Asian Solidarity

Urbanscape by Jenn Martin

(TW: Small mention of blood and violence from a racially motivated hate crime.)

Discrimination
Silenced my mother’s native tongue
Coated with Biluochun tea
Spoons of ginger root
and shreds of foreign tears

Today, her brows furrowed with worriment,
    The chase of the American dream
Now a dead-in-the-water memory

I search for signs of life
    In their framed faces
Home to mass media
And transient news flash

They feel in their bones,
    a serrated knife pelting flesh
And the weapon of words itself,
    piercing the atoms of stifled air

Ruptures of blood–
    a red-brown pigment to graying asphalt
Bearing unexorcized demons
at full display

Surgical seams–
Symbols of near-death
The locals recognize:

Two children’s dreams
A severed and split reality

Their faces vandalized
    Like deforested trees–
its leaves withering
To nonentities.

Hatred (仇恨)–
Is a learned ghost, inherited
By whoever uses it to haunt a soul
other than their own

A pianissimo
in the overclouds
Until it rains,
heavier
than the light of day

I wish to wrestle the oppressor’s animals
    Trace the roots of his evil
With the wisdom necessary to destroy it

Enduringly, for good.

About the Poem

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Americans have been subject to a dramatic influx of racially motivated hate crimes. Many Asian Americans also report a pronounced increase in the encounters of racism directed specifically towards them. With regards to this poem particularly, the merciless assault of Bawi Cung and his children is addressed. When visiting a retail company in Midland, Texas, Cung and his six-year-old son were brutally assaulted with a knife. This poem is a reflection of my first reaction upon hearing this news. In this piece, I detail my mother’s silence and her fear for the safety of my Asian family members. As someone who is half-Asian, this story (just like many stories on the news) truly wounded me. Recently, Jose Gomez, the assaulter, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. From the moment Gomez’s sentence was announced, I felt the need to write about the story as well as my personal response to this tragedy that occured to these innocent Asian American lives.

About the Author

Jenn Martin is currently a New York based writer entering her senior year of High School. She is an International Baccalaureate student, and studies various classical and contemporary literary works in English literature, with a personal emphasis on global and cultural exploration. As a mixed-race individual (Chinese-Italian) she is consistently involved in raising cultural awareness, and embracing her biracial roots through the art of written word, photography, and performing arts. In her free time, she loves to write poetry, learn the art of decoupage, and share stories of both fiction and truth.

2 thoughts on “Asian Solidarity”

  1. This piece really speaks to me. I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is seen assaults against Asian communities in the last few years since the pandemic began. It’s horrifying.

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