Jul 4, 2017

Culture Fit

What's the secret sauce in the family recipe?
I wake up angry like the Hulk but Chinese
These fists are forged from Chan and Lee
kung fu movies I was too young to see

Time to rise up, can't throw away my shot
America! United! Where I'm white until I'm not
but cut me there's yellow bubbling at the seam
What are we but a generation accused of being coddled?
Part of a minority on which others are modeled?
Don't complain because I'm living the Asian American dream

This home of the brave, this land of the free
The freedom to hear "go back home!" shouted at me
Erasing the accent helps me pass on the phone
No mystery on my history - I'm a "good one"
followed the rules, came in the front door
no desperate fool washed up on the shores.
So it's cool, I'm cool, we're cool til we're not
The mood is high but no solid offer
I can stand my ground but I can't take my slants off
like you can take your pants off (Rimshot. Laughter.)

<Exit, pursued by an eagle.>


says my dad the way he does.
how do you get to the fair?
"Practice, practice, practice," I joke
like he did, when as a child I asked,
How do you get ahead?
I think you take 680
or 580
or both
to which he responds,
There are too many 80s around here.

The plan is to have an All-American day
with my alt-American dad
wearing my Captain America hat
him in an old shirt with The Clash
(I'm not sure he's ever heard The Clash)
wearing this season's Immigrant Hipster
hoping we pass for patriotic.

This is summer - for me, at least.
Fairs and farmyards
piglets and pickles filled with bacon and Nutella
but for my father I wonder
if farmwork reminds him of revolution
of working with his hands
of Work Visas and sponsors
of a family separated by a sea.

Now here we are, a moment away
from monster truck racing
as the speakers tell us to stand and stay
standing for America and America
and America.