Why can’t I reach fully legitimacy with
A slow and inflexible muscle
Uttering words and spitting
Contorting to make sounds and imitate accents I was not born into
A for access,
Access to picture books first
Access to academic journals second
And then B for blocked
Blocked from accessing emotions
And putting them into English words. E for English, E for Easy. English is not Easy
N for native tongue
I have no proper native tongue. A jumble of 5 or 6 languages we don’t even classify
C for classification
C for colonial tendencies. To demarcate my skin Colour as Chinese. Ching Chong. Chinoise. Exotic. Chopstick violence sticking into tender blond hair.
C for cheongsam
My mother’s wedding dress. My grandmother’s wedding dress. My great-grandmother’s wedding dress. Maybe, my wedding dress.
Tight fitting and threatens to suffocate my ability to speak. S for submissiveness. T for threats by my father to slap my face he marches over after I— I—
C for consumption. C for cultural appreciation. E for excuses to put it on and shed it off after.
While I still tremble with fear when I hear the words Asian girl.
Asian girl takes Big Black Cock. Young Asian Teenager Sucks Math Professor off.
D for Decolonize. Making null scars in my lineage. Reading writers who render words inaccessible to my mother. She wants me home. I hear it in the Telephone. T for technology to say “I miss you” in a wordless language
V for vehemence. Anger you cannot explain. What language? Where are the words to properly justify. Use arguments for and against. Cite statistics. BE COHERENT!
—the urge to cry when I am asked to defend my hatred towards white people. For what is there left to say
F is for Forget. Forgiveness. To let go of grudges, our people’s coping mechanism
But R for Reality
That stings your cheeks long after and never goes away
Seeing it in their ease, asking why you’re not born into it.
Why you are not beautiful. Why you feel offended. Why this sensitivity like a flu that won’t go away.
P for pain. P for pronunciation.
For my V’s and W’s, my T’s and Th’s. Their stares.
I have not spoken with ease for years. Like the story of a man obsessed with imitating the steps of the ravens, and forgets how to walk
Except I did not choose this.
T for tired. T for try and try again. T for trapped. I have no choice
But to keep writing. L for listen.
P for please, please listen.
Image by Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden, “Index: The Studio at 3 Wesley Place, in the Dark (IV), and Illuminated by an Explosion nearby (VI)”, 1982.