Dorothy Chan

Triple Sonnet, Because You’ve Got That Thing Going On

Asian girls have that thing going on,
          is what the Internet search of Yellow Fever
tells me, but no surprises there,
          because have you looked into our eyes,
a feline power magnified by a million,
          as you think about tales of the Orient,
but oh, shut up about the spices,
          the dumplings, the temples, oh shut up,
white boy who wants a lady on the streets
          but a freak in the bedroom,
and I’ll tell you something: I’m a freak everywhere
          from elevators to family gatherings,
and it’s a lot of fun—kawaii porn, or that fantasy
          of an innocent face, oh, but that body,

          the way it moves, and it’s a mystique
or the X-factor, or you can’t read
          what’s in my black eyes like a shield,
and I’ll stop talking in superhero terms,
          because you know, my parents are the real
superheroes, coming to this country,
          giving up a penthouse in Hong Kong
and a Mercedes and a pay raise
          and a million other offers one can’t refuse,
and those noodle stands and four curry
          fish balls on a stick at midnight—
and you can’t read what’s in my black eyes
          like a shield, because that’s how I was raised
for centuries and centuries and centuries,

and you can’t beat history and culture—
          oh, white boy, I know you can look at me
for days, and I know you want to touch me
          for days, my smooth skin enhanced by Korean
beauty products and plain and simple genetics,
          the way my mother warns me not to blow dry
my hair too much, rusting it, making it
          lose its black shine, and I must wear it black,
never dyed, and white boy, stop trying
          to conquer me, and you know what,
if you love those dumplings so much,
          I’d like to see you eat a durian whole,
or what about some fish heads and frog legs,
          and I’m thinking—now that’s a cute date.



Give Me Kink in a Highball Glass, and You Can Fall in Love with Me

          The Love Story Cocktail: a classic tale of love, desire, and tragic death
withstanding the test of time and evolution
                    in a highball glass, and call Romeo and Juliet

          because this is the $13 drink for them, and I’ve never actually
                    been in love, but I sure know what crushed mint, lime,
Midori, rum, sugar, and a splash of Sprite tastes like—
                              cocktails are such kink and tease
          kink and tease, like dancing with five people at once,
                    and no, I won’t fall in love,
I won’t fall in love, I won’t fall in love,
          because falling in love means giving up control—
                    the surrender, the waving of the white flag I didn’t know I owned,
                    and I’d much rather be in love with cities
and paintings and landscapes and pleasures
                    and what about Tokyo at night and Ingres’ Princesse de Broglie
                              and whips and bodysuits and catsuits and handcuffs,

          kinking it up, the whole boudoir
                    delivered to my doorstep, and in this sushi bar in Downtown Phoenix
                    when the whipped plum ice cream comes,
          I’m reminded of that lingerie commercial
                    when the supermodel sporting a pink-polka-dot-lace-number
                    grabs the cake from the fridge, smearing whipped cream on her breasts,
          and what’s with people ordering cakes nowadays,
                              writing all kinds of nasty stuff in icing all over them, whatever happened
                    to the sanctity of vanilla with strawberry filling,
                              and as I watch her breasts
rub-a-rub-rub all over the icing, I’m dreaming of the fashion reality
                    show where the designers dress female wrestlers—
          oh, that blue bodysuit, a feline superhero across the mat—
                    she saves the day, and speaking of sexy,
          what about that nineties moment when Gianni Versace dresses
                    Liz Hurley in THAT dress of black silk and lycra
          and THOSE gold safety pins down her curves,
                    and provoke me, daddy, yes, provoke me,
I could watch this lingerie ad over and over,
                    and over and over, and I remember that bartender in Ithaca
                              mansplaining to a friend and me,
saying that well-behaved girls don’t order Long Island Iced Teas,
          and what does he know? Actually, I could use one now,
                    because why play it safe? Let our hair down,

our bra straps loose, our panties off, because a woman’s breast
          is the most beautiful sight in the world,
                    and I’ll say that again: a woman’s breast is the most
beautiful sight in the world, because we birthed

          all your fantasies and nightmares,
the image that makes the earth freeze,
                    gives a film the R-rating, the constant rewind,
those blue panties I lost with “Rated R” screen-printed
          on them, and it’s a little cheesy, yes,
                    but a little cheesecake is always fun—
give me kink in a cocktail glass or your strongest whiskey
          or a tequila that makes my tongue tease,
                              give it action,
                    because I’ve got the sweetest voice in the world,
          but I’ll say the nastiest things: just pick up the phone
                              and I’ll tell you exactly what you want.



Asian Girls from Mars Go Everywhere

A supermodel holds a clutch that reads “Good Girl”
          down the runway, and I think wow, way to put
a label on yourself, because are women either
          Good Girls on Earth or Bad Girls from Mars
who’ll take you places beyond and beyond and beyond,
          and you might’ve heard that Women are from Venus
and Men are from Mars, but that story’s old,
          because I don’t want to talk about my problems,
I want to find solutions, and I hate walks on the beach
          and couples’ night and couples’ booths
and couples’ specials, and all I want for Valentine’s Day
          always, is sex and lobster, and skip the chocolate
and roses, or actually, I’ll take a box of Godiva,
          but Gold Collection, the thirty-six piece box
with a baby blue ribbon only—a woman always
          knows exactly what she wants, and have you heard
that girls on Earth are really nice, which should be
          the title of a porno mocking '70s porn
and maybe there’s cheerleaders in tight sweaters and rah
          rah rah, and shower scenes and a Charlie’s
-esque slo-mo montage, but the point is
          these women aren’t looking for love, and aliens
land on Earth—America of all places,
          and these aliens, well, they know about art
and fine cheese and wine and the right way to cut fresh
          fish for some fresh sashimi, and the women
are charmed, oh so charmed, and maybe they’re Bad Girls,
          because they want to go places, and I want
to go places too, like cities you only see in film, the way
          the sky’s purple in Japanese animation
or what about those beautiful towns with beautiful
          bakeries of melon bread and chestnut cakes
and strawberry tarts with piles and piles of cream,
          and what about neon pink cities with those skylines,
and maybe I’m a Bad Girl because I want to go places,
          and I think about that clutch walking down
the Milan runway—“Good Girl,” how Asian girls, well,
          we’ve got that thing going on, and the world
sees us as these Good Girls with our round heads
          and innocent eyes, oh so kawaii, and yes, daddy,
yes, or take the way girls in anime flash
          their panties to show a little innocence,
show a little Oops, I really didn’t mean to,
          and we all know that they know what they’re doing,
and isn’t it beautiful when you can play a little
          trick on the world, flash your panties, strip
a man of his everything, and if Good Girls hold white
          clutches and stay on Earth, then I want
to go to Mars, which should be the title, not of a porno,
          but of a real-life film, because don’t you want
piles and piles of fluffy cakes with fluffy centers
          and never-ending fruit on top and strawberry filling
and the fattiest of all fatty tuna of sashimi, and you can
          eat and eat and eat and dress and undress,
dress and undress yourself in front of a million mirrors
          in a castle on a cliff that floats in the sky,
while the clouds change colors, and oh, why can’t we
          just leave this Earth, buy a rocket ticket to Mars?



Ode to the Woman-Child Aesthetic

Because it’s scorching, and I bruise easily,
          I’ve got two Band-Aids, one on each knee,
short shorts, tanned legs in the Arizona heat,
          reminding me of nineties runways of hot girls
wearing babydolls and heavy liner and boots—
          kinderwhore fashionista Venuses born from chocolate
eggs of the sort of sweet dark variety or the too
          sweet white cocoa, because there is no in-between,
and what a beautiful surprise, making Botticelli
          proud, and was he dreamy, I wonder, because I heard
Raphael was quite the ladies’ man, but who really cares
          about those two when you’ve got art come to life: actresses
at the Met Gala walking those steps with the Sistine Chapel
          painted on their gowns, and these kinderwhore goddesses
rise from candy eggs, their Godiva hair bleached,
          a little messy, red lipstick reapplied after biting,
and oh baby, baby, baby, have you ever left a ring of rouge
          on your man while he’s standing up, marking your territory,
making his dreams and nightmares come true, and repeat,
          repeat, repeat, these kinderwhore Venuses are ready for a little
destruction in their Peter Pan collars and Mary Janes
          and beautiful women of beautiful dolls of good girls
with smeared makeup, smashing guitars on stage,
          or straight-up conquering the whole world—the center
of the universe, the 1960s B-movie so bad it’s so damn
          good it interrupts your makeout session with the hottest
girl in school at the drive-in, and get up, get her more
          popcorn, a cherry cola to put over her breast, and these women
deserve everything and a dozen of the best pastries—
          naughty babes in good girl clothes, and in this Arizona heat,
I really could use a cherry cola over my breast, and a friend
          sees my bandages, saying, “Wow, I haven’t seen this look
on someone over the age of ten in a while,” laughing,
          and I hate jokes about girls on their knees, but I love
being the naughty type, the woman child in her shorts
          running around, her lover wrestling her to the ground,
and let’s have a playful romp because we only live once,
          and my father hates it when I wear shorts because they make
me look like I’m a child, and that’s the point, Dad,
          I spread my legs however I please in boardrooms
and meetings, and how fun, to take control, jump
          on a desk, holding a ruler in your fourth-grade outfit,
and I love this power because you don’t suspect a thing,
          and I’m oh so innocent, and my friend Molly agrees—
it’s woman child, it’s kinderwhore, it’s the girl-next-door
          only she’s moved, and let’s all fall back in love
with our fourth-grade outfits, because we are women,
          little tomboy troublemakers, and more power to you
because you’ve got the loveliest innocent looking face, honey,
          and oh, slam that ruler, slam it real hard.