Mosaics Poet Profiles: Caroline M. Cao

With the launch of Mosaics 2 on May 1, I’m continuing the April frivolity – more poet profiles! But this time, I’ll be sharing the work of my fellow Mosaics authors, from both volumes! The first poet in our series is Carol Cao.

Caroline M. Cao, though Florida-born, considers herself a full-Houstonian spiritually. During her years at the University of Houston, she was a devoted staff writer and satirist of The Cougar Opinion Column and Cooglife magazine. She is a current TV/Movie reviewer for OutLoudCulture and champions review-writing as both a scholarly platform and artform. In the meantime, she’s writing poems, stories, and sci-fic space opera screenplays. Or she’s just swing dancing with the UH Lindy Hop Club. She offers two poems:

 

On a Numb Brain

a bloodstream too feeble
dulling wits
weary slug-fingers fidgeting,
clawing tenderly on bedsheets and pillow.

I heed the molecules
of my sinking queen-sized mattress
nullifying my will to take pleasures

Kaguya at Leisure

My dad among
the surplus of fathers
whispered the stories of the struggles of suitors
spinning artificial silk
plucking fragrant-less camellias
carving Buddha’s Begging Bowl
seeking to make her
their new ming vase.

Dad told it that way to the daughters’ bedsides
“Kaguya was sad,” the dads said.
What else was there?
But the river-tears of Kaguya’s father
with her mother rubbing his shoulders
and him borrowing her handkerchief.

Only I knew the
part of the story
where she bowed down
on knees,
worshipping the
birds, beetles, bees
neglecting the wooing
of the princes and courtiers.

The pear blossoms
weren’t in season
but ah well.
she considered herself blessed
that the blood Tsubakis
      weren’t in season
as she buried her face
      into the lilies.

That was before the era of her altars
and the bedside stories.

This was before she submitted
to the moon delegation
to ascend from Earth.

When she resettled on the craters
the moon glowed this portrait
of her ephemeral bliss.

Her lips appear the utter the overdue,
      “No. ”
which were always muted by the floral screens
of her earthly bamboo-palace.

Even then,
she does not look down
on her suitors bows
she pinches her nose
at the Emperor’s shrines
and its stale incense.

She smiles at daughters
      who inquire
      “What about her?”

 

Sources:

“On a Numb Brain” originally published in The Aletheia Literary Magazine, Spring 2015

“Kaguya at Leisure” originally published in Mosaics: A Collection of Independent Women

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