A crawl through tunnel made of flesh, first sound terror-screams,
a tough-nurse, “c’mon baby… push, breathe, harder… you can do it!”
Stalwart, Mama pushed, birth-room froze, a head emerged,
blood, what is it? boy, girl? A doctor’s slap, soothing cries,
Mama’s pain over for now, something tiny lay in her arms –
Smiling, mother names it ‘Chu-Tun Ru, Jr.,” he gets foot-printed,
a new name appeared in tomorrow’s Scranton Tribune “birth” section –
Chu Jr. knew not where he came, why? happy, he got a SSN,
grew capable, eventually worked grille at mother’s “China Star Restaurant,”
responded to local folk name-calling, “let’s roll, Confucius,”
perpetual calls for Sweet and Sour Chicken,
Wanton Soup, Egg Rolls, the family cash register rang crazy iris bells –
On break, Chu-Tun Ru Jr. studied 9th grade algebra,
listened to the way Kanye West spoke English,
and Chu gained a sense there’s life after a thousand combination platters
of Shrimp and Chinese Vegetables.
Barefoot-doctor rushed inside a rural Chinese village hut,
an old man’s heart stopped. No CPR and “paddles”around, old man died,
barefoot-doctor wondered, “What is it about death more powerful than I,
knows more how to fix damaged arteries?”
West of Kabul, on dirt road, sheep-crossing, an American soldier stepped
upon an I.E.D, carefully planted by an “insurgent” who grieved someone’s murder.
Like Johnny Cash motive in Folsom Prison, the insurgent killed a soldier,
“just to watch him die.”
Growing older, time-spent away from Eden, did God say vengeance is mine?
“If we were wide awake we would be instantly struck by horrors
which surround us.”1
Very soon, Chu-Tun Ru, Jr. craved love, opened a restaurant,
fashioned a pointy black-long beard, mastered English, put buddha aside,
took a bride, a pretty evangelical Christian-girl.
Catechized, baptized, received Holy Communion,
a Reverend walked with Chu atop Camelback Mountain.
Fresh air, tall weeds, Gomorrah calling,
Chu recalled Dr’s slap-on-ass, his dear Mama’s death in a house fire.
“Death, (expletive) death, Father Nicholas… can you tell me what that is?”
A psalm: In the valley of shadows, I fear no evil…
Father Nicholas looked ahead, knew not quite life, the vastness –
he saw a hole in the wild, hidden by brush, spiraled downward,
a hole into which a bear might reasonably climb for shelter.
Both he and Chu feared getting close to the hole, looked inside, a risk,
they feared, retreated.
Nicholas turned to Chu, feigned anger, hollered,
“C’mon, Chu… this is your moment… a bear sleeps within;
you must shout, importune it to emerge, unleash it’s umbilical cord
from cold, cold ground! live again and again, like General Tso Jesus did,
turned honey into Arizona Green Tea, $0.99 per can –
forever put to death The Wiseman policy, One (1) Child Family.
Down deep, the bear slept, stirred at Aramaic voices.
“Rise Lazarus… I command thee, rise!”
Did not flinch, bear’s name was Chu-Tun Ru, I – born in Kamchatka Pensinsula,
son of a Lithuanian P.O.W. Mother; buddha-papa fought in Shanhai, 1949.
The bear reasoned only way it could, an outlaw, it thought it would die there.
Liberty in such OSHA Confined-Space was perfect, and Mama taught Chu
to always obey commands, especially when hunting season came around,
“Keep paws low and nose down, Chu,” suggested Momma bear.
Fur felt comfortable, arthritic paws endurable,
and just to make the priest think deeper, Chu, I softly growled, turned
like over-done Egg foo Young, returned to Trinity-Bear dreams.
August 2012 –
I remember my hands touch upon Chu-Tun Ru, Jr.’s silver-casket.
Why did I want him to come out?
Growing old and nearing death, I attended Chu’s funeral brunch.
Waitresses served bacon and eggs, spaghetti and meatballs,
100 Flowers Bloomed on white-sheet tabletops,
I crawled beneath the table while a priest prayed, mentioned Chu’s name.
“Chu was a good American, pledged allegiance, made good at business,
joined Chamber of Commerce, faithful, gave-up smoking, supported war on terror,
loved the NY Yankees, registered Republican, was a good-giver, not a taker...”
Under my breath, I whispered, “C’mon Confucius,
what the (expletive) is the matter with you?
Speak to me, little-man… do cats have your tongue,
sleek-ones Egyptians worshipped?
Silence, silence, what more can I say to Chu?
Under the table, I heard a Chef’s voice bellow-out kitchen,
“Anyone up for hearing what Chu’s last Fortune-Cookie said?”
- Henry Miller said this in The World of Sex, 1941. [↩]