Timothy Yu is the author of the poetry collection 100 Chinese Silences, an editor’s selection in the NOS Book Contest from Les Figues Press. He is also the author of three chapbooks: 15 Chinese Silences, Journey to the West, and, with Kristy Odelius, Kiss the Stranger. His writing has appeared in Poetry, The New York Times Magazine, TYPO, and The New Republic. His scholarly work includes Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry since 1965 (Stanford) and an edited collection, Nests and Strangers: On Asian American Women Poets (Kelsey Street). He is professor of English and Asian American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.


Chinese Dream 25

Timothy dredged, half-heartedly, for stories
of the past Timothy, his mute inglorious
present, and his worries,
all the bright heels he stamped— —Paranoia,
Mr. Chan, paranoia.  You imagine all!
—Hands off my cabal,

designer fashion.  All dressed for the ball
slender & bound Timothy.  Mark him please.
Tender him breathless,
and burn at high rate his surplus resentments:
nourish his need.  Remake him as our sentiments.
—My Chan, you no speak.

—I cannot forget.  I am wasting away.
There is nothing in my dreams.  I’m not the girl
who fought and sang.
Everyone loves a liar, a picture unhung,
lashed to the post at bedtime.  Nothing stays.
I owe you everything.


Chinese Dream 31

 A Calcutta banker instructed me a little in Yoga.  I achieved the free lotos position at the 1st try.

Timo Timoson, from Wisconsin,
did a white man play,
in his tweed jacket and a choking necktie
cuttin his teeth on Buddha, soft man-breasts,
and gave his body one yoga twist;
admiring himself he withdrew from his true

‘murican nature an Oriental smile
& posed a lotus.
Timothy & Henry, each other’s impostors,
in the word-kitchen cook a blankface play
for the lacerated stage; the curtain rose
on the foolish chink and his white-chalk knees

Timo Timoson, from Wisconsin,
did a playing white man play
who even more obviously than the still fantastical Asian American
cannot be himself.  Others don’t exist,
human beings in general do not exist,
outside his stare.