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Free for download 11/29

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Priscilla Lee | 1 comments Hello all,

My book of poetry, "Chiu's House of Lovely Animals: Confessional Poetry Written by a Ridiculously Funny Asian American Manic Depressive," will be free to download on 11/29/2013.

The poems explore the peculiarities of everyday life living with an insane politically incorrect husband and a taco-eating cat. Irreverent, sometimes funny, sometimes dark, these personal poems deal with identity, marriage, wearing the wrong underwear, and bad Chinese food.

A sample poem:
Homage to Boy George

At night I’d drink blue cough syrup and lie down
to listen to Boy George croon, “Do you really want to hurt me?”
That year I was sixteen and had his poster of “Kissing
to be Clever” tacked to the wall of the room I shared
with my sister in the Sunset district where Chinese families
moved after doing their time in Chinatown.

Every morning I’d pack my school bag with spray-on fuchsia
hair color, jeans from Goodwill, and Dad’s sweater vest,
and wait on 19th Avenue for the 28 Bus to take me to school
where I could make my transformation and escape my life
of being a good Chinese girl who carried chickens for Mom
when she went shopping in Chinatown or translated for her
and her friends at the unemployment office.

At Lowell High School I was a disaster—the weird girl
with a ski slope on her head held up with a pound of V05.
Peer pressure from the very, very cool Chinese-American girls
in their wavy wedge platforms and Members Only jackets
didn’t stop me from wearing Dad’s ratty avocado sweater vest.
In the girl’s bathroom every morning, I drew in my black eyeliner.

My family realized God had found the ultimate way to torment
them in America. The first love of their precious pearl’s life
was Boy George, a man with perfect make-up wearing a dress.
Late that spring, my extended family called a conference
for an intervention. Uncle Bing said, “That’s how it all starts.
The funny people will recruit her, thinking she’s one of them.”
Dad wondered why couldn’t I be normal, put up a picture
of Mick Jagger. My sister chimed in, “The kids
in our science class think she’s a misfit and don’t know
we’re related.” Auntie Agnes was concerned that the Emporium
might not let her exchange the sweater she got me
at half price. It was the eighties. They didn’t know.
I was just the first kid to grow up in my family in a time
before Chinese men started wearing pink.

Wishbone is also free for download at

Sample poem:
Portsmouth Square, 1966

In the picture, I am nine months old,
tight white
bundle in red booties
carried out for a walk in the park. You are
a thin fortyish woman in cat-eye glasses
and a blue chemise,
young enough to be my mother.

You were the one who woke before dawn
to feed me, and the one who now waits
for me by the window in the evenings.

My mother and I were the packaged deal
you sent for: Hong Kong bride with child
on the way, the marriage that would save
your oldest son from Vietnam.

So, when my mother arrived
in this country, hunch-shouldered
and sway-backed, her five-month
pregnancy hidden
under a small beaded sweater,

you boiled angelica root
and whole chickens for soup,
and promised to bring her mother and sisters
to America. Later, after she complained
that the constant crying tore at her heart,
you moved me into your room
across the hall, tied me
down to the crib with rope.

In this picture, I did not know
who my mother was. I will not know until
almost three years later, dragging
a blanket from our room,
I see a beautiful woman in floral pajamas,
bending over to light
the furnace in the hallway, her powdered face
glowing from the flame. I will ask you
who the woman is, and you will answer,
she is your mother.

My bio:
Priscilla Lee is the author of Wishbone and Chiu's House of Lovely Animals. Her awards include a Poetry Book Award from The Association for Asian American Studies, an Emily Chamberlain Cook Poetry Prize from UC Berkeley, and the San Francisco Foundation's James D. Phelan Literary Award.

Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, ZYZZYVA, and anthologies such as Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves, Proposing on the Brooklyn Bridge, and The Place That Inhabits Us: Poems of the San Francisco Bay Watershed. She lives in San Francisco (where absolutely no one eats Rice-A-Roni) with her husband and two black cats.


message 2: by ♕ ❤ ♕ Princess pink diamonds posh bird LINZY.x.♕ ❤ ♕ (last edited Nov 29, 2013 12:13PM) (new)

 ♕ ❤  ♕ Princess pink diamonds posh bird LINZY.x.♕ ❤ ♕ (marilyngoodreadscom) | 1 comments I like that Priscilla.Just got it.Thanks.
I've also made a thread and advertised your book on my writing group.

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