jane yeh

On Being an Android

My positronic hair never grows an inch.
(It looks like hair, but it’s made of wires.)
My brain doesn’t look like a brain, but it doesn’t matter.
My friends think of me as reliable because I never get sick.
My hands can be used to unscrew bolts and pull things from the oven.

How I was made: equal parts mystery and on-off switches.
Age 5: driving lessons, triathlon, med school, embroidery.
Everyone says looks don’t matter, as long as you’ve got personality.
My first crush was a Roomba I mistook for a person.
Second crush: a person, but don’t even go there.

I could live in a cupboard, but where’s the fun in that?
The cat keeps me company whenever I cook.
(I don’t need to eat food, but I like to practise anyway.)
It’s easy to be lonely when all your friends are human.
The cat laps up my meals, but then she’s always hungry.

In my dreams, I am charming and good at making small talk.
(There’s no program for that as yet.)
Being human means the whole world is made for you like a cake.
Being an android means you get some cake, but you can’t eat it.
I don’t know how to flirt, so the bears at my local are teaching me.

The lightning in my head means a brainstorm is coming.
If I think hard enough about anything, my hair starts to curl.
It’s easy to predict the future when there’s a timer in your neck.
The instruction manual says my knee can be used as a utensil.
Everyone admires my artificial skin, but nobody wants to touch it.
_
Jane Yeh
http://www.amazon.com/The-Ninjas-Jane-Yeh/dp/1847771475/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372811357&sr=8-1&keywords=jane+yeh

On Ninjas

They eat four-cheese pizzas with three of the cheeses removed.
They make friendship bracelets out of aluminum foil and poison.
They open windows just by thinking about opening windows.
They take ballet lessons to improve the speed of their circular arm movements.

The ninjas are coming, coming to save us from muggers
And disorganized thieves and slobs who want to kill us.
The way to spot a ninja is to look for someone wearing black pajamas—
Preternaturally neat black pajamas—with a hood for cover.

The way to tell one ninja from another is by the ankles.
The way to tell one ninja from another is you can’t.
They know how to levitate by thinking about birds’ feet.
They make terrible cater waiters because no one can hear them coming.

Their mission is to save us from chaos with their acute tumbling skills
And their climbing proficiency. They don’t want to dismember
Bad jazz musicians or art teachers or con men, but they will.
They know how to escape from a trap by running in place very, very fast.

They can change places with each other by thinking about numbers.
They know how to turn themselves into fog to avoid attending boring parties.
They make single-serving Lancashire hotpots to show their culinary mastery.
They take turns doing the laundry. (It’s easy; no whites or colors.)

The ninjas are here to help us. They are as ruthless as history
Or defenestration. They are pitiless as a swarm of bees, or evolution.
They know how to throw fireballs and do their own taxes.
They hate litter and small children. They are here to fix us.

A poem by Jane Yeh (Boston Review, November/December 2012)

The Witches

The Witches
Jean Yeh

It’s been forty-six days since I infiltrated the witches
They know I’m an outsider, but I’m good with their pets.
They let me live out back with the goats and building supplies.
I send reports to my masters, the birds, by carrier beetle.

The witches sleep standing up, like statues.
They never change into pyjamas in case there’s a raid.
If you nudge them, they don’t tip over like cows -
They just raise an eyelid and look daggers at you, like a woken-up cat.

They restore bassoons as a front for their larceny.
(I found a stash of gilded coathooks in the head witch’s closet.)
It takes a coven to rear pets who are happy and healthy.
I daren’t make friends with the mice in case they’re informants.

Night-times are generally the hardest for spies.
I lie in my shed, listening to the spiders making webs,
Think I hear footsteps where they shouldn’t be.
The goats rustle in their sleep, kicking imaginary tins.

Shadows creep up the wall like fingers, then suddenly recede.
I hold my breath for as long as I can and wait.
The blood pounds in my brain like an alarm - too late
To save me from punishment. The witches are coming.

The Only Confirmed Cast Member Is Ook the Owl, Who Has Been Tapped To Play the Snowy White Owl Who Delivers Mail for Harry

Claw up.  Claw down.  Cut.
My fine eyes.  My fine eyes are—  Cut.

I was fluffed and plucked, like a beauty-pageant winner,
Between takes.  Like a news presenter.
Could I be a news presenter?

Rider:  5 rashers bacon.  8-oz. tin mixed nuts.
2 lbs. rabbit fillets.  Assorted drupes.

Between takes, I did leg-lifts in my trailer.

If asked what is your most treasured possession, I would say
The woolly toy Tracey, my personal trainer, gave me when young.
I learnt to spy it from afar, then swoop down and seize,
But only on cue.  Mr Sheep goes everywhere with me now.

If I could wake up having gained one ability,
It would be the capacity for more facial expression.
It is so tedious to have one’s beak set in a permanent frown.

My greatest talent is impersonation—
To simulate a person’s idea of an owl.
Sadly, I owe my success to typecasting.

My greatest fear is to be found wanting.

At the premiere party, the women were not very clothed.  
It is of advantage to be clad always in feathers.

I allowed fake friends to pet me.
My picture was taken several times with the boy.
I enjoy parties because otherwise I see only Tracey.
Afterwards, you wonder what the glitter was for.
_
Jane Yeh
http://janeyeh3.com/poems

Correspondance

I’ve gotten nothing for weeks. You might think of me

As dated in a blue housecoat, buttoning & unbuttoning,
Waiting you out: I have my ways

Of keeping time. When your letter comes, dogs will bark
Up & down the street. The tomatoes in the garden

Will explode like fireworks. Each day the mailman passes
In a reverie, illiterate, another cobweb

Grows across the door. Picture me
Going bald one hair at a time, combing & curling, burning

My hand on the iron once every hour: I like to
Keep myself busy. When I hear from you, aurora

Borealis will sweep across the sky. Every lottery ticket in my drawer
Will win. Even the mailman will know the letters

Of your name. If you bothered to notice, you would see me
Turning to gold rather slowly, bone

By bone, the way teeth come
Loose from the gums, the way animals go

Extinct, in geological time.

- Jane Yeh

ON NINJAS

They eat four-cheese pizzas with three of the cheeses removed.
They make friendship bracelets out of aluminium foil and poison.
They open windows just by thinking about opening windows.
They take ballet lessons to improve the speed of their circular arm movements.

The ninjas are coming, coming to save us from muggers
And disorganised thieves and slobs who want to kill us.
The way to spot a ninja is to look for someone wearing black pyjamas—
Preternaturally neat black pyjamas—with a hood for cover.

The way to tell one ninja from another is by the ankles.
The way to tell one ninja from another is you can’t.
They know how to levitate by thinking about birds’ feet.
They make terrible cater waiters because no-one can hear them coming.

Their mission is to save us from chaos with their acute tumbling skills
And their climbing proficiency. They don’t want to dismember
Bad jazz musicians or art teachers or con men, but they will.
They know how to escape from a trap by running in place very, very fast.

They can change places with each other by thinking about numbers.
They turn themselves into fog to get out of attending boring parties.
They make single-serving Lancashire hotpots to show their culinary mastery.
They take turns doing the laundry. (It’s easy: no whites or colours.)

The ninjas are here to help us. They are as ruthless as history
Or defenestration. They are pitiless as a swarm of bees, or evolution.
They know how to throw fireballs and do their own taxes.
They hate litter and small children. They are here to fix us.

— 

© 2012, Jane Yeh From: The Ninjas Publisher: Carcanet, Manchester, 2012 

jane yeh

The Robots

They meet in secret in electrified rooms.

They are under surveillance … by themselves.

They sneak food out of our kitchens, even though they can’t eat it.

The password for their meetings is ‘Please admit me, I am a robot’ (in robot language).

 

They like to interface with ceramic-coated transistors for recreation.

They keep robo-dwarf hamsters as pets.

They have a financial interest in the Arena Football League, Amway, and Red Lobster.

Howsomever you find them, they will appear ready to serve.

 

If a robot crosses your path, it means your grandmother just died.

In robot language, ‘I’ and ‘you’ are the same word.

How many robots does it take to build a suspension bridge over the Grand Canyon?

If you see a robot with its hands folded, it’s planning something.

 

They use our grammar to mock us.

Cicero once wrote, ‘Roboti non possunt fundi’ (‘It is not possible to defeat the robots’).

If they smile at you, it means you just died.

The city of robots will be concentric, well-polished, and paradisiacal— for the robots.

 

In the city of robots, they will celebrate the holidays Bolting and Zincfest.

Their love of rabbits will come to the fore.

The rest of us will be snuffed out like vermin.

Happy will the robots be when they can practise kung-fu in the open.  _
Jane Yeh
http://janeyeh3.com/poems