In Mission, Texas, My Eyes Opened
Ashley Friedland (Original)
(After Ken Chen’s “At Taipei Station, I Saw This City Undress”)
My grandfather shuffles between the tv and his desk
Like he can’t decide which he’d rather do
I listen to his cane tap out a rhythm on the floor,
Fake hardwood floors
My grandfather says, My how you’ve grown! You’re a young lady now.
Signs left on the street Death will come to everyone
I have some problems taking his picture
I’ve never seen a dead person before
He’s still, like he’s sleeping
Like he’ll wake up and say Gotcha!
His peacefulness rocked me to my core
The home was well lit with fluorescents
So you’re studying Chinese?
That’s very very smart
Please turn your eyes to the screen
After Ken Chen
I used to think that I was white, because everyone around me was, and my mom is pale and my dad drinks beer when he watches football and that’s what all my friend’s dads did, too.
So when the woman at the grocery store told me to “go back home” I stared at her, confused and naive, and I wondered if she was stupid, or if she was dumb or slow because I was on my way home, couldn’t she see the groceries all bagged up and the car keys in my mom’s hand?
Don’t worry about her, said my mom as she hurried out the store. And I remember thinking that maybe my mom wasn’t white, because that day, instead of pale, her cheeks looked pink instead.
Essay on Sleeping in The Morning
(inspired by “Essay on Crying at night” by Ken Chen)
Desk low, sinking on the floor
Dark asphalt lower,
hidden by the bay laurels
Only the bed is high
Up near the ceiling
And the sky
The serious man in my family
Doesn’t understand why I sleep in the morning
He argues that
Regularity is healthy
And laugh at him
Sleep in the morning
Let the flowers bury me
My body will disappear
And my bears
will greet me in the forest of my dream
I don’t hear
I’m in the clouds of cotton
When I wake up
I will be a bird