THE RABBIT AND SNAKE COCKTAIL
When the Rabbit meets the Snake, there is true happiness.
– Chinese proverb
According to the Chinese Zodiac, Rabbit and Snake
walk into a bar, and it’s love at first sight,
the Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world,
she walks into mine moment. It’s their true happiness
falling in love in beautiful places:
entering the void in Japanese love hotels, grinding against
each other during the last dance at the gay club,
exchanging more than words in the backseat of the cab
where the driver averts his eyes, reminding himself
it’ll be only ten more minutes until they’ve reached the destination.
Rabbit wants to take Snake to Prague,
where they fall asleep on the other side of the world,
or as the Surrealists say, I can only be wild with
one person, until Snake and Rabbit with their fire
argue during movie previews, sitting in silence
once the film starts, and she starts sobbing until he
puts his hand on her knee, the I’m Sorry,
until Snake and Rabbit with their fire fight when the waitress
at the Sichuan restaurant brings their Kung Pao
chicken and spicy scallops, and she apologizes,
thinking she caused the fight, when in actuality,
Snake and Rabbit were fighting over a Russian play
about rhinos sitting in a café.
These poems are steam punk on steroids. They’re plutonium-powered and neon-lit. These poems describe the world as it should be, as we want it to be, as we fear it will be, as it is every morning between 3:00 and 5:00 when our dreams are invaded by Godzilla, Tarzan, Wonder Woman, King Kong, Sinatra. If Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold were a holiday, it’d be Hallowe’en for grown-ups, Christmas for space aliens, and the Fourth of July for everybody, because each of these poems is a little present, and like the best presents, they don’t just please us—they set us free.
Dorothy Chan is the author of Chinatown Sonnets, winner of New Delta Review’s 6th Annual Chapbook Contest, selected by Douglas Kearney. She was a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and her work has appeared in Blackbird, Plume, The Journal, Spillway, Little Patuxent Review, The McNeese Review, Salt Hill Journal, and others. Chan is the Assistant Editor of The Southeast Review.