Thursday, June 19, 2014
They said my hands were fire and I didn’t know what they meant, that is until I made your heart my home and you got burned. Now you have a constant numb washing over you and a house of ashes for rent. They said my eyes were torture because they screamed for help and drew in lost souls, and kept prisoners shivering and shaking and trembling in fear, and because they didn’t know my chest had become desolate with no heart to hold. She said my lips burned kisses into welts meant to be left on the necks of women, but her hands were always wrapped around the necks of wine and whiskey bottles and even a few men, so I payed her no attention. He, her brother, said my lips were nothing more than tools to seduce women into lovers, claiming I never loved her, but he knew not me nor her so how could he claim to really love her? At her funeral I sang a song and they said my voice burned like her whiskey down the backs of their throats, and they couldn’t hold back the tears after hearing bittersweet notes sang about a woman who fell victim to a man who created fires starting with his pen hitting his paper as he wrote. I won’t hold it against them though, they didn’t know. I put on my necklace and my shades, and I almost never smile anymore because at least now I know.
"But that is exactly why the Chin case continues to haunt Asian Americans. It is archetypal. I am less anxious about the threat from the Ku Klux Klan and skinheads than I am the possibility that an ordinary guy across the bar, with economic unease and too much booze, turn outs to be savage enough for violence." "The Case Against Vincent Chin," Frank H. Wu
I whisper, “rest in peace” to you every year but I know you’re not;
I know you’re here, with me—a whisper’s length away;
I can feel you in my bones, resonating, tarnishing golden skin,
we both decay: you decompose while I fall apart every time I hear your story.
Manhood defined only my slaughter, bought off on bad credit—
Ron Ebens says he lives paycheck to paycheck now, off of social security I pay into from fitting in.
Begs the question why I pay for his life, why you paid with yours,
why we all pay for the murderer who thought you were the Japanese threat to livelihood,
thought you were looking at him funny,
thought you were returning his abuse just a little too much,
thought you didn’t bleed red or fear God like he did,
thought you were anything but
I bought a baseball bat today
to keep in my car so the next time I get called “chink” in traffic,
blamed for Pearl Harbor by some ironic hipster,
or just side-eyed from different eyes that “think I am,”
we can bypass the teaching moment;
sputter hurt against hurt
against out of work auto workers shape-shifted to
thick framed glasses with bachelor’s degrees and too much time,
shape-shifted to color blindness negating history
shape-shifted to badge excuses and stolen ground stood
shape-shifted to maybe just this once, I can hit back for us and win,
maybe just this once, I’m not all of us
maybe just this once, we’ll sleep tonight.
They’ll hose my guts out of the gutter, call it “manslaughter,”
we’ll call it a lullaby, Vince,
you and me,
we’ll call it a lullaby.