Rigorous
Volume One, Issue 3



Floyd Cheung


Neighborly Assumptions

It’s the profession they always get wrong:
            the new Chinese gardener
            some kind of engineer
            a martial arts instructor
            or restaurant owner?

No one assumes that I am
            a professor of English language and literature.

Excuse me. I must get back to
            mowing the lawn
            installing a cat door
            playing light-sabers with my son
            and figuring out what the hell to cook for dinner.




Desire Paths

at the heart of this campus signs say PDNWOTGIYAGA:
please do not walk on the grass if you are going across

but generations of students have worn their own trails
between destinations transecting the heart of this campus

desire paths in spite of attempts to replant grass
in the tender heart of this campus year after year

some people ask our Dean of Religious Life—scholar, mother, and wife
of Celeste: have you fixed that lesbian problem at the heart of this campus yet?

she says yes




Pedagogy

While teaching a story by Marilyn Chin
I point out allusions to
            Lu Ji’s essay on literature
            Gary Snyder’s axe-handle poem
            Issa’s mosquito haikus
            Emily Dickinson’s “I heard a fly buzz”
and even supply the texts themselves.

Most students express appreciation
but one doesn’t want to know
            prefers to bring her “own experience” to the story.

I’ve done my job
            yet devote this poem to regret.




Free Verse

not free
formed
every time


Floyd Cheung: "Born in Hong Kong and raised in Las Vegas, I am author of the chapbook Jazz at Manzanar (Finishing Line Press, 2014). My poems have appeared in qarrtsiluni, Rhino, and other journals. I teach in the Department of English Language and Literature at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts."




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