Guest Blogger: Melvin Wong the Cantaloupe
I would like to thank Roger Pao for giving me the chance to make this post on his blog. While Pao and I did indeed have such a conversation last week at Kroger's, his posts contain a number of glaring mischaracterizations, omissions, and flat-out incorrect assertions, which I would like to correct here.
First, as a minor matter, Although, Although ($14.95, Hirsute Begonias Press) came out in February 1996, not 1995, as Pao indicated in one of his previous posts. Also, my daughter was in the fifth grade, not the third grade, when she played the role of Lavinia in Mr. O'Neill's play.
Second, for the purposes of this post, I will be assuming a priori that I am a cantaloupe, even though I believe that such distinctions are meaningless.
Third, I was indeed penning a sestina -- I was finishing the fifth stanza -- when Pao tapped my rind with his knuckles. Forced to stop my work in the middle of the poem, just as I had finished the brilliant line, "Mastadon masters emasculated the massuesse on Christmas morning," I came out to tell Pao to stop thumping me. Theoretically, I can comprehend the act of thumping vis-a-vis watermelons, but I do not understand why so many customers operate under the illusion that they would learn anything by thumping cantaloupes. We are not united by our differences. All of us are orange inside.
Fourth, I want to discuss the problem of reverse discrimination, which I believe has infiltrated the poetry establishment as well as Pao's last two posts. These posts portrays me as weepy, angry, and emotionally unstable. If I was a member of a "protected" minority group -- a homosexual, African-American, or the like -- I believe that no one would have dared to paint such a blantly officious portrait. Because I am an "Asian-American" and a "cantaloupe," these posts take liberties that might not otherwise have been taken.
Fifth, Pao dunked me in baking soda, not flour. Just to set the record straight: I am neither Taiwanese nor homosexual.
Finally, I may be wrong here, but I think that Emily Dickinson once wrote in one of her letters to Carlos Bulosan, "The category of cantaloupe is an affront to human dignity. When shall we be free of the chains that bind?" Though now appropriated by Adrienne Rich and others in the radical, faux-deconstructionist left, Dickinson was obviously saying that affirmative action hurts the cantaloupes that it tries to help. For example, people ask me all the time -- how do you procreate when you are a sphere and nothing else? Well, if you abolished affirmative action, I would not have to face these ridiculous questions. Indeed, we need to use our imaginations in order to achieve true equality.