer, and another roommate filled my head with talk of Taiwan.
Now I am very full, very sleepy, very content — though I hope your parents did not notice the indiscreet condom and chocolate litter.
I wanted a night out on the town … Like, a let’s-be-wild-and-eat-a scoop-of-ice-cream kind of night on the town. Things started to heat up when I stumbled upon this shop during my search for excitement — a mecca for spice diggers.
It’s tacky. It’s touristy. It’s trite, but I had to try. How could I refuse the friendly looking mascots out front?
Actually, they’re a little frightening, but not enough to dissuade me from taking a gander at the menu, which had a variety of flavors and spice levels to choose from … Continue reading
Antsy to escape the city for a spell, I headed to Jiaoxi, as per the recommendation of the gentleman I sat beside on my flight to Taipei. At the time, it was exactly what I needed: a spot to unwind and be alone, but present in the energy of others. It was also a good test of my Mandarin.
I studied Chinese language for four years. As the kids say, the struggle is real. Or, it was. When I first started learning, I couldn’t decipher one character stroke from another. Tones sounded like confused musical notes, and grammar was completely 麻煩, ma fan, troublesome.
But that was not actually the source of the difficulty of learning. The greatest challenge has been overcoming my self-consciousness associated with communicating in Mandarin, and announcing to the world, “Yes, I DO know Chinese!” Continue reading
I suppose it’s rather early for lunch. But it’s 11 a.m. I’ve been up since 4. I’m hungry.
I wander past the same road I walked upon this morning and stop where there’s a menu that’s invitingly tourist friendly. Lots of pictures. Even words I understand. Typically, I’d avoid such a place, opting for something that doesn’t look so touristy, but at the moment I don’t mind.
Burmese rap music is blasting. There are posters for liquor I doubt I’ll indulge in. A couple of guys sit shirtless, playing a game that from a distance looks like air hockey with small tiles launched across a slickly polished table.
They see me and quickly pull on shirts and cut the music. I want to tell them, “It’s okay. I like the beat!” But I’m not entirely sure that would be appropriate. I hear relations between men and women are still quite formal, and relations in general are very respectful and polite.
One, with a hip ear piercing and camo top and shorts, tells me to sit anywhere I like; the other, clad in a short-sleeved chambray shirt and a traditional basu skirt brings me a menu and bowl of peanuts once I’ve chosen a seat close enough to the road that I can watch its stirrings, but far enough that I feel secluded from the dust.
“What do you recommend? What do you like best to eat?” I ask.
“Curry,” he responds. “Fish or pork.”
“I’ll have the fish curry and a lime juice, please.” Continue reading