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Jeffrey Thomas Leong - San Francisco, California (USA):
April 20, 2001:
This is the book of beginnings, it is the first book you
ever read, and it was about a dog in pajamas, the remainder
of books are not in any particular order.
This book cannot be read in America by sons and daughters of
Chinese immigrants, though it is a journal of poems written in Chinese
about Angel Island, where my grandfather stayed, the book of dreams I
need most, for which I have no translation, no interpreter.
This, the book of uncommon translations: the three dialects of the family
tree from Kwangtung China. First, grandma whose Heung Shan village slang
was a woman worth nothing in the 1920's, her unbound feet better
to traipse the field’s rows. The second, in English, for her
son, the only boy-child in a setting of eight, who could do
no wrong but still flunked the bar exam. The third, for
his wife, whose parents spoke a different village dialect
and was hated for her inflections, her stupid antecedents.
This book a practical tome on "being prepared," how to tie a
square knot, shape a bandana into a triangle, or to dig a
latrine when camping in the backyard, but never showed you how to
swim that necessary lap from tenderfoot to second class, so you abandoned
it to the wilderness of page 33.
This is the book of the untranslated "Le Petit Prince" by Antoine
St. Exupery, text of French IV in the 12th grade, when you
were infatuated with your blonde-haired friend who, too, was wooed by tiny
wisdom, though you both knew the world too ball-like, too small for
a snake and a child to be in love.
This book of memories, red leatherette-bound with silver embossed lettering on its
cover, inside of which scrawled words, self-conscious of becoming memory, statement sounds
like "Bitchin!'" and "You're crazy, the most!" But thirty years beyond,
the one you thirst is her "Stay a nice guy, don't ever
These are the twenty seven spiral-bound, green-tinted notebooks during the period of
divorce, where the blue-lined scrawl fills every inch of page with its
misery, back-slanted, sloppy, and quickly dashed, so different from your present script,
though you know penmanship just an angled turn away from tears.
This book not intellectual, though it has intellect, this book is not
factual, though it has facts, this book is not sexual, though
it has sex.
This price guide is about large format, graphic myths and their subsequent
value, when purchased for 10 cents in 1963, (who had heard
of X-Men then?), this book continues to confirm what a numeric fool
you’ve been, selling issue number one in ‘72 for 25 cents, worth
$17,350 in 2001.
This traveling book has maps of Paris and recommendations of where to
eat, what museums to see, the Louvre, certain paintings that command investigation,
it recommends the 10 essential things to do romantic on that last
vacation before adopting a child from China.
This, a book with no narrative, just squared lines with notes hung
on the balance of their white face, a song that evokes a
story, that we tell ourselves in each note we hear.
This book still unpublished, a book which burns to be born, but
only an assemblage of word processed pages, Microsoft-worded, Times New Roman 12,
with one inch margins in many iterations, each one sitting on a
transparent desk waiting for its editor.
This book of recipes meant to be soiled by hands unwashed with
peanut oil, wheat flour, oyster sauce, speckled by the wok's great splash,
observed and seasoned by every formula of its own proven sentence.
This book has no happy ending, has no ending, ends happily though
without ending, its progeny, other little books that have no ending, this
book goes on and on.