My love for you is not like new linens—nice for the first week but shrinking after the first wash.
“If” is the French for yew. A coniferous tree.
I wish I knew who sent me this dream: “Tammy (or Lai-Ming?), I had a dream about you last night. You were managing a restaurant and were very busy. I couldn't understand why you would become a restaurateur in addition to all the other things you do—teaching, editing, writing, loving—but I figured it is best not to interfere. I went to the opening, you and your colleagues were working and I just tried to be quiet. But there was a big mistake with the food, the cook had not prepared the potatoes right. It did not seem like such a good restaurant. At some point you and a friend of yours (who was also one of the restaurant owners) and I went to buy candy. I hesitated to pay for the candy, because I didn't want to subsidise your failing restaurant business. But then it turned out that you wanted the candy for yourself
, so I cordially offered to pay after all. But you had already paid. You didn't need my money (and what else could I offer?) Then your friend got shot for no reason. And we needed to catch a train, but we were late. And we got into the wrong train or bus. And then I woke up.”
“Good night, my little Brussels sprout.”
The horrible thought that one can walk past any number of people without knowing any of their names. The narcissism of this thought.
Making proving people wrong our goal.
Did you know? Humans are the only mammals that can’t breathe and swallow at the same time. Did you know? Mosquitoes prefer biting people who are inebriated. Did you know? There are tongue prints.
“Good night my little duffel bag.”
It is not misunderstanding but partial understanding. One has to guard one's story, one's history, so much, these days.
Your games are so small I need a microscope to see them.
Some say distance makes the hearts fonder. Some say out of sight, out of mind.
On language fluency: I know it when I hear it.
I sometimes feel like I am a yew tree whose roots have been cemented.
The Chinese government hasn't censored the temperature in Hong Kong yet.
“I am going to bed now, my little doubloon.”
I should have been born with bigger breasts. I am the kind of woman who would ask people to describe me in five adjectives.
In a Chinese restaurant in Europe. I imagine all is a cover up for some illicit business. The entire family fled China. Duck tongues. Aubergine. Like a film by Jia Zhangke. Takeaway, not good. The sauces congeal quickly. The woman is like a gangster woman. You are the only foreigner when we get in. And I am the only Chinese when we leave. I order chicken feet, thinking they were going to be chilied but they were chilled. The woman who speaks exaggerated accented Italian. The husband knows nothing.
An old Cantonese pop song can be the music that ignites my memory when I am old and have dementia.
“I am off to bed now. I love you, my little artichoke heart.”
It is exhausting when you deal with walls.
My father wanted to be more handsome, perhaps. But the mole, after it was removed, left a faint dent. Where was it? On his right cheek... if I remember correctly. It only now exists in memory and old photos that you cannot zoom in to. When I was small I was myself made fun of because of the mole that sits in my philtrum. If I die, my mole will tell you it's me.
Should I give you an old pair of high heels to remember me by? Of course not.
Slept for a bit and dreamt of naked us in a room of empty frames; we are mid-conversation, not an argument, but somehow you are hurt and I console you. I ask “Look at me. Do you know?” You give a non-smile, like you sometimes do. And then I woke up. I am sleepy again now.
Will I dream once more of your eyebrows?
“I must sleep. Good night, my little pumpkin seed.”
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
/ Co-editor Cha
10 June 2016