A TRIP TO CENTRAL PARK (THE STAGES OF RE-ASSIMILATION)
an old tune that has wavered for thousands of years, you now echo in isolation, in this sealed chamber of star spangled concrete, you bounce against earphone and smartphone, trying to find home. but the last time i checked, there’s nothing graceful about foreign, and they say new york
is the crossroads of the world, but the subway can’t even take you across the pacific. so you stay here, celebrity with superglued shades, instrumental leehom wang, feeling your way through a
land that smiles at everyone who pretends to be. it’s easier when you close your maw, because somehow you sound better vibrating against silvergrass than the leaves in my pocket.
one of the only things i am proud of, because it reminds me of my childhood. makes me feel like something more badass than a poet. as i glide towards the next red hand i stop to wave at the sirens. (don’t worry, the only thing i’m breaking is the sound barrier.) i turn around to see two of
my brothers have stopped, waiting for their turn to cross. we lock eyes, and i wonder what they
see. and i’ve been wondering that a lot lately. haven’t you? just earlier i was watching olympic volleyball and asking myself whether i should be rooting for xu or larson, and my skin, after all,
is more “shayng-hi” than anything else. i stop at the last light, an officer asks me how my day is.
i lie, full of promise.
river. park. city. nation.
a synonym for beautiful, right, so i want to remind you, it’s not you, it’s me. my mother, she
loves you. she tells me you gave her everything, that family restaurants are the perfect place to
be a family in, that you are a perfect place to have a family in. but i can tell that she still prefers
tea in the morning, and it aches every day to say i am the same. you of all of your 200 million
people must realize, rea-Qing, tou-Qing, Ai am a visual learner. and call me orientalist, spit it on
my streets, but i’ve read the fortune in my own precipitate. it tells me the best way to love is
through your ancestors, tombstones and wuziqi and soy sauce, and the only place to buy those things here is in chinatown.
william tecumseh sherman.
into the heart of a white man, the triumphant gaze of expensive mineral, you marched lighthouse
in a sea of small, and i was the smallest of them all. it’s only under legacy that i realize i have
lost my face, long ago, somewhere in between boston and the bay. for a brief moment, you
offered “it’s a good thing you sunburn, the paler you stay the better,” that way you could see
right through me, find my blueprint, troubleshoot, yellow to green, yellow to green, yellow to
if only i had known that i never needed to look. if only i had just faced the other way, towards
the United States flag that flew overhead, attached to the corners of a building as old as the Constitution. i remember it billowed to amazing grace.