Made me homesick?

rom ING GRISH

I never learned Singlish

I cannot speak Taglish, but I have registered
the tonal shifts of Dumglish, Bumglish, and Scumglish

I do not know Ing Grish, but I will study it down to its
black and broken bones

I do not know Ing Gwish, but I speak dung and dungaree,
satrap and claptrap

Today I speak barbecue and canoe

Today I speak running dog and yellow dog

I do not know Spin Gloss, but I hear humdrum and humdinger,
bugaboo and jigaboo

I do not know Ang Grish, but I can tell you that my last name
consists of three letters, and that technically all of them are vowels

I do not know Um Glish, but I do know how to eat with two sticks

Oh but I do know English because my father’s mother was English
and because my father was born in New York in 1921
and was able to return to America in 1949
and become a citizen

I no speak Chinee, Chanel, or Cheyenne

I do know English because I am able to tell others
that I am not who they think I am

I do not know Chinese because my mother said that I refused to learn it
from the moment I was born, and that my refusal
was one of the greatest sorrows of her life,
the other being the birth of my brother

I do know Chinese because I understood what my mother’s friend told her
one Sunday morning, shortly after she sat down for tea:
“I hope you don’t mind that I parked my helicopter on your roof.”

John Yau

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One response

  1. Zorro

    And of course it made me think of Miss Deer and her teaching endeavors in the big C.

    July 21, 2012 at 03:03

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