Let Me Praise My Shoes!
—A Personal Displacement in Six Parts in the 20th Century

Grandfather Shao Kang Ning 邵康宁
was born in the small village Gao Liang Pu

His name had his parents’ wishes:
Kang is Health Ning is Peace
His century had neither

Grandfather was born in the rice field
While his mother was digging the mud

Born in the mud, played in the mud
ate and shit in the mud
He would have died in the mud 93 years later
If he had not left

Peasants, the hardest-working group
Their life was like a house of mud
Old folks wanted to be buried where they were born

The world to them was the endless yellow earth


He who cut his enemy’s head off was a Japanese samurai
He who cut open his own stomach was a great samurai

But not samurai’s swords but bullets came
The Japs bombed towns along the Yangtze River day and night
People escaped to hand-dug caves in mountains
Those who stayed hid in the bamboo chicken coops or pigsties

Hi, 八歯の道 Hachi ha no michi, 八格牙路
The Japs cursed in a mixed language

Aunt was born in a cave one night
The newly born was almost frozen
For her whole life she dreamed of running and hiding from the Japs

No joking, she would say repeatedly

A samurai’s bayonet pierced someone’s chest
searching for the young man’s beating heart

A pregnant neighbor was too scared to run
Her unripened fetus was taken out of her womb
Thirty Japs had her for the whole night

Where is her resurrection?

                                             cherry blossom
                                                  bushido loves the beauty

                              kiss or kill
                                                  Mother fuckers, you know why they hate you

                                                  BTW: JAPANESE NEVER APOLOGIZE

                              Years later a retired Jap soldier came to Nanjing seeking his redemption

                              Nobody could save anybody really



                                    Blessed are those who suffer
                                    Blessed are those who left home early
                                    Blessed are those who are not loved enough

The 20th century continued over there

Since the Russians had their revolution
Since the Americans had a big step on the moon

There was a new way of talking
A Cat in the Hat is jumping

She who refused to give up her seat on a bus was not going far
She who loved purple was not born purple. She was born colorless

Smoke spiraled up from her house
rose slowly over the cornfield under the southern sky

Sister, she screamed

How many colors did sky have?
Among many styles she had to choose one

Sister, S I S T E R, 妹妹
How could I save you?


One of those days
A man was howling on the other side of the Pacific
San Francisco, whose home are you?

Howling of loneliness, howling of helplessness
He started to vomit and spat on his paper

Look, Sir, those are poems

Are birth control pills useful?

Everybody went crazy after Ginsburg

In 1974 Fluoxetine was created
Mother swallowed ten pills when she first got hold of it

Too late

Anne Sexton already killed herself
She borrowed someone’s words to think
To displace her transformation bundle


To be or not to be?
Fear of the millennium
A computer bug, a whatever bug
the end of the world is coming

From Grandfather’s century to Granddaughter’s
all that is available now will be at .com


World War What World War Web

WWW is a new world in itself

Salt no longer salty
Sun no longer sunny

Everyone is everyone’s honey and sweetie

Sister, see you later alligator

Son, all my inheritance to you will be my three email accounts
Here are the passwords: xxxxxx878kilw@!?

No word no walking no home no world

WWW.com = World Without Walking
WWW.com = World Without Word

911, can someone send an email to God?
He surely has an email account

Who are we after all?





weiShao Wei was raised near the Yangtze River in China and came to the United States in 1996. She earned an MA in Creative Writing from New York University, an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD in Arts & Humanities from University of Texas at Dallas. Her books include Pulling A Dragon’s Teeth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003), Nine Songs. Females (limited edition, Hong Kong 1993), and a memoir, Homeland (Taipei 2010). She lives with her son and her mother in Orange County, California, where she works for a nonprofit organization.