"I Ask My Mother to Sing"
This poem is about the memory of homeland. The author is a foreign citizen of Chinese, born in Jakarta in 1975 and brought to United States by his family in 1964.
In this poem, narrator asks Mother to sing. Though narrator did not go to those places, it still has some magic attractiveness to him. He likes to hear the songs , and images the scenery. "She begins, and my grandmother joins her." These women ever lived in the native land. They sing for the admiration of their home, a true home where holds their birth, death and blood. There is an old saying in Chinese, "Blood is thicker than water." They must have felt proud of Chinese blood-relationship and cherished the memory of the land. The narrator also holds his homeland dear and looks forward to it. He would image those scenes while his mother sings. Why might the speaker ask the women to sing? Because there always has some power, some unreasonable admiration in our blood. We would identify the tradition of our own in spite of different language or nationality. We would acknowledge the relationship, recalling the original coordination through the blood. At the last line, "Both women have begun to cry. But neither stops her songs." It shows that they have no alternative. Although they are in America now, they still aspire after the motherland and feel lonely. It is interesting in the third and the forth line: "If my father were alive, he would play his accordion and sway like a boat." It shows that the narrator's father was dead. In Chinese traditional family, Father is the lord of family. He is responsible for taking care of his family. He has to support and protect it. The message "Father had gone" in this poem is also the symbol of their situation. They lose their support ( Father and home), and wonder the old times they shared before
"We Real Cool"
. "We real cool." What does the word "cool" mean? It means cruelty or pi-ly? It is a strange poem. The author wants to tell us some information. In this poem, the author try to punctuate the lines to make conjectures, just like when you tell a story, you will not speak with a calm pace. Maybe he wants to show us that this is what we will be. None can escape from the cycle of what this poem tells us. We are destined to do so. And does this poem try to praise lives of human beings? I don't think so. Instead, I think this poem tries to admonish us. "We left school." " We lurk late." "We sing sin." "We thin gin." It gives us some information about "sin" and "gin". In my view, hard drink means guilty and school means social commands. But we SING sin and try to THIN our guilty. Just like what Mr.Warner said, "Pack of crazy fools! They just think of gain instead of give." At the last lines, "We Jazz June." and "We die soon." Some of my friends said this poem's theme is that enjoy your life in time, but I think the author rather mock the life than admire it. The word "cool" has a bad meaning here.