(for a less convoluted review--see Sarah Heady HERE
China Cowboy, Kim Gek Lin Short
Tarpoulin sky Press, 2012
One thing becomes another
The White Dark Man delivers the goods. Namely, La La.
Breech birth. Feet first into the world. Take off running. Ren… pronounced ‘Run’ for ‘man’.
Come late across the sea to ....
A book of short prose poems. Reconfiguration of narrative as... though in dream. Imagining the real.
floating signifiers—a whole book constructed on them… caught in the seminal flood. “… he is my blood father.” My No longer ‘we.’ In fiction as in dreams all characters are one.
Hell, Hong Kong. 1989. 5-14. Ten transgressions. The Colonization of Sex
Fist City, Hong Kong 1997 17-32. Sixteen Unravelings of Time & Place.
La La Land, Hong Kong 1989. 35-51. Fifteen Disolutions. Death Comes Undone
Bound for Glory 1997/1989. Fifteen Intrusions: Minds Sprung Loose from Body’s Dream
Installations 2001. i-ii. Aesthetics of PTS & The Songbook
La La girls. teenagers who dress Western (so far so good) to show off bodies & cloths. Wrong La La. She’s only 12. Except the Western part. Mother gave her cowboy boots. Listens to Patsy Cline. Her Country Star Humility “That her dreams might be in there. In the suitcase.” Even the one in the trunk. From the tourists robbed in the typhoon. Stabbed & shoved from the car door.
(SUITCASE – 20)
They took his stuff.
Because it would be wrong to translate. To rearrange. To rewrite. I won’t. But there are questions. There are always questions.
Such as… What does one do with such memories? With such dreams? When every dream’s a territory? When they’re Clint Eastwood at the top of the stairs. And even when they’re not they are.
More ancient evocations ... the irony's not lost
But she doesn’t.
(KNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES – 40)
Instead, she takes the ball, but doesn’t quite. Ball no longer a ball can no longer be imagined as a ball, even in the dark. Rubber Soul. Pussy of desire. Dead thing living there for comfort when there is none. Not in the light. Blessed sleep. Keep your finger in the hole.
(AMERICAN BALL – 21).
“I’m not I’m not I’m not what’s going on.”
This is a book of disassociation. What (else) does one do … She could shape a spin on anything. It was a movie but not hers. His Shangri La, not hers. He told her about Zhang Yimou.
Red Sorghum came out that year.
She thought, Coal Miner’s Daughter.
Wren’s Shangri La was her (not his) America. Sissy Spacek.
Displacement. Reversal. One thing becomes another/borders dissolve & redefine themselves.
Never-almost-never-quite visual… language overrules. Take over at the last minute. And there are many last minutes in this book. As many as there are words.
“Things become other things”
(SUGARCUBE – 22)
Make bargains. Deals with the devil. You’ll never win… but neither does the devil.
Flip sides of the record.
The subject of the colonial fantasy, as of all fantasies of freedom… is servitude.
They rob us. We rob them. All servitude is sexual in the end.
Adjectives & adverbs without compliments become nouns. A bluegrass of fogging…. An unrequiting...
Misplacement re-signifies. Shar pei with sweat Indeterminate pronouns abound.
When the suitcase is opened the dream will vanish
Euphemisms make a lexicon of dreams. A doubling of subject…writing the wrong to right the Self. I
La La sees as green-blue the sticky slime. Iridescence. Checking her crotch. Blue-green: compliment of red. The baby who will never be -- named Cyan. See’n red.
All servitude is sexual in the end.
(CYAN – 26)
It goes on. No soap opera. Grand Old Opry—that’s out of reach. Instead, it’s Heidi on the bed. Wearing all her clothes. Ren but you can't hide.
Good or or bad?
La La or Heidi?
Ren or bill?
An egg or a man?
A girl or a book?
(HEIDI – 57)
Dressed for the kill. It’s what she wants, he thinks.
Someone has to pay the Bill
(AMERICAN CEREAL – 37)
Missing is where she goes. Her mother remembers searching for the image what she had no time for before she went missing. How to be a mother. What is left? “was it there before?” A warped photograph. Phonogaph. Country music.
“She says so with her eyes. I am here.”
(YELLOW NOTICE – 4)
La La: “I never got to do anything”
That’s her Country Superstar humility talking. There are songs. The whole thing in songs. A retelling in a second life.
The Songs are in the back (they always are). You only have to look.
La La’s GUTHERIECRUCIAN SONGBOOK: A Bildungsroman pp. 101-115)
As if ditched himself Ren heard the escapes in there them bucking
Buried instruments for gagging. Guitars under the earth as if another
la la inside them the next eight years. Cold choired blasting
below. Machines as if breaking.
One reckoning an alarming crackling. The late La La with wheeled
heels through a uke kicked. Deep-sixing in the blazing core one
whoop on her way out.