Poetry & Writing

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Monkey King

Monkey King and Kuan Yin reside on the altar,

separated by a porcelain

vase. Grandma is afraid

Monkey King is so lively he’ll annoy

the Goddess of Mercy. She’s placed the bronze

ring around his head, casting a spell

to tighten it whenever he mouths off.

Grandma took me to see Monkey King

at the old World Theater when I was three.

Every day she dressed for work

at the garment shop in her home-sewn

double-knit. I don't feel like working.

We arrived at the theater at noon

and didn’t go home until the stores closed,

having seen Monkey King five times.

In the shabby movie house, fairy people

changed into giant bananas when it snowed,

shaking, It’s so cold, it’s so cold.

The world was big.

Heaven shook. Monkey King could travel

180,000 miles a somersault. In Grandma’s dialect

he is Sin Unh Kung. King of the Monkeys,

born from stone on the mountain of fruit

and flowers. Grandma went to find him

when she was a little girl. Her mother was dying

of a high fever, and she asked a wise woman

for prayers and medicine. Monkey King

was asleep in a teacup, curled up,

a piece of jade.

The woman said, Blow on the stone

and wake him. Grandma begged the shivering

jade to stop her mother’s fever. That night,

her mother stumbled out from her bedchamber

screaming. A man-sized monkey in the garden

waved an iron bar at a blue demon with buck

teeth. She wailed, damp with sweat.

The fever broke. She couldn’t have imagined him.

It was Monkey King in the yard fighting

the demon, her fever.

                                                                             Priscilla Lee

My Monkey King figures. The one on the right is one that I got recently.
I remember this particular one from when I was five.  Tai Yick, my favorite
store for ceramic arts still had them!

Click this link for information about Sun Wukong from Wikipedia