The Place We Call Home
What does it mean,
When you look down at yourself
And find your body broken down into parts,
Examined, motives questioned,
Chewed up, torn apart, and left to rot
Since when did my body become yours
To laugh at, to abuse, to shame?
When I live in a world where I fear
That I cannot walk around with him
Without feeling that I am seen as
An exotic object, a little plaything
Serving my purpose to be objectified
Am pushed around, denigrated to a lower position
Because others do not acknowledge my voice
The voice of the “model minority,” they say
A cruel double standard that edges us out
Of true recognition of our modern issues
As an oft-fragmented community we still
Reach out, grasping, searching for our identity.
Twisted and pulled, this way and that
To mold into someone else’s image of us
Seems too jarring, too neat and tidy and too perfect
Maybe you don’t belong in either, but by the by,
In the in betweens, the awkward, weird purgatory
That leaves you at best a pictorial mosaic
Composed of clashing colors, discordant notes,
We all are encompassed in this great body,
Made up of the many: the one who doesn’t
Know how to use chopsticks, or drink tea
The girl who struggles with her foreign accent
The boy with tousled brown hair who doesn’t
Quite know where he fits in, split down the middle
The wrinkled eyes we looked into, as they
Tucked us into bed and told us their stories
Of the exodus, learning our histories
They are all us. We are them.
This is our community.
This is home.
We must defend its right to exist,
Discover the validity that factors into
Our very struggle to be a more cohesive
Unit of one while acknowledging that
Our thousands of dialects and skin colors
Can’t simply be depicted in a tiny box of
Crayola Multicultural crayons.
The only way we can begin to even
Touch the tip of the iceberg of our questions
Means we must reflect inward and stop to just
Marvel and think about the truly
Kaleidoscopic, multifaceted, colorful
Place we call ours—home.
I look for power and conviction at home;
It teaches me to speak loudly.
When the letters simply fly off of the page
Bringing my flat words to fiery life
They empower me and lift me up
Because I would speak until
My small voice became merely a croak
To cry out for those who no longer can.
And when we find ourselves overwhelmed
By the sheer power of limitation,
Rejection and hatred, jaded from the
Misunderstanding and cold-eyed stares,
We remove the tape from our mouths
And we do not stay silent.
We write. We sing. We paint.
We tell our story.
by Dora He