Dean A. Brink / 包德樂
Dean A. Brink（b.1963）received his PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago and now is an associate professor at National Chiao Tung University. His poetry has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Crab Creek Review, Ecozon@, Exquisite Corpse, Going Down Swinging, Portland Review (online), There and other venues, including the anthology In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights (2013).
The Swing of Things /晝夜節律
Divots left to the weather a new etiquette
to entertain a wait-and-see up to the dotted minute
doing for others… then the marshal’s quip trail off
and voice-prints queer the cameras—no one’s
nuisance (par for the upset) before drying off.
The caddy is good at what he does, worth the wait
on this one. Never calling foul, calm settles offhandedly
as it should, all the more becoming, kicking back, you know.
The groundskeepers mistook the mess for mole holes.
We deserved the visit to rub our noses in it.
Eighteen screws later these carts fall apart
as jiggling sets off waves
beyond anyone’s control makes his day
it seems. The small world, the control room
got it this time, a piece of it anyways, loose ends
I mean … taking it as a hint, road buckling.
(Appearing in Cordite Poetry Review)
Recent History / 最近歷史
——after John Ashbery
The city dealt the peninsula a zoo and widened trails
for joggers to get sidetracked. Clouds of arsenic stacked up
at the hips of docks, sifted into furrows,
leached into leeks and parsley. How is this double-talk
following your margin of error as musk to a passing sleeve?
You said lie low. The charges are dialed and set
for another hope, but about that, all exits remain
locked down from here to the coasts pending the fatwa
on French fries getting the clear by customs.
One lady’s Lyon is another’s Patagonia.
When the politician arrived I asked about smile wrinkles
around eyes and mouth, whether they hurt, worth the mirror part?
From pictures (through acquaintances) he had nothing to hide
and yet who wants to be paired with a Dutch uncle?
Thus we continued setting off bells and cruising for a bruising
if all be known, so hailing from the peanut gallery
we said, for luck, the air is divine.
I’m with you. Not with you. I’ve combed the caves of moss
before being converted to a golf course and remember every place we nested
juggling school and bus rides, leaning and then jaded
as we moved away as the services required moved us.
Now we know each other through these inklings
staining our thoughts with wonder.
(Appeared in Portland Review online)
E Pluribus Bananas / 香蕉共和國
Choosing the right pieces to surround oneself is an ongoing burden.
As you become your friends your furniture must become you,
stand for the real you, and something on each shelf
and wall so the friends feel friendliness.
Then striking poses comes naturally too,
people love you for the real you
and all the clippings and bookmarks to back it up.
These days fashion is brushed metal bending over us
from the steel toes of laboring hours
on up to the finest platinum barrettes on daughters,
yet the clean future foretold in sci-fi misses us,
the very moral impulse to tweak the onrush lost
in a dampening of fun, as focused hording,
while our main product - simple, disembodied gore –
is censored courtesy of servants embedded in a Westward caravan
ticking off each peak of bison leveled to pass further
from memories off camera, tossed
into the much-feared salads of history, kooky beyond all bearings
of automated feelers our men sent out last week,
counting sales and consumer confidence
after the prototypes were rolled out and spells roped them back in.
It’s anyone’s guess who quoted what; what said not important as
we - so far - always duck in in time,
jets angling favorite songs from hi-tech heated toilet seats
so that steering down here finds a modicum of comfort in all the effort.
(Appeared in Exquisite Corpse)