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Nicholas YB Wong

Buddha’s Public Lecture: Who is Afraid of Ai

Buddha arrives the lecture hall with a white
aura. Then, he writes a word on the chalkboard:
愛 (love) and says: Let’s be Derrida for a moment,
let’s deconstruct the word, a cliché, into two components:
a.受 (receive) & b.心 (heart). Practice the philosophy
of a and b, your understanding always arbitrary, start
ab intra, start ab ovo, ab inito if that fails. Never think
your heart into abandonment, nor accept one as such.
How a hula hoop dances around your waist
can never be learnt from a manual. Like love,
put it on and feel the circling momentum of plastic
wobbling between fun and flop. Trials and errors
make you an emperor. Who is afraid of love?
Who is afraid of ai? As the Chinese call it, it’s a sigh,
an interjection of an abraded heart, braided veins
of loss. Under microscope, pain constitutes a genome,
throat-pinching as gin. Forget what the other professor says,
yes, that Anglo-Saxon Christian, who advocates atonement,
makes you guilty of every possible particle in the world,
except the canticle of holy cross. Listen,
embrace ai yourself, turn yourself into an anti-irritant.
This morning, I walk in the woods and a bee stings my thumb.
It stays as if it’d found home. I let the bee be though I feel
another subcutaneous thumb bursting through the swelling.
After an hour or so, the insect returns to nectar anthers.
Then I fillip the numbness away and resume my walk
to campus, where I tell you in the next life, the bee
may be me, I be you and you be it. We all enter
the world the same: ovoid ignorance. But remember
this: we return to where we leave, running in circles,
route pre-paved without ruptures. Slant your eyes
to the visible absence en route, unpack yourself,
get ready for the world’s without, where ai awaits. 



Nicholas YB Wong is the author of Cities of Sameness (Desperanto, 2012). His poems are forthcoming in 580 Split, American Letters & Commentary, Gargoyle, Interim, The Jabberwock Review, The Journal, Natural Bridge, Quiddity and Upstreet. He is the recipient of Global Fellowship Award at ASU Desert Nights Rising Stars Writer’s Conference in 2012. He reads poetry for Drunken Boat.