Bunkong Tuon: “Dancing Fu Manchu Master”

Dancing Fu Manchu Master

By Bunkong Tuon



Editor’s Note: This is the third post in a series of poems about the immigrant experience in America. Our late Managing Editor, Okla Elliott, featured Bunkong Tuon’s work on As It Ought To Be back in January of 2017. Okla was particularly concerned about the anti-immigration rhetoric heating up in America and he hoped to showcase the voices of immigrants on our site. In honor of Okla’s memory, Tuon has allowed us to feature more of his poetry about his experience as an immigrant from Cambodia in the United States. The full series of poems is available below.



Dancing Fu Manchu Master

One day, walking home

by myself, a blue plastic backpack slung

over my shoulders, a Christmas gift

from our sponsor, I noticed three boys

watching me from the convenience store

down the corner near an apartment complex.
The leader, a short, red-haired, chubby kid,
stepped out of the shadow, and called out,
“Ching Chong, are you from Hong Kong?”

I quickened my pace pretending

to hear my Grandmother calling me.

“Hey, can you help me with my math homework?”
They burst out laughing.

Seeing me walk firmly away, they slurred out

a slew of hurtful words.

“Why don’t you go back to China?”

“Do you eat dogs where you come from?”

“You use grass and leaves to wipe your ass, right?”
“Do you know Kung Fu?”

With this last question saliva,

warm and gooey, hit my neck.

I closed my eyes, counted my steps,
mindful of my breath, my heart slowed.
I jumped and turned,

thirty feet straight into the air,

took out my sword, with a flick

of the wrist, saw heads roll,

tumbling away down the sidewalk,
bodies slumped behind:

red blossoming concrete.

Trained in the mysterious arts

of Dr. Fu Manchu, I made myself
disappear before the police arrived.



About the Author: Bunkong Tuon is the author of Gruel (2015) and And So I Was Blessed (2017), both poetry collections published by NYQ Books, and a regular contributor to Cultural Weekly  He is also an associate professor of English and Asian Studies at Union College, in Schenectady, NY.



Previous poems from Bunkong Tuon’s series on the immigrant experience in America:

Our Neighborhood in Revere, MA

Snow Day

An Elegy for a Fellow Cambodian

Halloween, 1985

Dancing Fu Manchu Master

Fishing for Trey Platoo

Lies I Told About Father

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s