What Kind Of Asian Are You? Poem by Alex Dang

What Kind Of Asian Are You?

So he said to me: 'What kind of Asian are you? '
And I said back: Well that's a loaded question, what do you expect me to be?
Because any way slice that egg-roll I'm still pretty much what you want to see
I've played many a far east stereotype
Awkward math genius
Cold and calculated Kung-Fu expert
Assistant to 'Dr Jones, you crazy! '
You want me to drive, how so?
I can give you Tokyo drift, Jeremy Lin, Mario Kart, Tiger woods and...
Blinker left on for almost half a mile
I am the foremost expert on all things Asian
The Meiji Era and the ban of the Samurai? Done.
Confucianism versus Daoism? I'll give it to you with no slant.
What's the difference between Asian cereal type one and two?
Well, let me tell you,
let me tell you everything you want to know about my culture
let me tell you in a Mulan-esque soliloquy staring at the mirror asking:
'Who is that girl that I see! '
Let me tell you about Jackie Chan and about Bruce Lee,
and about how they're related-by blood- to me
Let me tell you about being so marginalized, it's to the point of 'I really can't believe that's Asian! '
Let me tell you about derogatory terms and origins of words such as: chink and gook
let me tell you about the struggle of Asian parents not knowing the language,
so we,
Ate pet food because it was cheaper
Let me tell you about the job of interpreter
When you're still playing with Lego blocks but you're English is already that much better than your parents
Let me tell you about honor and dignity
Let me tell you about a society that projects us as nothing but the secondary role and never the leading man
Let me tell you all the things you don't want to know
like how chink,
comes from the clinking of metal to railroad as the slaves built train-tracks for this country to be connected
Like how the 'zipper head' down the street is called that because the way out heads split open-
when struck with assault weapons
or how,
Jeeps, ran over and left marks across corpses
and how someone clever thought that we were only good to unzip
Or like how,
Every time you lump an Asian person into one culture
it systematically making us assimilate
into an america we thought was better than our war torn home
and every time you confuse me
with some other nationality that I might share similar features to
Is stripping away my individuality
and I still
feel the shame of being Asian
the heat and pious dedication of June 11,1963
the envy of blond hair and blue eyes
and I still
remember thinking where all the boys who look like me, on TV, were
the broken words from my mother and father
stage diving off of my tongue
the anger i felt when those kids thought I would get them sick
and I still
feel the ash of the incense burn my hand when i pray;
for my family
and I still
remember thinking my skin was what i was worth
and I still
Feel the iron work of my bones grow stronger with every train of thought
that passes by
and I still
feel pride
and I still
feel heritage
and I still
feel chinese
and I still
Feel Vietnamese
and I still
Feel American
and I still

Sunday, September 3, 2017
Topic(s) of this poem: hearing,identify
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