It’s difficult

It’s difficult
to hear
the songs
of more than one world
at any one time.
and yet
it’s necessary
to forget the songs
of one world

    I could be pompously wise.
    I could be inscrutable.
    I could be the dependable sidekick.
    I could be one of the howling fanatics.
    I could be sadistic, cruel, and cunning.

and learn
the songs of another,
especially if you’re Chinese-American.

Whatever I write,
I’m always aware
that I’m not quite alone.

If I listen
long enough and hard enough,

I just may be able to hear
a few fragments
of a chord of music
or a few broken notes,

and I know
that if I wait long enough
those few broken notes
or those few fragments of a chord
will regenerate themselves
within my own unconscious
and they’ll grow
until the song is once again
made whole.

And I think
the deepest pleasure of writing
is joining
my own voice
with the voices of the past
as they sing
their world
into existence once again.

/ / /

This is a found poem. Source: Yep, Laurence. “A Chinese Sense of Reality.” Innocence and Experience: Essays and Conversations on Children’s Literature, compiled and edited by Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire, Lothrop, Lee, & Shepard Books, 1987, pp. 485-489.

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