We must rapidly begin

Jenny Zhang

the western arrogance of feelings
my ancestors had ancestors too
they wore sheep faces and renamed the orient
“the orient”
but in their own language
is there anything to be said
about my own language
rounding the corners of l’s I say
I love you and I rub you
the tradition of going somewhere
the tradition of saving someone
real heroes who won’t wait
for monuments
for plaques carved from ancient stone
it’s just not heroes who admit
to oneiric ways of resolving the past
I boo him so he knows my limits
at least I have some
the tradition of getting someone hard
just by saying
“I’ve been thinking about this all day”
is really something else
the shift from a thing-oriented society
to a person-oriented society
but yr thing is like the only thing
I have that many feelings about
my ancestor’s thingie
stayed solid thru the evening
and for once it feels right to say
it is as if my entire life up until then
had been in service of everyone else’s dreams
there is something about speaking
when the other person does not know
when I am known finally
you will bend one knee so gently
the bees will have flowers of their own
their princely ballads will remind us
of who we so valiantly fantasized about saving
I speak now as a child of God:
let me have my moment
I recline and recline and recline
into the bright nothing I speak wastefully
into the bright nothing I go further
I even dare to say: we must speak (for them)
and raise the questions they cannot