Exhale

She too has a story, but she will not tell.

She lies on a long bench, filtering out the sounds of cars, animals, people. Her body slips into the protruding pebbles like a foot slips into sand on a beach. She stares into the sun, orange like the pill containers stacked on her mother’s plate. With breaths extracted like pulled silk, she allows the blossoming red of the sun to press against her eyelids.

Then night cracks open beauty in the form of a breeze.

She believes that the night is exclusively hers. Released from the weighted air of day, she breaks through the vacuum of people constantly bypassing her. She returns to the monkey bars and swings of a retired childhood.

If only people could be tamed without breaking their spirit.

Her body seems to have a memory separate from her mind, as memory veers towards a glorified past. Numbing pain is more difficult than recycling it. My fingers lightly trace over her sensitive skin.

I have a story, and I will tell. I do not live with the fear that history will repeat itself because I know that we can overcome tendencies. We self-define. When we are selfish we become all types of repulsive colors. So we shed ourselves and move on.

Breathe in a world too rushed to do so.

Now, our bodies rest on the stony bench as the blue night overtakes with a dewy brilliancy. We are all inextricably linked under the fragrant sky.

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Ooh la la (cover from Faces)

with the awesome Kevin Sparks on guitar. give a listen!

a reminder:

The one time I wanted sympathy I didn’t get it. I was reaching into his refrigerator for the little pink bottles of alcohol that tasted like Florida, because I don’t drink, I don’t want to drink, I’ve never been drunk. He didn’t give any notion that he cared that a twelve-year-old, let alone his own, was falling through the cracks.

Where are we going?

It doesn’t matter.

Mas cerveza.

I hate the taste of beer.

I hated him for his paleness; I countered it with the sun. I hated our eyebrows, nose, terrible night vision, and paranoia.

In our misery, we often fail to realize that we are rulers of our own worlds. We forget to slow down and breathe, forget to look up—not at the underside of the table, but at the clouds tinged gold by the breaking sun, at the waves of blue sky traveling in through half-open windows. Reminders: recognize what happy feels like, remember that it’s no good to be perfect. Because from an aerial view, we are simply tracing over sand with wet toes, lines drawing upon lines.

So take all the chaos in the world, and make it your own, and make it beautiful: https://ministeamroller.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/making-chaos-beautiful/.

what are you?

what are you? is a common question.
new yorker comes out more easily than american. perhaps in an attempt to dispel the idea that we’re all ignorant and uncultured. or perhaps it’s a declaration of love for my home city.
china. my asian friends complain that this is almost always the first guess. what is with this assumption that all of our faces belong to one place?
what are you?
human. and no matter where i’m from, no matter how exotic you find me,
i do not exist for you to undress me. even if it’s only in your mind, you make me feel dirty with your eyes; i can feel them.
don’t judge me.
what am i? afraid. that you’re going to come closer, and try to press your body against mine.
don’t touch me.
i’m a stranger. that deserves more respect than you’re willing to give.
what am i?
i am me.
and even if i am afraid that you’re going to come closer, i am not scared to push you away

Pale Skin

I keep forgetting that today is supposed to be some sort of celebration of independence for Americans. Twisting the whole idea around–yes, I am American (no matter how reluctant I may be to reveal that to foreigners, but I will write more on that another time), and I am celebrating my independence–abroad. A reminder to all: never let anything hold you back. We are all priceless, and no matter how much we get beat down, we have the ability to rise again. And here is a poem that embodies the moment I was able to let go; here’s one for my own independence:

*****************************************************************************

Your family was fortunate: when the Khmer Rouge was silently gaining power
in Cambodia, they left for Taiwan.
They escaped the starvation, concentration camps, the executions.
Those were your people.
But I will not cry for you.

These are the people with whom I share an ultimate root,
but know nothing of because
you never talk to me.
It’s always, you wouldn’t understand, you don’t know about

Life, the place you left me teetering,
clutching your leg as you went to live in another woman’s place for two weeks?
Life, what I contemplated taking many nights
as I sat in the bathtub letting the water run loud to drown out your lies, thinking
it’d be so goddamn easy?
But this is not about me.

This is about you, and the way you walked away from me when all I wanted
were answers. This is about the way you would not answer my sister’s questions
about biology even though you hold a fucking PhD in molecular life science
bullshit because you obviously don’t give a shit about life, because you
left me
with blood tainted purple.

This is about the way you starved us of love while you fooled around with some spoiled Latina brat who wore
perfume, unlike my mother
who could not mask her displacement, who could not overcome the fact
that when she was a few weeks old she was left
in a corner to die.

This is about my mother, who followed you across
a sea and followed your white teeth and fed you and stood on the side
as you carved perfection into plaster molds
and as you deemed us imperfections in your sterilized world of dentures.

You think this is about me forgiving you, but
I will not cry for you
I do not look like you
with your pale, pale skin, you emerged unbruised.

You are pale like the belly of a dead fish, you are hideous
in the backdrop of Cambodia
that is beautiful temples and beautiful, dark, children bronzed by the sun.

This is about the years of tears i’m taking back.

Losing the Climb

Much of my time is spent waiting for the sun to emerge, to nudge my body into action, into productivity. The in-between is spent studying hands, complex like Japanese origami. Each line, each fold has a story. I used to fear that I would lose myself if I scratched my hands, so I slipped my hands into a pair of white gloves and stuck them in a freezer, coming out only to soak in the light of day.

Now I slip my hands into a skin of chalk, and as I glide down into the rock hole, my skin prickles at the cold. My body falls naturally into contorted shapes; my trust in self doesn’t seem to echo through the people waiting to catch my fall. Slow and static, I carry on. Regard the present as a companion–climb with patience and precision; present shifts to backdrop only when nostalgia edges in.

We reach Lost City. Halfway up my rock, hands go numb. The primal need to climb takes over.

What kind of precision can you expect your body to facilitate in an incoherent state? Climbing–inherently dangerous? Body, mind doesn’t care. I can’t complain that I didn’t make it. Close by, there are people watching, fingers fumbling with their pot kits. Disconnected, we exist on the same broken wavelengths. It’s simple: discard the world around you. Then replace.