We invite you to experience the tongue-twisting verse of Atsuro Riley, the wry pop-humor of Cathy Park Hong, the gorgeous syntax of Ocean Vuong and the lyrical dexterity of nine more American poets of Asian and Pacific Island descent. All these poems are free to read and download on JSTOR. Just follow the links with the red “J” icon below.
In the earthquake days I could not hear you over the din or it might have been
the dinner bell but that’s odd
We come gnawed by need on hands and knees.
As a creature (nosing) grubble-seeks a spring.
I’m no frail eel, no damsel steal,
My costume’s a bathrobe, secure as hazmat
one look at me, I’m addictive as transfat
Have you ever wondered
whatever happened to all the
barbed wire that defined
and confined the so-called
camp at Tule Lake?
Tell me it was for the hunger
& nothing less. For hunger is to give
the body what it knows
it cannot keep
SPAM was born on July 5, 1937, in Austin, Minnesota- the home of Hormel and the spam Museum # cubistartyoucaneat. Eight pounds of spam die in a Chamorro stomach each year, which is more per capita than any other ethno-intestinal tract in the world. “Guam is Where the Impure Pork Products of America Begin!” Our guttural love of spam was born in 1944, when cases of the shiny cans were berthed from aircraft carriers.
Transmission from speaker to you is like warm breath from a
young girl who’s not wholly concerned with information, truth,
drawing you into her presence.
I’m 22 years old
and my mother doesn’t know where I live!
I am 33 years old
and my mother doesn’t know where I live
Marilyn Mei Ling Chin
You are a Goddess
You beautiful swine
You necklace of heads
You girdle of past deed
What can the unfortunate insect do
if it is found wanting in weight?
One could search this landscape in vain
for signs of necessity.
A chain of crushed nouns has upended my mind.