Media Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Stay between white              white lines. Do not
          cross the yellow.              Switch lanes to let
               fast cars pass.              You do not belong
                       there yet.              Safety in the middle.
  You need experience,             rules change, you know?
           At Green Tree &             Jean Nicolet,
          cannot turn left,              pulled over, like
 driving from Norman             Oklahoma to         
                    Milwaukee             Wisconsin.      
          Wrong direction             on one-way road.   
 Accidents, you know?             So follow the rules,
           plan your route.             At DMV, wait for   
        number on screen            and repeat the
          words when they            do not understand.  
                    Repeat, say            I have experience  
       speed in mountain            in ocean, like    
     trains from Xiamen            Fujian to           
                    Chongqing             Chongqing.             
                      Sea jia jia,             you know?
          Certified license.             Self-renewed.
     Not part of the plan             but repeat, say   
         I have experience             manage systems, 
                   run servers,             employee of one.
                   They do not             understand, so 
                     repeat, say             fifty-seven no job, 
              I want to make            change and am ready  
         for new challenge.           I can stay between white 
                     white lines.           Will not cross the yellow.  
         Switch lanes to let           fast cars pass.  
               I do not belong           there. Safety   
                 in the middle.           Once, I know  
                          the rules.           Stay.   
For Baba.

Michelle Tong is a Chinese American graduate student and poet at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She uses academic research and poetry to explore the intersection of diaspora, culture, and change in communities of older adults. In particular, she is passionate about elevating accented or broken language to an art form. In 2016, she was voted crowd favorite in The Madison Review’s Ron Wallace Poetry Prize. You can follow her @michelletong_ on Twitter.

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