Cold Sore Lip Red Coat

What if I ate too much food     there being
Not enough money    immigranty
And save all the ketchup
                                  packets    George
Carlin record on the record player saying
how many ways you can curse and they
are all funny   (small brown bird with a black
neck and a beak full of fluff for a nest)
       The old joke: “How many feet
do you have?”     Instead of
“How tall are you?”
This looks like joy     a joke
who looked at you and laughed
Look at the map upside down    so that south
Is north and north is south
          it’s the other
way around because it’s the commonly agreed to
thing    (visual language of the colonizer) or
snowful awful     tearful wishful

Hoa Nguyen, "Cold Sore Lip Red Coat." Copyright © 2017 Hoa Nguyen. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow, a partnership between the Poetry Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network.
Source: PoetryNow (2017)
More Poems by Hoa Nguyen