To Go To Macau

Photos and Text by Jasper Lo

To Go To Macau is a collection of poetry that I've been working on. You can categorize it in both genres of cookbook and memoir, your typical Good Morning America grandmother combo. This collection attempts to answer opposing questions two SIPA students have asked me: by a Chinese student during orientation, "But you're not really Chinese right?" and by an American student at a SIPA happy hour, "You were born here? Are you American?" Within these two questions, I explore themes of diaspora, violence, masculinity, race, and migration. 

Here's the Chinese takeout menu (translator) that goes with it:

To Go to Macau
After To Go to Lvov

To go to Macau – there are no stations: only berths.
Floating cans and barrels; pillars
among the buoys. The quiet sea.

the tendon – remove the blood, its impurities
and place in a rolling boil, piece by piece;
remove and plunge in ice.

Squint passed the steam,
the fogged longing
of plastic bags hanging off fingers,
tracking across the swirling black stone of Senado Square.
Pass the canary yellow pillars,
see their white tipped archways?

                             The steel skimmer,
remove the tendon.

When you eat, you eat memory.
Try to recall the interior port,
the former Cais de Vapores.  
When you suck the tendon,
O your mouth to exhale the heat,
let your tongue grow small.

And as you shrink – let your memory grow:
hear the clatter of steel stock-pots.
Bite down, shred, and O again,
hear the quiet sea,
stare at the lids covering tendons,
gently through the night.