Dean A.F. Gui is first generation Hong Kong born with parents of mixed heritage from Shanghai and the Philippines. Having immigrated to the USA in 1991, after some high school years in Canada, Dean moved between Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego, teaching both high school and community college English, before moving back to Hong Kong in 2009. He now teaches English for the Hong Kong Polytechnic University with research interests in creative literature, hybrid identity, and language learning in virtual worlds.
The Macanese Condition
Staring back through fifth generation eyes
we new macaista are gawked at like children
who have leaped out of too many diluted wombs.
From birth we are taught from our three volume
Bible little about who we are
but rather about who we could have been
and who others have yearned to be.
We have become cedula-worshippers
running around in circles
signing the cross twenty times a day
looking for the registration of ancestors
whose memories were destroyed
when they had fled to places
masquerading as milk and honey.
What little is left of us is moonlight-stirred
into oily bricks of lard and brown sugar
by a whiskered old vela who mumbles
stale magic spells into her cauldron.
What little is left of us our amahs cook
into dishes we adapt in honour
of blue-eyed countries far, far away
blood stews, pig hocs, krill paste, fat rice
with dark archaic names borrowed from a dark, ancient people.
We are the patua that no one else understands
that click and clack
testing each other for our
rightful place in the community.
We are evolution
We are gossip
We are strangers
We are cousins
We are a need to belong
in a world where people
open their eyes
and are surprised
If I Were Different
Mother imagine if you had married one of those Portuguese boyfriends you always brag about I might have ended up with olive coloured skin green eyes wavy auburn hair that never receded big bones and an ass as round and as tight as two bowling balls the son I think you’ve always wanted. What if you had mounted one day earlier that Filipino half-breed father of mine born of the American Occupation the one you married because Grandma told you not to I could have been a girl yet another in a long line of lonely superstitious women living in the shadows of a long line of useless patriarchs. A few months later and I’d probably be dating women making you the proud grandmother of countless grandchildren neither of us could afford to take care of. Or maybe if I was born three years earlier I might have been a true bisexual instead of the one I had claimed to be when I was fourteen to soften the blow of coming out for I had secretly envied all those bisexual male porn stars I jerked off to the ones who could live completely different lives whenever they chose to. Imagine just thirty seconds later and in the place of screaming and yelling to get my way I punched and smacked like that ex pig rapist you used to date the one you unleashed on me in a black and blue snotty mess when I stole one hundred hong kong dollars from your purse? What if I was never cursed with the mouthful of debilitating aphthous ulcers I have lived with since birth the only thing constant and loyal in my life but rather I lived a completely pain free life until sometime in my thirties I developed malignant cancer like the first born sons of so many of your friends? If there was a give with all the take which would you choose? Which would I choose? Every year I think of this as I stare into the bathroom mirror watching my Clinique moisturizer glistening apologetically on my face while lines appear and sink deeper into my skin watching the darkness growing under my eyes watching the inevitability of the seasons turning in my stubble. Watching feeling wondering until the day it no longer matters…