Engine Empire: Poems

By Cathy Park Hong

"A brainy, glinting triptych . . . . Novelistic, meditative, offbeat, and soulful, Cathy Park Hong's poetry is many fathoms deep." ―David Mitchell

Engine Empire is a trilogy of lyric and narrative poems that evoke an array of genres and voices, from Western ballads to sonnets approximately industrialized China to fragmented lyric poems set sooner or later. via 3 certain but interconnected sequences, Cathy Park Hong explores the collective awareness of fictionalized boomtowns on the way to discover the parable of prosperity. the 1st series, referred to as "Ballad of Our Jim," attracts notion from the outdated West and follows a band of outlaw fortune seekers who trip to a California mining city in the course of the 1800s. within the moment series, "Shangdu, My crafty Boomtown!" a fictional industrialized boomtown attracts its thought from present-day Shenzhen, China. The 3rd and final part, "The international Cloud," is decided within the a ways destiny and tracks how person realization breaks up while everything―books, our deepest memories―becomes instantly available info. considered one of our so much startlingly unique poets, Hong attracts jointly person voices at odds with the area, voices that sing their ask yourself and terror.

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Oh, he’s no longer scowling at you, he’s scowling at me yet he doesn’t understand that i do know this: Pig! higher now not stir shit up! I’m staring at you! you want to excuse caddies for in fact, they're liable to human mistakes. sprint off? Why do you have to sprint off? To sprint down what you simply dreamed? yet my pal, I’ve already dreamed up this Xanadu, a trifling forty miles from Shangdu, with the earnings of my lint rollers and rolls of polysynthetic fur! Oh, I see: each moment you stall until eventually you write your opiate dream down, your Elysian visions will break out your take hold of, and your verse will end leadenly. enable me to wipe the crusted sleep out of your eyes with my thumbs. whilst i used to be a baby, I had untreated pinkeye and my ma used to wipe the mucus tearing from my eyes, whereas she smoked her never-ending cigarettes to calm the parasites in her abdominal. open air Shangdu, we've got a sprawl of state Housing backyard estates. My little lady lives in a single of those homes, wishing to be a poet such as you. Will you pass and teach her? i'll pay you handsomely. I continually inform her, you need to perform daily. She practices, daily. present Sister, you won't approve yet my lover is the final surviving, mannerly hearted archaeologist. it all started while he kindly gave me a travel of his domestic and unrolled a ball of gold-crushed sash to shew me the rarest-of-all artifact: a narwal’s horn, carved with a conflict scene of four hundred males on horseback. The relief’s information so delicately whorled and fretted, i may discover the dimensions on each blood-stained armor, enamel on every one neighing, reeling horse or even the vessels in a pushed warrior’s eyes. He stated as soon as Shangdu was once a urban of workmanship, They bartered carvings and ink whose houses have been confirmed to be deadly, he acknowledged, whilst students have been punished and compelled to drink them instantly. * jointly, we wander the open-air marketplace. They hawk outmoded tracts as nostalgic curios: The People’s Creed, The People’s Deeds, The People’s wishes. except tracts and digital gadgets—DVD gamers in each edition and in addition, DVDs of each style— apothecaries have organize store, hocking ointments like teatree oil to thrust back mosquitoes, ointments claimed to be made up of seal blubber to medication infected thyroids, balms as typical contraception, and imported chilly drugs tha’taste like wincing candy cherries. All quackery, the archaeologist warned me, aside from the scents, and acquired me a classic seagreen atomizer bottle with a knitted squeeze bulb. We have been the 1st to import tea roses, he acknowledged, and ahead of I spritzed the wealthy fragrance he acknowledged, while I die, i would like you to put on tha’ scent because it will explode with the thoughts of our time jointly. I blushed at his sentimentality. * I should still imagine it a desire in the event you now not inform Ma of my affair— i'm going to make a decision with marriage quickly adequate. in fact, the archaeologist is way too previous for me. particularly, i've got many suitors right here together with a Christian that you may well imagine queer, yet those are unusual instances, Sister. everyone is starting to think in gods and godheads church buildings with fattened coffers were close down and feature quickly reopened as ecocnomic agencies.

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