Big Mug

by Chen Chen

Chen Chen

Found last August in a barn prolific with gorgeous,
made by artist friend E. who likes to keep a copy of Being & Time
in the bathroom, made with her hands that can’t stop
making things, painted blue with night & yellow with stars,
a soft brown field haunted by a grey round goat—
big mug, I adore you. & because you’re a bit too big to handle,
drink from, instead of coffee or tea you’ve come to hold a rainbow
of Sharpies, a museum of movie stubs, buttons that declare
Comics Made Me Queer, fresh white index cards, favorite fake-Confucian
futures from fortune cookies, too many take-out receipts, photos
of my guy & I competing for freakiest face, index cards abounding
in bad ideas for poems, a piece of purple string whose secret
I can’t recall, & one small envelope, red, the hong bao from Mom & Dad
that held the Lunar New Year’s lucky money, that holds tradition
& memory, my parents watching over three nights a bootleg of CCTV’s
five-hour New Year’s Gala in Beijing, my parents’ loud happiness
because of the acrobat’s impossible dance, the comedy duo’s impressions,
the actress’s song, her giant teal dress. Did they watch it all this year?
How many more years will they get to? Do you know, big mug?
You, a mostly accidental, weirdly accurate record of time
& being. Already it’s summer again, & I think your lack of tea leaves
is telling me Go, make bolder, hold weirder, lose it all on streets & streets
of pink-gold bafflements, with lunar luck, for too large, so much, such loves.

Last updated May 16, 2023