Dim Sum

Weathered faces beam across the table

as steam rises from bamboo baskets

which hold the treasures of Ha Gao,

Ha Churn, and that weird gray stuff

that looks like cut up brains.

(It’s actually cow intestines.)

 

Tea spills over cups as liquor

rides a rush through myveins.

They laugh at the dropped food

from shaky chopsticks,

they laugh at the As

that should have been A plusses.

 

Peanuts dipped in sesame sauce

is redundant, like dipping my black curly hair

into my chinky eyes.

They are made of the same damn thing.

 

Full blooded cousins tell me I don’t belong,

I never have, with my lack of an accent,

my lack of demurring, my lack

my lack

my lack

my lack.

I’ll tell you what I fucking lack.

That “oh whatever you want to do,

is fine, honey” that springs

to their lips as soon as

confrontation hits.

 

That “I’m really good at math

but I can’t pronounce my R’s,

ha ha ha”

 

That hate for the mutts,

of those people who had the balls

to escape from the misogynistic culture

by marrying into another, slightly less

shitty culture.

 

That Asian culture,

where a man brings home the bacon

and the women tries everything

available to her to stay

stupid

and

pretty.

 

I’ll take my curly off jet black hair,

my big tits and my handful ass,

my lack of accent and lack of self-hate,

my light wood eyes…

I’ll stay pretty,

but I won’t be stupid.

Celestial Cages

Countless stars were born

and died to create the cages

we live our whole lives in.

Sometimes the bars stretch

or shrink,

or blacken with bruises,

after being pushed to the brink.

 

The classic male, with his sturdy

prison cell consisting of

arms that bulge but cannot connect

with anything of substance.

The classic male, with his eyes

darkened from lust for violence,

or lust for the sake of lust,

staring at the world as if it were made for him

to own.

The classic male, with his teeth

gritted and a constant

glare of disapproval for

those who only seek approval.

 

The ostracized male,

sick of keeping up the façade

of emotional invincibility and

bullheaded courage.

 

The classic female,

demure and waifish,

fluttering through a room like

a trick of the light.

The classic female,

a bright and wide eyed

ingenue.

Her tongue lying still forever.

The classic female, small

in strength

but able to lift cars to protect her baby

with the arms that built a home.

 

The ostracized female,

torn between what she wants to be

and what is acceptable,

fists clenched and ready.

Generation Write

I write because I was born into a generation that was taught to perform from an early age. We were taught that if we didn’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all (unless it was “constructive”, then you were to refer to something called “tact.”) We were taught that our opinions mattered and that every individual deserved the right to free speech. We were taught that someone, somewhere would benefit from our insights and our god given opinions. We were taught that everyone should be treated with the same amount of dignity.

            We learned from a young age that out instructors were liars. We learned that based on physical attributes, people will respond to you in different ways. We learned that our generation was always going to be labelled as “attention-seeking” by the very same people who encouraged this behavior when we were younger. We learned that nobody really cared about what we think. We learned that once we started developing our own opinions and perspectives rather than spewing out the exact same things as the generation before us, we were considered “entitled.” But most importantly, we learned that equality can only be found in fiction.

            I write because I need to. I was taught to express myself, yet I was shunned for doing so. By writing, I fulfill this need for self-expression while avoiding the instant rejection that comes with speaking your opinion out loud.

Socio-political concerns aside, the personal reason why I write is quite simple. I am an emotionally stunted person and can only seem to process emotionally charged situations by writing about them. Otherwise, I would need a lot of therapy. However, therapy fails to compare to the calm that surrounds my constant state of panic once I put a pen to paper. Watching the ink bleed out of the pen and onto an unblemished sheet of white lulls my mind to a soundless place where anything can happen or be written about. There is no one to offend when you’re alone with your writing, no matter how controversial or touchy your topics may be.

            By writing, I attempt to understand the world and all its fallacies. I attempt to understand myself and how I feel about things that confuse me instead of walking around without an ounce of self-knowledge. Writing allows me to compartmentalize things that would otherwise baffle and disturb me. Seeing my words form on paper is just as therapeutic as screaming at the top of my lungs or punching a hole into a blameless wall; just much less violent and it produces less sound.

            Writing allows me to slightly lessen the sense of betrayal that comes with realizing I was misled into believing I was special in a sea of people who were taught the exact same thing.