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I wrote this poem thinking about Asian Americans and love… specifically, loving one another. Yes, romantically, but also in terms of friendships and family. The first stanza, wherein I tell y’all what this poem is NOT about, came into being when I realized a lot of haters would accuse me of certain things if I pushed for an Asian love agenda. I wanted to make sure that the way I try to live my life and my philosophy is clear… this is not just about pro-creation, cuz although “Bao loves the kids”, I find that nationalism grounded in procreation rhetoric is faulty – it can portray women as baby making machines, alienate our people who are of mixed heritage, and dismiss those of us who chose not to have children or have alternate sexual orientations wherein it is biologically impossible to have kids. You know? What i’m saying is, us Asian people need to love each other not just to procreate a Yellowbrown army (there’s already plenty o’ Asians on the planet earth), but because for so long we have not been taught to love ourselves and each other. This poem is dedicated to ‘Chilly Willy.’

This not about yellow brown babies for the revolution.

This is not about a hand job for my personal identity seeking orgasm of self-discovery

This is not about planting nationalists penis flags into earth mother vaginas

This is not about skinning yellow brown hides so that I can make a flag

This is not about soy sauce eyes and rice stick thighs

This is not about kings or queens, emperors or concubines

This is about love.

This is about laughing in our own language,
the language we can only create together,
the laughter we can create
if we both know what it’s like to live without it,
to know we mixed rice with bread
and ate silence,
quietest ingredient in the melting pot,
and we lived on it -

This
is about love,

turning up love’s volume till we shake,
till our arms and legs move, till we shout with multiple tongues
and whisper in each other’s ears
I will never ask you to change your name
I will never ask you to change your name
your name is at home on my tongue

do you hear me

in this land that wants us blind, deaf, asleep and defeated
we have to make our own music
becuz none of these songs have ever been for us,
for the fight inside of us,
pounding fist of the heart against the soul,
the clashing notes inside of our minds,
this is to know what it is like
to have to fight
to love ourselves
this gravity
that sings circular songs in our gut,
we make these songs into homes and we make these homes ours,
there are windows in brown eyes and doors inside of your story
and stairs inside your head and ca phe in your black hair
so let’s stay up late,
let’s live off of spinning door knobs,
the thunder of bilingual laughter,
and if we need the night outside to be darker
we’ll turn to each other’s black hair and lose ourselves there,

and the rain will be pearls,
and blades of lightning will crackle up and down our spines
and we will lift ourselves into the storm

this is about love,
the gradual precipitation that builds to a song,
a song that is a storm that rides a beat of raindrops on rooftops
and city streets and makes it look like the stars weep
the love that most will run and hide from
but some
will stand out and risk sickness
arms wide and head to the sky
because some things must, must soak into our skin

that’s the song I need to hear,
that I know I hear,
that lives in my ears

that’s the song that I know one day, will come out right
that’s the song that can’t exist
without you

this is the last song on earth,
this is the last song on earth
there is nothing else,
there is nothing else
so fill your lungs
and sing