Two Poems

POETRY by Hao Guang Tse

Practical Considerations

Birth a spot welder’s flames from the guts
of two microwaves dumped by tall, dark strangers.
You are a rotten man, Frank, and I never
want to see you again. Sometimes we sit on our
secondhand settee and shed hot tears over the kids
who play in the oil drum band. Who knew trash-
tower clarinets could sound so much like rustling
plastic? Keep it to yourself, Frank, we all know what
you did with the old lightbulbs. The children learn,
watching hydrochloric acid and ammonia smoke
through a screen. Leave them alone with cheap
desktops. Never, ever let them near the spot welder.

I remember the first time he cried after eating
Mentos and Coke. The last time he laughed, swimming
in a pool bombarded with blocks of dry ice. I drip
homemade Prince Rupert’s Drops. Frank, you can scratch
your itch and collect the scrap solder another time.
Or when she wanted her Koosh balls but they
were all brittle and smashed. 10 random liquid nitrogen
experiments. Your very own electric aluminum
furnace and guess what you can make with it!
Days on end spent perfecting the right combination
of cesium and water for that spectacular finish.
Frank, Frank, scar on your arm. It was tough
using MovieMaker, but I killed it in the end.

Forget when the lights went out. Forget how surges
made hair stand up straight. All that’s left
is an astringent taste of copper and ion. 2 bits
in my hand, and I am lost for words. What will you trade
me for it, Frank? I want the roundest
sphere in the world. I’ve nothing and no-one
to teach me: here’s your precious D.I.Y. At least
this spot welder stays, still black-taped to my bosom.

Love Story

Unstoppable force meets immovable object.
They embrace, and if in particularly good

mood sip decaf in favorite hole-in-the-wall dive.
Aunt Agony, I have a Friend…

                                                 Bad taste
to write about Things in Capital Letters, like, God
forbid, oh.

                Counting down the syllables

in texts (start) meandering from grandma’s funeral (ten)
to where’s the best masala in town? (nine) climbing
mountain of do I look (eight) fat in this bodycon
dress (seven) you can be truthful, down (six)
valley of goodnights (five) emoticons (four) private
codes (three) taboo (two) phrase (one):
                                                                I Love…

Immovable object meets unstoppable force,
nods knowingly. In time of telegrams we talked
each to each in poetry stop. Every word counted
in coin stop. Send money stop. We knew when
to stop stop.

                    Scrawl poignant messages in ink,
on paper crumpled, uncrumpled, refolded
into bedraggled origami cranes. Texture approaches
emotion, the tail of W running astray informs
first slash of H and tearful blotted surprise
of quivering Y. A thousand of these and wishes
come true. Aunt Agony…

                                         Why not go back
to simpler times, when thick-skulled, pelt-
clad hunters, lugging home mastodon meat,
found to great astonishment themselves flat
upon cave wall—ochre prey falling, charcoal
spears darting—and gatherers pounding
berries, gleams in their eyes?

                                                Dyed hands daub
pigment on rock face. Unstoppable force meets
immovable object. A sign for man. A piece

of paper. A hasty telegram. A thread of sweet
nothings. A question,
                                   an answer.


Hao Guang Tse (MAPH ’14) is interested in form and formation, creativity and quotation, lyrics and line breaks. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in QLRS, Prairie Schooner, Tincture, Softblow, Cha, and Third Coast, amongst other venues. He has a chapbook, hyperlinkage (Math Paper Press 2013), and is currently working on a full-length collection.

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