one click and i'm less swarthy, two clicks and i'm more beautiful.
three strokes and i'm less blemished, four swipes, then i'm acceptable. 

blend the scars upon my chest, that scatter long across my breast.
scars on which my babies rest, during storytime's caress. 

that wait on shame to acquiesce, like constellations on my flesh.
that hate explaining their prevalence and being gazed upon for lengths.

one click and i'm more worthy, two clicks then i'm more lovable.
three strokes so they'll adore me, cuz ethnic skin is just too vocal.

paint over me like quiet lots meant to be covered and concealed.
chained at the feet by blue-eyed gods, who hunger for a mass appeal. 

cameraman says he's an artist and the kings help him believe it.
he claims the power to make gold of garbage and photoshop helps him achieve it. 

he reads the manual to pass time, objectification comes second nature.
he believes in pretty lies, his favorite being that he does favors.

the camera his gun in the mission, of cultural imperialism; he shoots me, till i'm only image.
not a body for recognition, just a pixel times a million; the muse of patriarchal business. 

the mouse which portions me in divisions, with authoritarian incisions.
the keys reinforce my conditioning, presuming hold of my permission. 

one click and i'm less ugly, two clicks and i am partial.
three strokes and it's like surgery, four swipes and i am parceled. 

mouth, eyes,
nose, thighs. 

chest, sides,
the curved and crooked nooks of my scoliosis spine. 

not whole, not human, not womxn, not i.
abnormal, subhuman, unimportant, not white. 

when he slices me, they say, "be flattered."
my silence in their play matters.
when he lightens me, they say, "be flattered."
my silence, it maintains their patterns.

they'll smile to my face and say that they don't see color,
meaning that they don't see me, they don't see a womxn of color

who in today's racialized social and economic structure
is paid just 67 cents to the white man's earned dollar.

they disguise as allies
say they want to rally by my side

say that they back me in amplifying
the voices of the marginalized. 

while whitening photos of my profile
to tote their brown poster child

invite me in for their trials
to keep my people's cries stifled. 

one click, control z, two clicks then hold delete. 
three strokes and i redeem, undo till i am free. 

mouth and eyes, italicized.
nose and thighs, now underlined. 

chest and sides, without skin brightening.
and the line of my spine takes pride in its misalignment. 

not your token, not your muse, not your canvas nor design.
hosting hope in my womb, revolution is divine. 

when he slices me, they say "be flattered."
my silence in their play matters. 

when he lightens me, they say "be flattered."
but i leave the scars on me scattered. 

scars on which my babies rest, during storytime's caress.
unapologetic, you see, i be my brown flesh.


thy nguyen