M?ng-Lan’s poems “Quick Question” and “Ode to Sesame Seeds” zoom in and out of spaces of desire within and outside of the body–in the “bones,” “everywhere,” “on rice,” and elsewhere. The poems seem to reflect the poet’s experience in tango, as the lines dance on the (virtual) page, the repetitions add music, and the language is seductive and voluptuous.
action in lies
no action without lies
is there life – inside
these bones is there life in not-editing?
darling i am without you
i am with you
everywhere it is blossoming
a liver a life lived
through the sieve
are you mine?
or do you have many lovers?
there it is i’ve said it
in more ways than one
there it is the glue holding everything together
not a mistake
how you moved your hair bursting over your shoulders a spray of water
& how you held me
Ode to Sesame Seeds
in my quietude i see you vast far ranging springing out
abundant grainy diverse benneSesamum indicum
internal yet outwardly basking in sun
inside thousands of thoughts spring thousands of your seeds
that bring to thought
purposeful with your many purposes
i sprinkle your seeds on rice everything i eat
how to endure time
without your nourishing seeds?
how to be clear as the earth without clinging to the sand?
flowing through my hands like water
one seed clings to my palm
atom spinning sterling you are a teardrop
i shower you on rice sprinkle you soy sauce in salads sautés
will i completely understand your filamentous
yearning pouring forth?
a desert without water without you
sands of sesame seeds all about us
your kisses the oasis where
my soul drinks
your caresses the waves
where i swim trying to find myself
of your caresses i find you a single seed