Title: Sport 33

Editor: Fergus Barrowman

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2005

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 33: Spring 2005

Chris Tse

page 72

Chris Tse

Chinese Colours


It wasn't always so—this chink
in my armour letting true colour show,
a shade I could never find
in crayon boxes—the available
yellows always being
too cartoony or sickly to fill in
the outlines of my family.
Instead I'd reach for the pale peach.


Without which
there would be no such luck.

We bundle our money
and give it away
in red envelopes, for fortune.
We tie red ribbons around
our pot plants
to bless the home, for prosperity.

Then there is the deep red
of char siu, rich and sugary
as red should be.

page 73


Bananas: yellow
on the outside, white
on the inside.


The Chinese man
with the unfaithful wife
is sentenced to a green hat.


A cloudy mix of green
and white adorned the wrist
of my Ma Ma, the heavy fall and clunk
of it resting on the table became a rhythm
for the house.

After the stroke she moved
so much slower, and the thud
of her jade bracelet
became much much heavier;
the room would sigh.


is the colour of my true-self's hair.
In my formative years
it was stripped to blonde, blue
and red (but never green)
in a timid attempt
to rebel.

page 74


Gung Gung rotates
the teapot three times
to give the leaves
a chance to flirt
with the water.

The tea is a pool
of gold. It is all the sun
in our tiny white teacups.

page 75


What a beautiful confusion!
Chinatown is teeming with broken samples
of Cantonese and French;
my ears hold out

for just a little hint of English.
I must refrain
from using my useless French
(Je voudrais deux biscuits s'il vous plaît)

because the slightest bonjour
will set off a chain of dialogue
en français that my deux biscuits
cannot handle.

Even my fractured Chinese
is of no use here—the only thing
it's good for is accompanying
radio static.

Steaming cups of ying-yang tea
(half tea, half coffee, all good)
and fresh pineapple buns
make the introduction

so much easier to handle.
All You Can Eat Yum Char
really is as dangerous
as it sounds.