Poetry / Dorothy Chan
:: Triple Sonnet of Fried Food, Fortune Cookies, and Miracles ::
– for Mickey My dog Buzzie’s in heaven eating fried chicken because it’s Christmas, and I swear I just saw his short legs with wings chase my dad out the kitchen to As Seen on TV in the living room where my mom’s watching an infomercial for a miracle fryer that leaves no grease, so it’s fries all day, Tater Tots and tempura for dinner and deep fried Oreos for dessert that’s all-you-can-eat with no consequences— a contraption so celestial I know it doesn’t actually exist. Buzzie’s sending me a message from the clouds, a holiday hello, a have fun while you can, Dorothy. And if Buzzie’s saying hello from Cloud 9, I know his fur’s looking more fabulous than all the women in Pantene Pro-V commercials with their hair flips coming from vitamins and minerals or the girls who oooooh, aahhh, and don’t stop for Herbal Essences, and we get it. Shower time’s sexy time™. Buzzie’s eating a fruit plate right about now, looking down as he wonders when we’ll leave for our annual holiday buffet as my mom tells me spirits never leave their homes, and that we believe our loved ones visit us in dreams about a week after they pass away, to say I love you. I love you, Dorothy. I hear this in my dreams, a reminder not just of Buzzie’s love, but my parents’, who visited the family psychic even before I was born, and no, I won’t give you Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but I will give you the story of my Tiger Father and Rabbit Mother getting fortunes for me, their Snake Daughter: tales of my temper and future husband, stories of how much I’ll end up loving my future children—if only I knew. Years later, after I’m born, Mom and Dad and I are at a Chinese restaurant, chowing down Neapolitan fortune cookies, because more than anything, I believe in fate.
:: Robot Fetish, Because We’re All A Little Lonely ::
A man in China collects life-size dolls not as lovers, but as daughters he tucks them into bed every night once he changes them out of dresses into PJs, the wall of purple unicorns and clouds behind them as they lie side by side, eyes open—fetish is fetish is fetish passed down to his son who’s gifted a doll on his sixteenth for pleasure purposes. And it’s breaking news like this that makes me wonder about loneliness: the virtual boyfriends and girlfriends that can’t be conjured, or the men in Japan who set a table for two at home: a glass of red wine for him, a slice of pizza for her— her, the four-foot pillow with bikini-clad anime character printed on, with facial expression that’s ready to squirm. But could you really fall in love with a robot if it told you I love you? What difference does it make if you’re looking for validation? So, why don’t we all have sex with robots, cross the deed off our bucket lists right now? We’ll rejoice, buy them clothes at the virtual marketplace—a Hajime Sorayama fantasy of robot babes pulling a Marilyn Monroe: dress blowing in the wind higher and higher—she seduces you with her legs until you realize her crack doesn’t exist—she can’t give you human flesh, the hardness and softness of two bodies pressed against each other in the sheets, and who cares if she tells you she loves you—I’d rather have the thrill of the chase.
From the writer
:: Account ::
A week after my beloved Buzzie passed away, he visited me in a fabulous dream. I recall hearing a bell and then before I know it, I’m up in the clouds with him. His sisters and Westie friend are napping next to him and he’s just lounging, enjoying the view, and getting ready to dig into his snack. And then the most amazing thing happens: he opens his mouth and words come out. When he says, “I love you, Dorothy. I miss you,” he says it in the exact deep and slow voice my mom and I always imagined him having. I love being right. I also love how he offers me a piece of filet mignon that’s served in this silver trophy. This was Buzzie’s first visit but not his last.
“Triple Sonnet of Fried Food, Fortune Cookies, and Miracles” is about those moments I feel Buzzie’s presence. I like to think that he went home for the holidays. He probably misses (not) watching television with my dad and chasing our family around the kitchen. I know there’s amazing food where he is, but I really miss sharing apples with him. Whenever I go home, my mom reassures me that Buzzie’s always with us. On a side note, my dad and I really did watch that “miracle fryer” commercial and proceeded to ask my mom whether such a thing could exist. One of my weirder pastimes is making fun of those As Seen on TV commercials. It’s hilarious how people in that universe cannot function. I also can’t believe anyone would buy jean pajamas or any of the ridiculous stuff they have on there.
But really, I write about love. It’s in those small moments that we feel a sense of family. And there’s also love in the friendship sense. “Triple Sonnet” is dedicated to my good friend Mickey, who is ironically a vegetarian. Oh well. At least he shares Buzzie’s love for apples. “Robot Fetish, Because We’re All A Little Lonely” is also ultimately about love. And I wish that all of you would either curl up next to someone you love or go out and enjoy the thrill of the chase—nothing’s better than that!
Dorothy Chan’s chapbook, Chinatown Sonnets, will be published May 2017 with New Delta Review. She was a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship and a 2017 finalist for the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry from Pleiades Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Plume, The Journal, Spillway, Little Patuxent Review, and The McNeese Review. She is the Assistant Editor of The Southeast Review. dorothypoetry.com