Migration: To Strange Lands with Big Dreams
November 9, 2012 by Shammy
Vietnamese. I am Vietnamese.
no. American. I am American.
I speak American.
Bi-lingual by birth,
my parents spoke Bangla in the house,
English in school.
You’re so lucky people would tell me, you’re so smart,
you know so many languages.
They knew only English.
writing? Fuggedabout it!
We settled in Brooklyn,
in an apartment above an adult video store.
I would pass it on my way to school,
my friends would see it when they walked me back.
They lived in houses that were theirs,
had rooms of their own, with beds, fitted with sheets and excess pillows to throw around merrily at each other,
not caring if they tore to tiny little pieces
scattered around the floor.
that’s where I slept with my sister, with my parents,
We had a bed but it was in the other room,
the one without heat where my brother stayed alone because his head was hotter than ours and his skin much thicker.
Too many sounds.
Too many tones.
and the whole
you miss your horse?
no. I haven’t got one.
Yes I have seen them in pictures being ridden by white people as a pastime.
I spent my pastimes in the kitchen helping my mother
On the floor scrubbing the tile,
and in my books studying.
Studying harder than my friends did because I needed to.
A scholarship, for a college education or else…
How can I expect to become anything in this land filled with strangers?
you miss your rice paddy?
I don’t have one. why would I need one? I’m seven.
isn’t that where they all think we come from?
Us Asians, we are the garment factory workers, the farmers, the poor, impoverished third world coming here for a better life. Isn’t it true what they say?
Our dreams must be different than theirs,
Are we not all the same underneath this tanned skin?
You miss your ghost?
no, I do not miss my ghost.
that doesn’t even make sense. how does that even make sense?
Yes, when I was young they said so many things
The other kids,
They would taunt me because I didn’t look like them
Because they overheard something from their parents
From their role-models
But how would they know what it meant? They are just kids
Just like we were,
We weren’t, we weren’t allowed the same liberty
you miss your mom!
no, I don’t miss her.
that’s what I was saying.
that’s what I
But it doesn’t matter, don’t you see?
No matter what we say we will never sound like them and to the small minds, we will never be the same.
Isn’t that the sad truth?
It’s what I’ve come so far to learn
The sadness of truth is inevitable, but hope is what we came here for,
Hope is what keeps us alive
For one more day
Isn’t that it?
– Shammy and Lucinda 11/7/12