For My Cousins Who Will Choose Who They Are


running home this evening
I look for the san gabriels
to find only
a faint line above the haze
a razor-black definition
of home running

and, before I can help it, my mind
rushes in
fills the rest with detail and reference
so that I see
as if in mid-earthquake
a perfect memory of a mountain.

I tell you this, cousins, because you too
will find your landmarks
this way,
you too will find yourself
listening to others
on the bus in school on t.v.
who will tell you, “You can choose
who you will be
you have the responsibility
to see it this way.”


what chose who blood
passages over the dark-rain ocean crossing
the border-blister heat

to arrive
find that address in the suitcase


there is in you
hot blood
cool blood
island blood
lovers blood
tribal blood
white blood
hungry blood
city blood
american blood American blood AMERICAN blood


it is twenty-eight day since Grandpa die
we used to eat chilled plums from buckets
drink coke and play ping-pong
in the backyard

one of his countrymen once said,
is in the Heart

this after years and years away
from the mountain on the island


we will be mis taken
for everything
we will learn to trade the landmarks
for pictures of ourselves
we will be tempted by the temporary ease
of forgetfulness
but, my cousins, after years of pretending
to choose
we will learn: we only know how
to discriminate

you will find yourself
suddenly alone with no easy choices
nothing gets better
once it is gone
or taken
or given
you cannot get it back in one piece
not in one lifetime

so I give you no caution
just a cool eye in the hurricane
just a hot eye in the field
there is something
no one has told you

go to it



from Completely Mixed Up: Mixed Heritage Asian North American Writing and Art (edited by Brandy Lien Worrall-Soriano, Rabbit Fool Press, 2015)


Published by dorianmerina

Dorian Merina :: Jakarta - New York - Manila - Los Angeles

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