Eugene Levich

Mrs. Tanky Man - Poem by Eugene Levich

Mrs. Tanky Man
I called her,
Though she was never a Taitai (a Mrs.)
Darton refusing to marry anyone,
On principle.

American professor (Comparative Literature) before the War
At National Peking (That’s how they used to spell Beijing) University
Sent to a Nip (That’s what we used to call the Japanese) concentration camp;
He didn’t touch a woman in 3½ years.
He didn’t like that.

He bought a lovely house overlooking the harbor
At Tan-shui (That’s how they used to spell Danshui) ,
Went up into the hills
And purchased five beautiful daughters from
Poor families.

A Harem...
“Paradise, ” he called it.
“One cooked, one cleaned, one shopped...”
And he refused to learn Chinese.
Couldn’t bear the thought of studying another language,
Especially one as hard as Chinese.
He knew so many languages already—
Latin, Greek, French, German,
And, of course, English.
And the Chinese officials, he said,
Distrusted foreigners who could speak
Their language. Those officials provided him
With all the assistance he needed.

He refused to allow his concubines to learn English.
“Language just gets in the way of love! ”
He said.
He refused to marry anyone; “Children are a mere conceit! ”
He added.

My landlady,
The last of his concubines,
In her forties,
Still attractive.
He in his seventies
Still vibrant.
He bought her properties
To keep her after he died.
He had taken care of all his concubines.

She was not right in the head;
Terrible things she had seen
During The War and After.

He taught her to speak Pidgin English
And he laughed when she spoke.
I had a problem in my apartment.
“Me catchee tanky-man come chop chop fixy fixy.”
[I’ll get the heating tank man to come quickly to fix it.]
She said.

And she didn’t like me, either...
Because I wasn’t married,
She thought,
Just like Darton,
Who didn’t give her “Face”
By marrying her.

As I said,
She wasn’t right
In the head.
But who is?

Topic(s) of this poem: psychology

Comments about Mrs. Tanky Man by Eugene Levich

  • Bri Edwards (10/14/2015 4:12:00 PM)

    ok, i'll send this story (that's what we used to call something like this before Gino started calling thempoems) to my exalted MyPoemList. bri :) (Report) Reply

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  • Bri Edwards (10/14/2015 3:54:00 PM)

    “Children are a mere conceit! ” ……………interesting! I AM/was A “CONCEIT” THEN? I always wondered what I was. I have heard (years ago) that BEFORE I was born (I don’t know HOW LONG) I had been a “twinkle in the eye” of someone. my father? the milkman? the postman? there were possibly many twinkles.

    if she had given Darton more Head, chop chop, OR perhaps if she had REFUSED to “give him Head”, Darton would have given HER Face!

    isn’t Pidgin English some kind of English? did he teach the others the same? ? did she/they speak to the pigeons?

    an interesting …………(that’s a pretty ‘safe’ word) …………..’poem’.

    I keep telling people that I AM “right in the head”, but no one believes me. the closest anyone ever came was the guy who said to me (after I was pulled from the ‘ring’) : “he really gave you a good shot right in the head! ”.

    bri ;)
    (Report) Reply

  • Kelly Kurt (9/18/2015 1:17:00 PM)

    Interesting story. BTW, I am not right in the head either. : -) (Report) Reply

    Eugene Levich (9/18/2015 3:15:00 PM)

    Join the club! I appoint you honorary president, if you wish to accept.

Read all 4 comments »

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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 18, 2015

Poem Edited: Thursday, October 1, 2015

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