Crime of Hatred

They said – it was not about the color of your skin,
or the fact that you were a woman, none of those things;
your death was simply
a tragedy, an accident, a sad coincidence
caused by someone with a mental illness.


Such an insult to your truth, to what it means to have a mental illness,
to your being an Asian woman in a world where you were seen as a woman, an Asian,
a person who was not white, not male, not anything
for whom the media so readily provides an excuse.
They choose the narrative that brings them the least discomfort,
not one that shows the darkness of the world in which you can be executed
by someone who had the audacity to claim his act of murder was about lust.
The killer lusted for blood, the same red blood in his veins,
only beneath a different appearance from his.


And yet so many of them are saying, no,
that is the self-victimization mentality.
They’re saying that to you who literally were the victim of a hate crime,
whose life was taken away – not even because you were at the wrong place at the wrong time,
but because the murderer invaded your space,
as if this earth were not big enough for everyone regardless of their gender, and race,
and everything else that makes us different and makes us one.


You are dead. Many of you died. Many of you will die, if they keep breeding the lies,
convincing themselves and others that this could have happened to anyone,
that they choose to not see colors when one of the colors were red, that of your blood
spilling over their head, their conscience – does everyone not have one?, their rhetoric.
But the truth is this:
this. is. a. hate. crime.
this. is. a. murder.
and anyone who claims otherwise is an accomplice
in an act against humanity, against what we all want for our country,
our children, our future.


And now every time I walk out on the street, I would wonder
if my mask and clothes were enough to conceal me, to protect me:
my woman’s body, my Asian skin, my identity
that should matter and not matter just as much as anybody’s,
but it doesn’t:
in Atlanta, just the other day,
people who looked just like me were murdered
just because of how they looked.

Faith In The Dark

Eventually you learn
how to feel your way in the dark. Everything looks the same,
but feel different; unlike the usual days
when all looked different yet felt the same
as if time never moved, neither space
nor you in it.


In the dark you start to remember
where you came from, before your mother
heard you cry
(you sounded like a child who had strong opinions
and an abundance of tears
and something resembling the other side of the gate.)
It feels cathartic, like redemption
from an opportunity unchosen
where you make the best of it.


There is an unspoken word of grace
when you bow down on your knees, and legs,
your forehead touching the cold floor,
your heart shaking as if every beat were a prayer
that would somehow be answered, as if
your faith had been restored.


It still worries you that if you didn’t believe enough
god wouldn’t hear your voice, and how sad would that be – to carry a voice unheard,
an identity unbeknownst,
a lifetime unchanged
by a power larger than yourself
manifesting itself in so many ways
even your darkest doubts gradually turned into beliefs.

(October 21, 2018)

did you?

did you walk on this earth five hundred years ago?
did you hear the voices of the ancestors?
did you taste the sweat from long journeys across the continents?
did you write the words that would later be misinterpreted?

did you ask questions because the answers were never enough?
did you assemble your own truth among others’ lies?
did you look for the things you could never find?
did you meet those you were always meant to meet?

did you say anything you truly meant?
did you do everything you could ever do when you said you did?
did you believe enough to take a leap of faith?
did you see in your heart that which resembled a heart?

did you seek to be understood or be loved?
did you feel what it was like to have said goodbye without knowing it?
did you realize the way everything turned into something exactly the same?
did you know that you too one day would become someone different?

did you love because love was all you could ever do?
did you hate because love was all you had given away?
did you know there would always be another way?
did you understand the meaning of that moment that day?

Time Witnesses

What a time, what a time
to watch the world change
day by day, number by number,
name by name, one of which
can be yours, any moment now,
and yet the heart stops
even when it isn’t, because every life
matters, in a world where nothing seems
the same. A ‘new normal’ is deemed
to happen, either a promise
or a warning. Wherever the eyes land
there are masks, and gloves,
and sometimes the absence of such:
so much meaning behind
objects, so much on the line
every time we choose to walk outside
in search of the normalcy we used to have.

What a time, what a time
to be alive, to grieve over those who have died,
those who are dying, those who are struggling,
those who are taking care of others,
those who are being taken care of;
to grieve over ourselves
as part of a wave
that has taken over this island earth.

This is not an ode, but rather a moment of quietness
in which I think about you, and me, and us,
and where we are going from here,
how we are leaving from here,
what we are becoming from here.
And I see nothing but hope, among it all,
so much hope, because more than anything
we have shown love and strength
and watch the air cleared up and the birds come up and sing every morning
and the neighbors and friends asking one another,
“how are you doing?”, this time really mean it,
unlike any time when it was but a passing social note
having faded just as quickly as it had appeared.

What a time, what a time
to be witnesses to time, to where history happens to have us,
and to an opportunity to reveal what must be changed
for life to sustain, for our children to thrive in the world,
for our fellow human beings to safely come together
for a long, long hug.

Let Me Remember You

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Let me remember you
even long after our time has passed
and our wisdom turned into dust
along with us. Let memories
stay among themselves on the pages
that preserve your words, and mine,
in silence, while our emotions
are so fiery they would make anyone
blush. Do you remember
when I said I forgot
everything? I did, but these letters
keep my mind awake.
It won’t be long
before we too will become the trees
from which this paper is made,
be inked upon, and thus become
somebody else’s memories –
isn’t that great? That you and I
will not only be forever, but we
get to immerse ourselves
into the multitudes of others?
I am so grateful
that this time around
once again
I get to meet you.

Intimacy

Even in the coldest days across this city
he has a warmth that you can seek
even when his bones are cold.
You have a warmth that only comes out of your skin for him
You reach across the pillow
and touch his smile;
he draws you in
until it touches yours

Is this love? Many a time you’ve asked.
It’s not a question needing an answer
but more its source. Why do you wonder
when this feels so good, so much better
than anything you felt before
or anyone has ever brought your way
and put down long enough to convince you
that they are here to stay
that not every lover will eventually leave.

If this is love, then you love him,
in a way that no one ever loved you.
You begin to feel
that sense of solidness,
in which you can close your eyes,
and there he will be, in the very darkness of your soul
lighting it up.
And if you call his name the universe will respond
bringing you a warmth
you can count on
even in the coldest of days
and nights

acquaintance

we made acquaintance
in this remembering, and forgetting,
and unforgiving
of the unjust treatment of the heart,
its irregular beats, to a rhythm that did not exist
until you walked into my life – i took you in
but you got afraid –
of our mutual vulnerability, so you ran –
and for what? an ounce of safety? (or, the illusion of),
or the mistaken belief that us splitting apart
would bring forth the peace which we once searched
in one another?
what do you hear
in the concave footsteps you had left,
taking that terrible moment of tenderness
away from me, away from us,
away from when you needed me most?

The Right Side of Humanity

We are of striking similarities
underneath all the differences
in how we look, of remarkable uniqueness
across these things we share in common.

The language you use to access your emotions
speaks to the way I, too, have felt
where we’ve witnessed the beautiful, the unspeakable, the terrible, the sublime,
the realities of others popped up against ours,
and the truth we know to exist, the fundamental truth
of who we are, as a species on Earth, cohabiting, co-creating, co-observing
among others,
yet destroying – all by ourselves –
the very things that make us human
that make this world your world, my world,
a place where we only stay for a time
when we have a lease on life,
from which we will leave with nothing,
not even fame, which only lasts
for as long as history lasts.

And who writes history but the immortal,
those who aren’t always willing to let go,
as the current of time inevitably progresses?

We are all immigrants
from one life to another.
We cannot be banned from time,
from the nature of life, and death.
Nor can anyone resist
the natural order of things
always looking to restore themselves toward balance.

Power, possessions, privilege
are only means to and by-products of anything that is ever worth it.
If you have forgotten that, don’t you remember
the love you might have for your own family,
and friends, and whomever you choose to love,
the happiness you wish upon their hearts and faces,
and the pure joy of a beautiful child
who just learned how to crawl this earth
for the very first time?

We want that too.
We want our families and friends to unite
We want to discover the grand beauty of this world and life
We want to communicate and understand and connect and love our brothers and sisters
regardless of, and given, the many ways we write our words, shape our cultures, embrace our gods,
because the human race is one
and this planet is one
and the universe is one
in our inextricable connectedness, our diversity,
and our desires for life, liberty,
and the pursuit of utmost happiness.

Live with love.
Think with love.
Lead with love.
There is always a path away from hate,
anger, or fear.
It is never too late
to be on the right side of humanity.

I Have Dreamed of You So Much (Robert Desnos)

I Have Dreamed of You So Much
(by Robert Desnos)

I have dreamed of you so much that you are no longer real.
Is there still time for me to reach your breathing body, to kiss your mouth and make your dear voice come alive again?
I have dreamed of you so much that my arms, grown used to being crossed on my chest as I hugged your shadow, would perhaps not bend to the shape of your body.
For faced with the real form of what has haunted me and governed me for so many days and years, I would surely become a shadow.
O scales of feeling.
I have dreamed of you so much that surely there is no more time for me to wake up.
I sleep on my feet prey to all the forms of life and love, and you, the only one who counts for me today,
I can no more touch your face and lips than touch the lips and face of some passerby.
I have dreamed of you so much, have walked so much, talked so much, slept so much with your phantom,
that perhaps the only thing left for me is to become a phantom among phantoms,
a shadow a hundred times more shadow than the shadow that moves
and goes on moving, brightly, over the sundial of your life.

____________________________________

J’ai tant rêvé de toi
(Robert Desnos)

J’ai tant rêvé de toi que tu perds ta réalité.
Est-il encore temps d’atteindre ce corps vivant
Et de baiser sur cette bouche la naissance
De la voix qui m’est chère?
J’ai tant rêvé de toi que mes bras habitués
En étreignant ton ombre
A se croiser sur ma poitrine ne se plieraient pas
Au contour de ton corps, peut-être.
Et que, devant l’apparence réelle de ce qui me hante
Et me gouverne depuis des jours et des années,
Je deviendrais une ombre sans doute.
O balances sentimentales.
J’ai tant rêvé de toi qu’il n’est plus temps
Sans doute que je m’éveille.
Je dors debout, le corps exposé
A toutes les apparences de la vie
Et de l’amour et toi, la seule
qui compte aujourd’hui pour moi,
Je pourrais moins toucher ton front
Et tes lèvres que les premières lèvres
et le premier front venu.
J’ai tant rêvé de toi, tant marché, parlé,
Couché avec ton fantôme
Qu’il ne me reste plus peut-être,
Et pourtant, qu’a être fantôme
Parmi les fantômes et plus ombre
Cent fois que l’ombre qui se promène
Et se promènera allègrement
Sur le cadran solaire de ta vie.

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