Sunday, June 04, 2006

Ancient Chinese Secret




When I was in grade school, those long ago politically-incorrect days where women were "Bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan and never ever letting you forget that you're a man . . . " (the ad for the perfume Enjoli) or being told, You've Come A Long Way, Baby!, the print ad for Virginia Slims, the commercial I remember most vividly was one where a woman spoke in a heavy Chinese accent about Tide. The Chinese couple in the ad ran a dry-cleaners and when the white customers asked how could they get those stubborn stains out, the woman would say, Ancient Chinese secret. The "secret" was Tide, which was just out of view of the stupid customer. After the amazed customer left, the couple would share a laugh.

Having come from this backward culture and eating LaChoy, a kind of truly awful chop-suey dish (with the slogan -- LaChoy makes Chinese food, swing American!), I have come along way to experience the real ancient Chinese secret, that of acupuncture. I know almost nothing of how it works, only that it does. My sister found a brilliant woman named Xieufen in Canada who practices this medicine and massage. I was terrified at first -- I can't even get blood drawn without considerable trauma. But the needles are small and the results stunning. Like anything new, it was a little scary -- all those needles, all that chi flowing. Would I lose my neurotic Western self? No danger of that, sadly. But for a little while, I feel as if I've been cleansed from the inside out, a baptism requiring only that I stay still for a little while and close my eyes while somebody else determines what I need.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"My bowl is empty. But it's my bowl, you see, and I love it." Raymond Carver

Benedictions and Maledictions

Things I Didn't Want To See

I dreamt my mother returned from the dead
carrying a baby cobra in a take-out container.
Do you want to see? she asks, opens the styrofoam
box just a crack so I can tell it's moving. She
was always showing me things I didn't want to see.
Make no mistake; I'm glad she's back. The night
before she died, I slept on a couch in a maternity
ward waiting room. A nurse said to me,When you
hear a scream, it means a new life. When my
mother died,there was no sound, all the machines
had been turned off, the television muted. A janitor
mopped around her bed, my dad and sister cried.
After everyone cleared out, I held her body, already
changed, to my chest as she woud have never
allowed, and I listened for a scream, but none came.

6 comments:

Robin said...

Love the poem, Missy! Reminds me of long ago, watching The Exorcist with my mother within the four knotty-pine walls of our dungeon living room, the only light emanating from the screen of my deepest fear. She left at the commercial break and I followed closely, not trusting the dark, empty space between us. "Mom, don't leave me," I called, reaching out for her. All of a sudden, she turned, her face contorted, and let out the most wicked, demonic growl, "I'm not your mother." I jumped back, and she laughed, my heart racing, caught. The one I should've trusted most had finally shredded what tiny thread of safety that still bound us together. After that, I never chased after her again. Mother-daughter relationships -- as convoluted as snake coils in a half-opened box. Love, R

paul said...

Ohboy, the stories I could tell. In Thailand, there are different utensils, and chopsticks other places. Sweet picture with the tiny pins.

R2 C2!

bonnie said...

Hey honey-pie,
found that Dior Pure Light shade 100 at the big upscale mall, you know the one ;) Well, with this post, you've got my vote for acupuncture (and yoga). So smooth, your back (she says lovingly and just a tad enviously), makes me want to pet your sweet hair and hug your sexy little neck :->

John said...

Dear Michelle,

I love these posts! It's quite an enjoyable learning experience, to be sure. You're a treasure of wisdom, Chinese and otherwise!

Anonymous said...

Is this where you got your Yin-Yang tatoo?

Anonymous said...

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I can't wait for the day when I will finally be able to afford a 20 TB harddisk . But for now I guess I will be satisfied with having a 32 gig Micro SD in my R4i.

(Submitted from Nintendo DS running [url=http://knol.google.com/k/anonymous/-/9v7ff0hnkzef/1]R4i[/url] qqPost)