Faced with a racist pickup line, the speaker of Jia Oak Baker’s poem chooses playfulness over outrage.
Too self-conscious to fight girls in The Kite Room tonight,
I slink over to the chill vibe of Big E’s Jazz Club in Dinkytown.
Maybe I’m not looking and maybe I am, but nothing
of what I’m doing says, Hey, Guy-at-the-End-of-the-Bar,
Come on over. But he does. Something in his eyes hollers,
He asks, Is it true that Asian women have two vaginas?
This is what happens when you move to the Midwest.
I want to say, Fuck off, you ignorant bastard,
but I’ve been taught to be 얌전 하다. Polite. Modest.
Well-behaved. The conversation’s struck, and so I sink
deeper into the ample leather. I should tell him
it’s a rare medical condition, a septum in the fetus’s developing
uterus that won’t break down. But I don’t. I lean in close, so close
my lips graze his ear, and my breast rests on his freckled arm.
I start my story as if it were a secret, barely audible
in the bellowing of the saxophone’s B flat. It’s totally true,
I say, Have you ever seen the way twin lotus flowers bloom . . .
Originally published in Likewise Folio (February 2013).
Jia Oak Baker has published several poems with us. Read them here.
Interested in submitting poetry to The Good Men Project? Check out our guidelines.
Like The Good Men Project on Facebook
Photo by -Reji /Flickr