the biography

[what it means to be a queer first-generation vietnamese-american immigrant womxn]


to grow up poor, foreign, and docile

to grow up with split tongues, broken dialects, and false smiles

to lose your selves in assimilation rehearsals

to lose your selves in patriarchal circles

to be beat in the name of refinement and discipline

to be beat by a father tainted by an addiction

to stand in line at the grocery outlet with your mom

to stand by when a white man shouts to you both, "go back home"

to be cat-called, grabbed, and followed on the streets

to attract men who open doors for you but who don't care to respect your creed

to be asked to cross your legs and lower your voice inside the building

to be asked when you'll settle down when you may never bear your own children

to be adored by many but to be loved by few

to be ignored by hearts and to be every mind's muse

to be summoned by strangers for their comfort and entertainment

to be accustomed to little spaces in dialogues and conversations

to be everybody's somebody when your somebody is nobody

to be everything for everybody when your anything ain't carried by anybody

to fall in love with lost causes or false hearts that fall in lust

to fall in sudden darkness when your supports can't hold you up

to be a vessel that carries pain and stories of a thousand people

to be cut open time and again and to be filled with compounding grief

to toss in bed at night and to wake to the morning in tears

to fight your demons in hiding and in the streets for your right to be here

to ache as deep as you love and mourn as much as you give

to pray for death to come 'cause freedom ain't in this life that you live.

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