The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2015

All Issues
MAR 2015 Issue

from Opinion Sonnets


Opinion Sonnet (4)


Plus I don’t understand their food
Who eats chicken feet and eggs
buried in mud is unwholesome
Something dirty slithers along
in their cleanliness you see what
no one is saying is how many of them
like to eat animals that got no eyes
some kind of in-between thing
Plus what kind of people eat six-
legged creatures and dried duck blood
You know there is something not right about
putting frogs and grasshoppers together
They aren’t friends - so why
serve them at the same dinner










Opinion Sonnet (5)


Did you know that every country has a virgin
their people hold hands and pray to
even when they are just pretending
except China, which is another giant reason
why I’m not holding my breath anytime soon
Even Japan has that gold cat that swats air
but with the Chinese what do you get
And don’t bother telling me about the panda
because if you ask me it’s just a big furry ruse
to make us think they’re absolutely normal
and they aren’t and never were even close
to what we think of as regular people
going about their business doing things
the way they have always been done










Opinion Sonnet (6)


I see no reason to let them go on
squawking jibber jabber
while squatting in the park
acting like it’s okay to be here in my city
because you know they bring everyone
even the infirm, and what are they good for
remember that song
I used to sing it all the time
before they started sneaking ashore
Boatloads of them out there in the dark
waiting to be stacked up in tiny apartments
you can hardly tell the old ones apart 
except maybe by their crooked teeth
Doesn’t anyone but me know how to end this










Opinion Sonnet (7)


Double click me if I am wrong
but they are known to turn bright red
when they imbibe the real stuff
which tells you maybe it’s not such a good thing
that they all ride bicycles over there
because the ones here can’t drive worth spit
Maybe it has to do with the tilt of their eyes
some genetic miscoding that makes them
unfit for the road just the rage directed
at their squat faces which I never trusted
Imagine deliciously repeated pile-ups and benders
I got nothing against them individually
because as far as I can see
none of them ever quite fit that category










Opinion Sonnet (8)


I am a history nut blessed
with a third eye when it comes
to hoovering the wormy underside
Once the floodgates opened
and a thousand businesses bloomed
in the crumbling countryside
we had given the Chinamen a second chance
So what if I know they helped build the railroad
got blown up by dynamite
and did the laundry
Is this what my future kids
are going to have to study in school
When I was young, they were more
famous for stealing pigeons from the park










Opinion Sonnet (9)
(Mark Wahlberg)


Why bring up that old tirade of slurs
when it was just some slurring slipping
from my swollen, drunken tongue
me in another life I left behind
Even as the neighborhood’s tarnished star
I can still say that I outshine all of you
but I need not recite that story again
It’s already written in the fat of your lives
Haven’t I learned to be perfectly polite
a form of manipulation none of you
have ever learned to master
Don’t my donations earn me a second chance
Some people deserve more
Frankly, I am one of them










Opinion Sonnet (10)
(Mark Wahlberg)


Sometimes you got to let everyone know
that you can charm clumps of moolah
into every niche of your empire
You see, son, I am not just another vanilla magilla
I had to learn from my messy errors
rapidly glean how to be a jerk that pleases
the ones who grease wheels and palms
Yes, I go to church nearly every day
and I am not so shiny that I won’t
get down and pray, but I have to say
that I disagree with the concept
of an “eye for an eye,” when it means
that that old gook would get mine
and all I would get back is his broken bean











John Yau

JOHN YAU has just completed a book of essays, The Wild Children of William Blake.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2015

All Issues