Four Poems by Nicholas YB Wong

Nicholas YB Wong

Nicholas YB Wong

Nicholas YB Wong received his MFA at the City University of Hong Kong and is the author of Cities of Sameness. He is a finalist of New Letters Poetry Award and a semi-finalist of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. He is on the editorial board of Drunken Boat and Mead: Magazine of Literature and Libations. Corgis are his favorite human breed.


You finally think for yourself in the urn,
where choices survive burning. You want
to be a carnal Barbie & stroll over sun-dappled
greens. You promise not to pee

with a leg dangling. Sit. Roll
up your slim silhouette costume, elegance

glitters at your risk. Want to be a phony toy
Porsche washed by velocity? Caution:

Batteries are replaced by adults & adults
by skin, clothing. Not for playing. Now —

fetch & paw options, ashen-leashed. The fun will find
itself. Don't explore humanity, it isn't a planet.

If dolls & cars aren't your pick, pick
paper. Be a book about how to put up

with humans after they put you down.
Be one, at least, to keep your spine, running.

For Henry




I hide in an onion, I must be a vegetarian
willing to be walled by sorry cellulose.

Who's lost the knowledge that tear bombs could
grow underground? Plow and peel with care,

I'm at peace with botany and being re-searched as such.
Where I live, though soiled, has no corners, unlike

your teeth that would never be the roundest to bite.
Remember that night when my lower body calmer

than the upper? Too much going on — thinking
and trundling. Onions can't multitask — plain

plant fact. Your salvation includes everything
you can sit on, which excludes me. I cannot

not reminisce for sex inserts a collage of pasts
into vessels of the very present. The body is

a continuum of mucid grace and breaks. I ask
no one I know to take me partially, but they do.

And say I'm their new whole.




American Standard
                 after Lady Macbeth

I whiten my morning into liquid by
having some milk

of human kindness. Walking reveals
one foot of the cruising, another

of the cruised. We make music with
our feet, our synchronous shoes. Out,

damned spot of this milk on my pants.
Out, damned hot stalker seeking weight

and wish near urinals, porcelains only
'American Stand-

ard' can approach. Unsex me here, I wish
I wasn't biological, a machine sticky

as marzipan. My bending is a sorry sight,
teeming with shortage of esteem. Who cares —

the soap dispenser only speaks
to the wall. When his arms hold me

from behind, I know what he
wants, the pasteurized kind.




Five Steps on Expository Writing: Origin of Hydrophilia


By the pool three toy ducks drool,                                                       1. Collect the most important
yellow plastic of S / M / L. I tell him love                                             information.       

has no size if we're all sizes, all ducks & he says true                         2. Explain unusual words
love ungloves the body if humidity is 100%.                                        or terms.

I dive in, my legs flutter kick, my arms mechanic                                 3. Use enough details to
like windmills. I think of the gender of                                                 thoroughly inform.
pool jets, view the fisheye view of other swimmers' butts
& the world vividly curvy up there

as if it's built by Gaudi. I fill a bucket                                                   4. Teach something new.
with water & empty it by the rain
shower drain just to prove what I can do besides
being the brackets in his habits.

If next morning we wake up with a breath bad                                     5. Make predictions.
enough & he thinks of pillows instead of me,
I'll hide the towels & hairdryer. His legs
will leak like conduits & the space
they induce when bent in bed, a dry lagoon.