More Thoughts

August 22, 2010

.2.
a believer indeed
should never be
a believer in need,
but one we see
as believing in deed.

.3.
At what point does the marginal return of extra income diminish?
At what point can we create change and not merely count it?
At death, we are remembered for the good we have accomplished,
For some difference we have made that is cajoled in our obit.
Do we need the disposable income that we squander?
Now is the time to give our wealth a second ponder.


A Whole And Not A Sum

March 19, 2010

In identifying myself as Asian American,
I am compartmentalizing myself under one convenient label.
I am techie, piano-playing, yellow peril–
A whole and not a sum.

What happens when this myth falls through?
Perceived as a math whiz, treated as a threat?
The industrious skewer of the grading curve?
The model minority scorned for perfection,
Alienated and bullied as a whole, and not a sum.
Yanked by pigtails, as the job market sours,
The coolie who stole the job for hire.
I am the low-cost, high-efficiency perpetual foreigner.

In my lifetime, I have actively fought against stereotypes,
Wanting to assimilate, to acculturate.
It seems that the harder I try, the luckier I get.
I am a lover of the arts and speak perfect English,
Been told I write like I’ve studied English forever,
Been told I am hiding my accent, only to my delight.
My genetics cannot lie: I am Asian.
A whole and not a sum.

What would happen if ethnic studies were taught by Whites,
If Asians dominated the NFL,
And minorities became the majority?
Stereotypes will crumble,
But discrimination will reassemble
And the tug-of-war ensues.
Is there comfort in knowing we are different,
No matter how hard we try, how lucky we get,
We are different only by 0.1%.

What is the truth when a lie is unmistakable?
The 0.1% is too trivial to detect a lie.
Am I a label, with value stored?
Are you another price tag for comparison?
Or are we all of fair value, 99.9% square?
Will we put our futures up for sale,
0.1% discount?
Who will buy it?
Why should we care?


Red, White, and So-Blue

July 3, 2009

Ninety degrees of separation from gelid cacophony,
Flaxen hair, nutmeg-skin dolls loll on blankets, easy.
Mocha sands lay homage to well-weathered, freckled shells.
Beneath regal palapas, imbibing passion fruit iced tea,
Gringos soak in the gentle gust and fresh seawater smells.

Discord oscillates with negative twenty arctic eupnea.
Ninety degrees removed from cloud nine inbred panacea,
Emerges a shadow of a plebian in solemn icy embrace.
Her desolation fills its own crestfallen art galleria
Of detritus visuals drifting like sand away from this place.

To where crimson-on-cream women wink a cocoa-eye,
And wave to well-toned caramel-skin men sauntering by.
All let cerulean surf tumble in, calming like ancient rime,
Not wary that palm oasis has masked the nightingale cry.
Ninety degrees of separation apart, is a scene less sublime.

She pleads for a single peso, for a bond that was never born,
Grasping a cylinder encasing an abortion, revoked and torn.
Sunken eyes askance, them scrawny vagabonds… same.
Freemen brewed, tyrants quaffed in a party freedom sworn.
Like corn in the reapers, invitations drown in the flame.

As the exhaust belches its morning blues anew the snow,
Such porcelain, alabaster splendor is tainted with dour woe.
She looks up and wipes away fresh tears or sweat perhaps.
“Palm oasis, so-blue sky… where are you?” She bellows below,
Bathed in toil and labored breath, depressed under glacial caps.

There is something vaporizing from her shoddy shroud,
Through alleys of cobwebs with tatters and tins endowed.
Sunken by shame, and clearing for comfort, on fiscal iota,
Past vain valor, exploding in this warrior’s mushroom cloud,
Particles meeting particles from ninety degrees distant utopia.

She has fancied this mist since she discovered her reality,
As a shadow among gleaming urban lights of vitality,
Since she kneeled on Winter solstice, begging to know,
Whispering to the Wind if it can learn Wave’s hospitality,
That heartens the Gringos, with its lulling ebb and flow.

Such slumber, this indolence, mojito and margarita in tanning hands!
As we dine epicurean, in the comforts of clover to soothing trance,
The patio table shakes, the riedel glass topples over with the buko pie.
Fast spreads the gale’s shady pall; its furtive eyes shoot me a glance.
Yet Freedom’s teacup stands halcyon, in honor of the Fourth of July.


Daybreak

May 16, 2009

The bright stars fade.
A flaming orb has intruded the brink of night,
And the sky is filled with a brilliant cascade.

Some may wish that the stars had stayed,
To enjoy mystic comfort in the absence of light.
The bright stars fade.

An ode to sleep as it ends its serenade.
Fluid dreams dance then vaporize into flight,
And the sky is filled with a brilliant cascade.

A stage of twinkling stars has been displayed.
Shadow-cloaked corners suffer a woeful plight;
The bright stars fade.

Color hues invade and the message is conveyed:
Twilight melts into flaming reds as the hues ignite,
And the sky is filled with a brilliant cascade.

Daybreak is filtered through the dark gray shade,
Casting iridescent rays that create a wondrous sight.
The bright stars fade,
And the sky is filled with a brilliant cascade.


Hear Me

April 16, 2009

I am the voice in your head
That tells you, “no.”
Will you say “yes?”


For B

March 28, 2009

~ dedicated to a gifted friend with dystonia.
poem adapted from Shakespeare’s As You Like It ~

We are merely players on a global stage,
Entering and exiting the velvet screen.
Born an infant who matures at timely age,
To become a pantaloon, slipper’d and lean.
Lastly, the spotlight shines on the withered sage,
Who returns to the Earth in the final scene.
Where we are now is where we are meant to be,
Acting out our roles metaphorically. 

We have gone through many scenes before we met:
As infants and school boys with satchels in hand,
Easy to please and easier to upset,
Learning and maturing by life’s set command.
Our shining morning faces see aging’s threat;
We now act in combat, as the script had planned.
Exposed to trials when the lights cruelly dim,
We draw our swords of chiseled steel on a whim.

The once flat stage becomes a deepening slope.
Enter the scene wasps and snakes with their vile hiss,
Poisoned apples and storms of alarming scope;
We are victims thrown into this deep abyss.
Where no villain dares to probe lie fields of hope,
Reaping crops that nourish actors of justice.
Your sound talent briefly dampened in this score,
Will be an echoing effigy no more.

There are stunning fireworks when your fingers pounce
On the blacks and ivories to mellow notes,
One with the hidden strings and acoustic sounds,
Drinking the meaning from life’s bittersweet floats.
I cherish your presence in our trying grounds;
We play our roles, conversing in double quotes.
At the still brink of song, I hear your passion,
Taste your modesty, and feel your compassion. 

You are Bach and Chopin with a fleeting plight.
As your sky is eclipsed by a single star,
Do not settle with the passing of the night.
You are a soldier; your hands are trained to spar,
So fight, fight against the dying of the light,
For a battle is not won without a scar.
May light’s warm rays bless your kind and gentle heart,
That finds strength in pain. And so you play your part.


Hey You

February 15, 2009

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.” -H.W.

She goes by “You.”
He’s heard as “Hey.”
“Hey You” echoes through
The walls stormy gray.

“You are useless, worthless, Stupid You.”
“You are ugly, clumsy; who needs You?”
“You are a disgrace; just look at You!”
“You, YOU, ruined my life and I HATE YOU!”

“Hey You, come wipe off your brainless mess!”
“You” stares at the slipshod spill of his.
“You” opens her mouth, tries to protest.
“Hey, do it now!” Her plea is dismissed.

“Hey” rages fiercer with extra fire;
“You” trembles from her head to her toe.
“Hey” rumbles like a mighty lion choir;
“You” crumbles from the strength of the blow.

“You” buries her face in her frail hands,
Lets out a moan, a cry in disguise.
“Hey, stop what you’re doing,” he demands.
“You” lifts her head, showing fearful eyes.

It’s sad to know that dolls suffer too,
With scars behind the linen and lace.
It’s hard to conceive what “You” goes through,
Beneath her tender, angelic face.

“Hey” roars louder from a harried man.
“You” is his child, a 6-year old girl.
“Hey You” thunders again and again.
“You” recoils in a crestfallen curl.

“You” closes her eyes and stands up still.
Dreams of a father float through her head.
“Hey You” resounds in a bitter shrill.
“You” forces a smile and prays instead.

Broken lips crack open a dire cry;
“You” is blemished in black and dark blue.
Arms outstretched, she looks him in the eye,
And utters “Hey Daddy, I love You.”

He goes by “You.”
She’s heard as “Hey.”
“Hey You” echoes through
The walls cloudy gray.


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