a conversation between sides

a conversation between sides

you ask
how sacrifice

you ask
how loss

you ask
how broken
mend other
broken people.

keep asking,
and i will show you

my mother
and her pharmacy degree
tucked away in a home office.

my father
and how he leads in a room
where my grandfather’s voice still

my yinyin and yeye
and plastic flowers
we put near gravestones.

my popo
and how she refuses
to leave the house
my mom bought for her.

you ask
how is this a dream.

keep asking,
and i will show you

photo albums, army trunks, mahjong tiles.

keep asking,
and i will show you

rain-damaged letters, ink-stained newspapers, calligraphy brushes.

keep asking,
and i will show you

rice flour, reused pie tins, boiling water.

you ask
isn’t this America?

keep asking,
and i will say
this is the America i know.

keep asking,
and i will say
this is the life we have made.

keep asking
and i will want to show you
to the door.

instead i ask,
what does your America look like?
how different does your love look?
what does your America have that i cannot find in mine?

Happy TunesDay: Collection 44

Happy TunesDay: Collection 44

Today’s TunesDay happens to coincide with election day.  I’m eating my feelings and waiting for the polls to roll in.

Because I’m a little [a lot] overwhelmed with this whole electoral process, I’m copying a portion of a Facebook post I made yesterday about voting.

“Voter intimidation is in full swing already. Discouraging eligible voters is detrimental to the entire democratic process. I don’t care what side of the political divide you’re on. We should all feel safe and proud to vote. If you witness voter intimidation (blocking entrances, photographing voters, displaying weapons, asking voters for “documentation”, and disseminating false information) please call the Election Protection hotline led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law at 866-OUR-VOTE. There is also the Justice Department Voting Rights Hotline at 800-253-3931.

And on a brighter note, poll lines can get long. We all get hungry. Send a photo of the long line you’re in to https://polls.pizza and they’ll send you a pizza to your line!!”

Seriously though, y’all.  We’re in this together.  If you see voter intimidation, please do something about it.  You may not be comfortable intervening directly, especially if people are brandishing weapons and asking people to “prove” their citizenship (this stuff actually happens).  But stay with the person who is being attacked, make sure they feel alright and stay with them in line as they wait to vote, or step aside from the crowd and call the hotline numbers…do something and be safe.  We are counting on you.

With a lot of love and hoping we can continue to pursue freedom for all,

a new national anthem

a new national anthem

when anyone says, “immigrants built America”
I am reluctant to comment

Because “immigrant” implies choice
implies well-calculated decisions for better lives on greener pastures
implies we were not forced from homes, or enslaved, or lied to

It says our trails were made of everything but tears
states that we were always whole and not ¾
reminds me our railroads weren’t hammered by jade hearts
tells me we have no right to mourn or question or be anything but grateful

We don’t say that there were no more options
that poverty forced families to fragment
like disposable chopsticks my grandmother still never throws away

that our culture and history is diluted
categorically flawed by its very nature

because immigrants didn’t build this country
we stole it.

And made refugees,
and slaves,
and victims,
into citizens