CONTRACT IN BROKEN ENGLISH
By Tammy Ho and Reid Mitchell
CHEATER 1: I would die with you.
CHEATER 2: Why should that be our last collaboration?
CHEATER 1: Because that's final and we won't compete with ourselves no more. Power beyond us will complete our next piece of work, and the next, and the next.
CHEATER 2: In your country they say: live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Shan't we have competitive corpses?
CHEATER 1: In death we forget these flesh coffins which cocoon us. The beauty you speak of will sink in diurnal memories.
CHEATER 2: When we go to Amsterdam, you can choose how we execute ourselves.
CHEATER 1: Please don't be afraid to die with me in sunshine.
CHEATER 2: I prefer drowning in boiling water as if I'm a fish ultimately recognising its destiny; my eyes will still be open to look at the dead sky. Ah yes, sunshine sounds good.
CHEATER 1: You're always poetical, never practical. People leap out of boiling water. I'd have to push your head under and that'd scald my worshipful hand. My golden one, aren't we dying to escape burning and rain and rages?
CHEATER 2: A fish in the womb, a boiling sea, sunshine. If I could put what I must escape into words, I would no longer need escape. And you do not escape: you follow. Which of us is the other's child?
CHEATER 1: The answer does not elude me, and hence my initial proposal.
Tammy Ho Lai-ming is a Hong Kong poet in her twenties. Reid Mitchell is a New Orleans writer in his fifties. They have been collaborating on what they call "dialogues" for over two years now. They call their work "trans-Pacific writing." Their dialogues have been published in Ghoti, Gentle Strength Quarterly, Fringe, Barrow Street, Admit2, Poetry Superhighway, Caffeine Destiny, and the Hong Kong anthology Love & Lust (2008). Ho and Mitchell cross boundaries of race, culture, age, sex, aesthetics, and irritating personal idiosyncracies through their collaboration.
© 2008 prickofthespindle.com