asianamerican halfbreed trilogy

(originally published in The Canary 2006)

why my name’s not eddie sora as told to me by my father

there were 3 Go brothers from china
who lived in the philippines
& ran a successful gas station/rosary shop
until one of them Go-ke-beng fell
in love w/ trinidad marquez a local
& had to convert to catholicism in order
to marry her & he had to
take a christian name & became william
Go—though they tried to change
his family name too but he refused
i was never really sure who they were
but they must’ve been in cahoots w/
the brothers who returned to china
w/ everything leaving my grandfather
behind to protect his family
when the japanese came

i’m still not sure who they are
but i railed against them
in that period from my late teens
into my early 20s
when i saw it as my duty to inform everyone of who i was
& what greatness i had come from
not the lies i had been taught
but truth about fireworks & genghis khan
marco polo & magellan
things i’ve already written about

that was my kill whitey stage
i came out of that
but what i’ve never told anyone is
my main inspiration for reclaiming
my heritage was
the karate kid
part 2—the one where daniel-san accompanies mr miyagi
back to okinawa
& asses get kicked but this time it’s not about a trophy
it’s about honor
mr miyagi tells daniel-san in okinawa honor is very serious
& he also tells him the best way to avoid a punch is
don’t be there
that teaching has served me well

mr miyagi was one of my spiritual guides while growing up
the others were ben kenobi
who taught me there’s no such thing as luck
& master yoda who not just through word
but through action proved
size matters not

don’t worry—
i know the difference between
real life & fiction
i do not believe in the force
& i have no skills w/ a light saber
i can however choke people
from across a room

at least i’m not as big a dork as wesley crusher

ok wes—so you ended up pretty cool
w/ your ability to stop time
& traveling to other planes
of existence w/ the traveler
but that 1st time you fell in love
w/ the chick who could shapeshift
did you have to be such a wuss

the 1st time i fell in love
she only had one shape
her name was nalani martinez
i thought she was hispanic
but she explained to me how the spanish
couldn’t pronounce the natives’ names
so they changed them

why am i eduardo marquez
my last name’s chinese
i’ve told that story in another poem
but this is about how
everyone asks are you spanish
& when i say no they say
but your name’s eduardo
i tell them it’s filipino
& then i have to give them
a 30 second lesson in colonialism
well i don’t have to
but i like to

what i’d rather tell them though
is that even though
i know it’s my ethnic responsibility
to hate claire danes
because of that remark she made
a few years back
about manila
& the smell of cockroaches
i can forgive her for that

what i can’t get past
is that whole jordan catalano thing
angela what were you thinking

chicken soup for the asshole who i kicked in the nuts last week while waiting for a table at the olive garden

i guess i’m kinda sorry but
you talk shit you get shit
that’s just the way it goes

i suppose i could’ve quoted shakespeare at you
& everyone would’ve thought i was smart
& said ooh he reads a lot
which might be true but most of what i’ve learned
has come from television
i told my students recently
they should watch more television
& they laughed but i was serious
when i was a student they taught us what it is
to be a good american
but in all those years i can’t recall
once discussing the constitution
i learned about the constitution
on saturday mornings
schoolhouse rock—we the people / in order to form a more perfect union / establish justice ensure domestic tranquility / provide for the common defense / promote the general welfare & / secure the blessings of liberty / to ourselves & our posterity / do ordain & establish this / constitution / for the united states of / america

i believed in those words & when i was old enough to vote i voted but everyone i voted for has betrayed me

i’m waiting for the g
at midnight
& wondering why
i just can’t get this compassion thing down
when i’ve read
most of thich nhat hanh’s books
listened to the dalai lama
& meditate on a semi-regular basis
but still can’t get over the me chinese
me play joke
me put pee pee in your coke

joke—that was 30 years ago
& the only orientals i could look up to
besides my father
were bruce of course & kwai chang caine
who i was really down w/ cuz
he was a half-breed like me
but then i found out david carradine
was just a white guy chinking it up
& not only that
but he stole the part from bruce
who came up w/ the whole idea of the kung fu western
but they didn’t want an oriental
so i was left w/
mr sulu
& hong kong phooey—#1 superguy

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