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POETRY

John Cho

by Dan Chu

“The name is Bond, Ha-joon Bond,” whisperers John Cho
to Zazie Beetz in the reboot that stars John Cho.
He and Beetz’s Chung infiltrate SMERSH, an Aryan crime ring.
Though top billing is Cho, the real protagonist is Chung.
The two have hot and equal sex, making those beautiful
babies; this is a feminist film, starring John Cho.
Oh how far we have come post-Moonlight with roles—
Aide #3, MILF Love #2, Sale House Man #1—all early John Cho,
to Parking Valet, to proper given name Steve Choe,
though that was an Asian-American indie that starred John Cho.
Finally, finally, ensemble cast Sulu, then Bob McClane,
Brian Bender, the Hollywood career of John Cho
blooms like a corpse flower, a decade in the making.
God, Neal Lyman, no surname race marker, John Cho’s
post Cho, though those roles weren’t even his;
I ran out of movie parts that featured John Cho.
Resorted to hulky Daniel Dae Kim and Ken Jeong,
the latter I hope Y. P. Pull wouldn’t confuse with John Cho
though I’m skeptical: I can’t tell Chris Prat or Helmsworth apart.
(But does it matter if they always play saviors?) The future is John Cho:
Don Chang Er, Indiana Nguyen, Pikachu, Captain Jack Park,
Emma Stone, Walter Woo, Ethan Hu: all will be played by—
wait, we need to use John Cho to create,
not step into roles. Cho as a horticulturalist, Cho
as disaffected white male with no college degree,
Cho as Korematsu or Lebron in their biopics, Cho
as nontoxic, but slightly soiled
masculinity in the same movie, Cho
as Internet meme cats. Step out of La-La Land,
every chink is a star, every gook
is a star, and here, in this performance
it’s me, Dan Chu.

Lying on the Beach in Ko Phi Phi

Dan Chu
Originally from Brooklyn, Dan Chu holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Houston, where he was a recipient of the Inprint Verlaine Prize. He has poems forthcoming in Fence, Prairie Schooner, and Grist.
Submit your work! Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, seeks high quality submissions from both emerging and established writers. We publish craft essays and interviews as well as fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—and we want to see your best work, regardless of form, style, or subject matter. We read general submissions from May 15 - August 15 and from March 15 - April 30 for our ProForma Contest.

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