(Dramatic Monologue as Shi Pei Pu)
After being married to your sunburned childhoodsweetheart, the French Embassy, for xx years, you'd think a littlepeace from backseat driving is finally deserved. But no.The plinky harp of counterintelligence goes on in perpetuity.I brought down the heavens on my husband for making merun yellow lights. On my skin? During Beijing Opera season?Every primordial rib and chaotic theory has been acid-etchedon the honeycomb disco of my Double Stuf chrysalis. Every enemy campstitched on my gloving cheongsam. Every code I passed,and the male guards always let me pass. I ate goodjade in the clothes of a lowly peasant cabbage and flossedwith archangel's gut and brass. I used no drugs or prophylacticsto fascinate both men and women. For two decades we were strung outlike paper lanterns, or vintage rice parasols. Love is sending usup with no other forms of protection. I have that oyster grit but you,the suicidal thoughts of a meat cleaver. I hit thatconcubine's high note first and dragged myself outlong as the molting west was bottle green. Stuntmen are wholly goodfor two things: missing your redacted's birthday andbombshelling Hong Kong orange. Nothing tells me what I wasand what they were didn't matter.
“(Dramatic Monologue as Shi Pei Pu)” from SPOOKS by Stella Wong.
Published by Saturnalia Books in March 2022.
Copyright © 2022 by Stella Wong.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Stella Wong is the author of Spooks, winner of the Saturnalia Books Editors Prize, and American Zero, selected for the Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize by Danez Smith. A graduate of Harvard and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Wong’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Colorado Review, Lana Turner, Bennington Review, the LA Review of Books, and more.
"Stella Wong wields the kind of weaponry I live to be slayed by. Funny as hell, delightfully strange and full of a sneaky and giant heart, holds its beloved subjects — friends, siblings, Lucy Liu, grapefruits, all the jesuses the poet can muster — and gives them body with wicked imagination and knock-out tenderness. This book will knock the windows of your heart not just open, but out the frame once you see how far Wong can dive into fear and the terrible possibles of humanness can still carry back something like hope, gooder than joy. Wong has crafted a brief, but mighty collection of poems that point towards the bright possibly of power to make us better dreamers, better lovers, better homies, and oh my jesuses how thankful I am for this abundant offering. I'm sure you will be too."
— Danez Smith
"If poetry were a biathlon, Stella Wong would take the gold. She's a solid skier and a crack shot, each poem a bullet hitting its mark. Thank God she's turned all of this energy and accuracy into poetry. 'Where do you put your body of color' she asks. Then proceeds to school everyone. Stella Wong is a force, a maker, a master."
— D.A. Powell
"Spooks is an inquiring of rhythms. Its poems think in rhythms derived from many cultural sources, but most often from hip-hop as filtered through everyday speech—but not only rhythms derived from music, but also rhythms derived from the motions of culture both at the center and the periphery of Stella Wong's attention. While foregrounding various rhythms, the poems in Spooks defy those sources thereof that are rooted in patriarchy and other forms of oppression—these poems ask what new songs can be made of a tainted music, even while being such songs."
— Shane McCrae