contraband
when we touch
tongue  to tongue
you can taste     the languages I speak
水   water (dipthong)
客     guest (consonants clipped from your lips)
水 客       water guest
I ask you for songs
  your mother sang to you
I remember them
and sing them    in the quiet
I know a song about a clay doll:
她是個假娃娃
不是個真娃娃
她沒有親愛的媽媽
也沒有爸爸
泥娃娃 泥娃娃
一個泥娃娃
也有個鼻子
也有個嘴巴
嘴巴不說話
she's a doll
not a baby
she has no loving mama
she has no loving papa
clay doll clay doll
a doll of clay
she has a nose
she has a mouth
but she can't speak
I know a song about a rabbit and the moon:
うさぎ うさぎ
 何見て跳ねる
十五夜   お月様
  見て跳ねる
rabbit rabbit    where
are you jumping to?
I'm jumping
   to  the full moon
            of the fifteenth
when we touch      tongue to tongue
              you know
      I traffic   in songs
    I steal from you   when you're not   watching
sing to you       when you're not listening
nandito ako
umiibig saiyo
kahit naa nagdurugo ang puso
kung sa ka ling iwa nan kanyaa
hwag kag ma alala
may na mag mahal saiyo
nandito ako
I am here loving you
     though my heart is bleeding
          
       if she leaves you
   don't you worry
   there is someone who loves
      you
          
       I am here
I come  from a line of smugglers
   my great grandfather was a 水客
      a water guest
           though he walked
  between hong kong
and the mainland
         the contraband?
don't laugh
         
   dried seafood
what duty
        would he've had to pay?
         my father arrived in the US
with a suitcase full of    nothing
     but ideas
US Customs and Border Protection Welcomes You
to the United States
I have nothing to declare.
my parents settled in snow
   snow   past spring
I was their firstborn
though there was one before me
conceived too early
         in another country
   uprooted
from my mother's womb
Declare all articles you have acquired abroad
and are bringing into the United States.
I have nothing to declare.
when we touch
   tongue to tongue
  I taste secrets    like salt
        on the corner of your lips
when your mother broke the news of your existence
to your father    he said:
   when this happens to my wife
  she takes care of it
            
              your mother didn't know
he was married
CBP officers will determine duty
I have nothing to declare.
your finger travels
      along my waist
   with no intent
            
I ease you into me
as I would
       a finger
     into snow
Declare all articles on this declaration form
and show the value in U.S. dollars.
I have nothing to declare.
I show you where to find
the zipper on my raw silk blouse
as if to say
            
how would you like to know me?
when we kiss in the morning
you hide your tongue behind your lips
            
I have nothing to declare.
there are times travel is easy
as a skirt
    billowing
  around my knees
on a bridge in Amsterdam  a woman
        speaks to me     in Dutch
      I can only guess
  she's asking    directions
I smile
and reply in a language I think we share:
    I don't know
  we laugh
  once a year    birds build a bridge
in the sky
                    for lovers, yes
    but also for those who laugh
          and say
  I don't know
        唔知
不知道   
分かりません
in the Sheesh Mahal
       Mirror Palace of Amer
I have seen my many selves reflected
  in thousands   of mosaic mirror tiles
how many selves have I left behind?
once a year
birds   build a bridge
          in the sky
I travel so easily I could almost forget
  how my mother refused
to use     my US passport
when we traveled to Communist China
if war broke
      between the countries   of my two selves
    I could claim
            
  I don't know
                je ne sais pas
I have nothing to declare.
my father can discern the colors a crawfish sees
  bees see sweeps of blue
    where we see white
      I would like to know
      how a bee
regards this country
            
      I would like to know
  what a bee carries
I have (We have)
commercial merchandise
(articles for sale, samples used for soliciting orders
or goods that are not considered personal effects)
I have nothing to declare.
my father built a machine to parse speech
            
a difference profile is generated
for each pair of significant phonemes
by subtracting the profile
of each phoneme from the profile of each other phoneme….
            
US Patent Office Abstract
     
he travels unquestioned across the Pacific
Controlled substances, obscene articles, and toxic substances
are generally prohibited entry.
I have nothing to declare.
my father quotes 莊子 Zhuang Zhi
who quotes Gōngsūn Lóng 公孫龍
            
以指喻指之非指,不若以非指喻指之非指也;
以馬喻馬之非馬,不若以非馬喻馬之非馬也。
            
天地一指也, 萬物一馬也。
a man approaches a border checkpoint with a horse
the guard tells him horses are not allowed
this is a white horse
        not a horse
  he replies
            
confounded   the guard lets him through
we can’t apply same word horse
to both
the general class of horses
      and all its subclasses
            
white horse
   black horse
      wild horse
yet 莊子 Zhuang Zhi concludes
           萬物一馬也
the word horse can represent all things
I ask
does the word American apply
to both
the general class of Americans
and all its subclasses:
white American
African American
Asian American
Latino American
Native American….
can we declare
the word American represents all humanity?
       
let us keep a moment of silence
for the
Americans
oscar grant   trayvon martin
jonathan ferrell   renisha mcbride
vincent chin
jacob valdiviezo   alex nieto
micheal brown
eric garner
freddie gray
they are
the unwanted children
of this
country
I travel so easily
I could almost forget
Americans with skin of a darker hue
may take the subway
sell cigarettes
deliver lunch to their children
and never come home
I travel so easily
I could almost forget
I am still here in this country loving you
& you
& you
& you
& you
Nandito ako
umiibig sa iyo
Kahit na nagdurugo ang puso
I am here loving you
though my heart is bleeding
broken
windshields
eggs
thrown into my friend's
Honda
in Ann Arbor
I am still here
EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066
Question #27:
Are you willing to serve
in the armed forces of the United States
on combat duty, wherever ordered?
Question #28:
Will you swear unqualified allegiance
to the United States of America
and faithfully defend the United States
from any and all attack
by foreign or domestic forces,
and forswear any form of allegiance
to the Japanese Emperor or any other
foreign government, power, or organization?
I have nothing to declare
the 442nd Regiment
gave themselves
to their country
like the rabbit
who jumped into fire
to feed  an old man
who was hungry
うさぎ うさぎ
何見てはねる
十五夜   お月様
  見て跳ねる
rabbit
rabbit
where are you jumping to
some declared
no   no
to
questions 27 & 28
I will speak to you
     if you speak to me
in a language   outside the coercion
of forms and fences
some danced    behind fences
to the song:
      
Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies
Don't fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don't fence me in
some made
love
silently
       
tongue to tongue
a tremulous beginning
       
like a husky note
       in the back
         of the throat
  an orchid stem
         with a swollen node
   a contraband
           bud
Sign on the other side of the form
after you have read
this important information above
and made a truthful declaration.
I have nothing to declare
I traffic in songs  unsung
        
     one quiet evening
you took in
        a thirteen year old boy
        
 his song has no rainbows
only a boy doing his sums
            late
               into the evening
        
and a man watching him
    like the father you both imagine
       into    existence
I traffic in songs
with quiet beginnings
        
I sing them
in the quiet
she's a doll
not a baby
she has no loving mama
she has no loving papa
clay doll clay doll
a doll of clay
I'll be her mama
I'll be her papa
        
I'll love her forever
她是個假娃娃
不是個真娃娃
她沒有親愛的媽媽
也沒有爸爸
泥娃娃 泥娃娃
一個泥娃娃
我做她媽媽 我做她爸爸
永遠愛著她