Poems inspired by Prince from Jackie Chou

Starfish and Coffee
(inspired by Prince's Starfish and Coffee)

I wake up to coffee I make,
Nestle instant with green tea,
powdered creamer,
and a dash of Sweet and Low.
It tastes crappy,
but I love the feeling it brings.

I cannot afford Starbucks,
miss the whipped cream,
the caramel swirls.
Don't like maple syrup and jam,
or ham, or tangerine,
but orange marmalade with butter,
on crusty biscuits from KFC.

My mother clothed me 
in mildewed sweaters.
I wouldn't be surprised,
if she fed me starfish for breakfast.
She'd pack it in a grimy tin box,
for all my classmates to see,
just like the song goes.


Raspberry Parade: A Ghazal for Prince

On my way home from the cabaret,
I realize I've lost my beret.

The street is an endless parade,
raspberries on my float, not a beret. 

Vagabonds crowd the sidewalks,
wrapped in colorful rags, but no beret.

I wear a red dress my mother bought,
with a crystal tiara, not a beret.

She passed away in 1994, 
and the song isn't about me but a beret.

Bio Note: I write free verses, rhyming poems, and Japanese short form poetry, some of which saw the light of day in journals like Alien Buddha Zine, Spillwords, and Cajun Mutt Press, Fevers of the Mind Press. I am also a Jeopardy fan.




Poems inspired by Pablo Neruda by Jackie Chou

Love Song of the Unloving

I know you love me, you say.
How are you so sure, I wonder.
I suppose I do, 
as I love nothing else.

I don't love to write,
don't love bird songs,
the shards of sunlight
that spill through the blinds
all day.

So it could be true,
that I love you,
relatively speaking,
that compared to a dandelion,
a sparrow, a tree,
I like you a little more.

This small preference, 
for the sight, the sound, 
the scent of you,
accumulates daily, nightly,
hourly, monthly, yearly,
like drops of honey
add up to syrupy love,
which one tastes in one’s heart.

Ah, love,
you are sweeter than stardust,
shinier than dew.


Faded

Let me know if you still love me,
like I do you.

If you do I shall take liberty
to revisit our abandoned past,
continue our story where we left off.
I shall reserve an entire page
to store your ever-burning smile.

However, if you no longer love me,
also let me know.

I shall respectfully remove you 
from my heart, my dreams,
like a picture in a frame.
I shall discard memories of us
like long expired roses
inside a vase.

I shall not flip back the pages,
but will write a brand new story
without you in it,
but a different hero.

I'm Not a Fair Weather Friend

I love you 
not only when you're smiling
the sun kissing your dimpled cheeks 
but when sorrow depresses your lips
and the moon clouds your countenance
I love you in gold and silk
but won't think less of you
if there are holes in your shirt 
For it is not in sweetness
but in the salts of everyday life
that I'm here for you


Bio Note: I write free verses, rhyming poems, and Japanese short form poetry, some of which saw the light of day in journals like Alien Buddha Zine, Spillwords, and Cajun Mutt Press, Fevers of the Mind Press. I am also a Jeopardy fan.


Poetry inspired by Sylvia Plath/Anne Sexton by Jackie Chou

Illustration of Sylvia Plath by Shannon Levin

Father's Day

Father, father
You peeled the smile
off of my face
and yellowed my soul
with talks
of your pain
your struggles
sugar coating everything
and letting the venom
seep in afterwards
The twenty dollars
you left on the ironing board
every other week
kept my mouth shut
Like bandages
they fell off
leaving my wounds
to bleed profusely
It is easy
to pretend not to know
to be cold like snow
But father, father
the men I meet
are a lot like you
They melt my morals
with the heat 
of lovemaking
and I learned
to say "yes"
to go along
with their every whim
My pliant flesh
bears all the misery
you gave mother
I get crushed
damaged
then recover
only to begin
all over again


My Degree and Other Things You Don't Know About Me

I am…


a genie in a bottle
drifting from sea to shore
shrouded by a cloud
no folded resume enclosed
explains who I am


a cardboard face
like in those antidepressant ads
two circles for eyes
a curved line for a mouth
a stick of a neck to hold


an occupant
between scraps of memories
like a pressed rose in an old diary
the stamp of honor on my diploma
faded and forgotten


Bio Note: I write free verses, rhyming poems, and Japanese short form poetry, some of which saw the light of day in journals like Alien Buddha Zine, Spillwords, and Cajun Mutt Press, Fevers of the Mind Press. I am also a Jeopardy fan.

Poetry Showcase from Jackie Chou

Pathological

You weave a web
everywhere you go–

who are you, spider girl
but your one-and-only
Facebook photo–

a silver heart pendant
a fake hometown
a false alma mater

Nothing I do 
is good enough for you—
not even 
the sweat of my ink
you claim as your own

You say you’d be so cool
without me–
yet I know the truth
you’ve flipped upside down

Like a damselfly
I spread my wings
to disentangle myself
from your web of lies

The Neighbor

You walk like a queen
with your downgaze
dictating my downfall–
you'd like to place me
in a pillory
like a medieval prisoner

I’ve committed 
the most unforgivable crime
in your eyes–
by being alive
when you'd like to squash me
like an insect under your sole

I have every right 
to breathe the air you breathe 
to free myself 
from your collar of shame 
I'm no criminal 
and you're no monarch

Remembering an Old Crush

I've always wondered
if you wrote poetry
and if you did
what it was about–
the shiny new star-shaped rims
you got for your tires
all the girls you brought
to your Downtown LA suite
for cups of gourmet cappuccino 
and one-night stands
whom you drove home the next day
in your polished gray sports car?
Do you need heartbreak
to write good poems?
Or do you, my prince
have depths beyond 
your frat boy facade
to transcribe into verses
to touch the heart?

Bravo

I've longed to hear you 
say it all my life–
only to be told the opposite.
You've branded me mediocre,
since I was old enough to know 
the meaning of the word–
ordinary, unexceptional.
I'd rather be a retard than that.
I've had to discover for myself 
that I'm a genius,
etch a star on my own chest,
place a crown on my own head.
Because to you, 
I will always be a commoner,
a B that never makes it to A,
an act that gets no applause.

Creative Process

My therapist asks me 
how I write the poems I write.

I tell her it’s similar 
to painting cherry blossoms,
like I do in art therapy.

The words dab on the page
gentle like a kitten’s prints.

There are days when the cat
becomes a tiger,
and the pawsteps become stampedes.

Then there are days
when the cat falls asleep,
and the words don’t come at all

except perhaps in dreams–
faint silhouettes whose shapes
I can hardly decipher.  



A Poetry Showcase for Jackie Chou 

New Poems by Jackie Chou








A Poetry Showcase for Jackie Chou

Moon, Full Moon, Sea, Sky, Night Sky, Lunar, Moonlight

Distance

Moonlit sky
brings no kisses
to the lips, cheeks
no embraces
We stand apart
like neighbor stars
a gap between us
Our silhouettes licked thin
like popsicles
in the semi-darkness
slowly vanishing under
the curtain of night.

The Sky Tonight


The sky tonight is full of scars
Gaping like my heart-flesh
Punctures of its myriad stars
Still bloody red and fresh


Oh night, don't slip away
I have much more to say

Before you turn to day. 


I will make right
The sky tonight


Stagnant


You're seventy-percent
dihydrogen monoxide


Dark and stinking
of the alleyways
like day-old rain puddles

I'm sinking
my boat paper-thin
& without oars

The seagull in me
still dreaming of wings
to save itself. 

I prefer my poem fat

like me in the pandemic
breasts, waist
hips, thighs
filled out
with greasy phrases
metaphors
and poesy

But oh 
there's no meat
on that bone
just diaphanous skin
more deprived
of nutrients
than an anorexic
a weightless spectre

Boyfriends

It's true I write incessantly
about boyfriends
Boyfriends who became celibate
Boyfriends who became quadriplegic
Boyfriends floating in memory-sea
It makes me wonder if you, hunk
will one day become just another shred
another puzzle piece of the big picture
the word "forever" falling off
from where it dangles on the heart

Wolfpack Contributor: Jackie Chou

Poetry Showcase from Jackie Chou

New Poems by Jackie Chou

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 (7) Interview with Jackie Chou

Several poems from the Fevers of the Mind Anthologies by Jackie Chou

Several poems from the Fevers of the Mind Anthologies by Jackie Chou