I AM HERE “Dissecting Disorienting” by Eryn Kimura
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Artistic Statement 2 My Diaspora in Three Parts 3 Dissecting Disorienting 4 I Am From... 5 Delhi Monsoon 7 Boba Fight 8 Waiting for Home 9 The Third Child 10 Merging 11 Brush Fire 12 On Surrendering 13 Inspired 14 Untitled (Ka-Man Tse) 15 Hawaiâ€™i Person Fail 16 Make Me Famous 17 Desert 18 Clamming 19 Sunless Sunday 20 Bonging Along 21 Untitled (Fiona Lau) 22 Thank Yous 23 Artist bios and more available at oacc.cc
Dear Reader, Asian Pacific Islanders are not always seen as a community of artists, or even as a community of creative minds. Society skews the reality of who we are through its images of a submissive and voiceless people. These images do not represent us. We are a community of musicians, of writers, of painters, and more. The art we create gives us agency in representing ourselves, and it allows us to create space for our presence to be felt and acknowledged in a cultural platform. The theme of this zine is “I Am Here,” which builds upon the 2014 Smithsonian APA Center’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month theme of “I Am Beyond.” In this zine, you will find words and images that bring to life the diversity and vibrancy of our communities. These pieces of art reflect the cultural growth we nourish in giving definition to our own identities. Let yourself go, be inspired, be energized, and be refreshed as these pages paint our world for you through an API lens. Sincerely, Oakland Asian Cultural Center Tamiko Wong Carmen Chan Gerald Reese Pam Mei Graybeal Steven Cong
MY DIASPORA IN THREE PARTS BY DARIA GARINA
Flight. To be one people who left one place one time one generation. Not two peoples, running three generations and never arriving to be anybody at once. Learning English Holding my breath under water. My lips part, to speak against the American pressure. Gasping water, what consumes me threatens to drown me as well. So sensational. why did your family decide to come to the US? the mafia attempted to kill us. we went underground for 6 months then fled the country. this tired cold war intrigue donâ€™t wear off easier than the shock value of my diaspora go find your own peoples then laugh and cry at your own struggles
DISSECTING DISORIENTING BY ERYN KIMURA
I AM FROM... BY CHAA
by Supatra Chowchuvech I am from my father, whose parents braved the roaring waves of the South China Sea, fleeing for freedom and safety, my beloved father. I am from my mother, whose tales of her 100-member family fueled my fascination and whose passion for modernity and womenâ€™s power fueled my questioning. I am from tenderness laced with humiliation, caring laced with injustice, love laced with betrayal... who I am from hope and change, laced in surrender. I am from a land called the border, cultural border. I am from God, and from my own karma. by Sean Kirkpatrick I am from stands of corn head high and fields of beans, from the smell of hog lots on the drive to the nearest town. I am from apples rotting where they fell, squishing under foot in my grandmotherâ€™s orchard. I am from each and every hour I have spent reading, thinking and writing. I am from the wet leaves on sidewalks next to a lake on schoolboy mornings. I am from road trips and moonlit journeys on overnight boats and trains. I am from memories and poems and songs, from photographs that reach my soul somehow. I am from a 13,777 million year old mystery that is being and time.
I AM FROM... (CONTINUED)
by Amy Lam I am from seven generations of mixed-up artist lovers and spirit callers in the wind. I am from women, generations of women, suffering, suffered, suffered. I am from anywhere and everywhere that people deny my entrance. I am from nowhere, like water blending with the wind. I am from is a question I ask myself all the time. I am from wanting to find categories and borders that help me belong to someone, somewhere, somehow. I am from...What if I never know where I am from? Would it be ok if I die without knowing? For now, I am from New York. by Ann Rojas-Cheatham I am from a never ending anger that knows no bounds. I am from Vikings, cold, snow, saunas, dress makers, house cleaners and cooks. I am from a passion for justice for people and a healthy planet. I am from a will to transform, thrive, and grow in order to fully be alive and contribute all that is possible. I am from canoes, paddles and singing quietly as the fog skims along the surface of cold northern waters. I am from hearty, sturdy hand stock that could use some softening and love. I am from a deep longing for peace, equality, ease and justice for myself, all people, and all nature. I am from a fear of extinction, destruction and the unknown as well as awe for the mystery of life and a great desire to plunge in. by Fatai Tokolahi I am from a collective brain of generation gaps I took from, I contributed to, I learned, I adapted, I struggled, I committed, but still on the bridge. I am from the leaves that are blown by winds of change, stuck, change directions, explore new meanings, enter multi-world, and still hungry and starve for purpose among our race. I am from who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go. I am from the past and growing for the future.
DELHI MONSOON BY DEEPTI SRIVASTAVA
BOBA FIGHT BY ANGELA PANG
WAITING FOR HOME BY LAUREN LOLA
Make my point of view Your peripheral vision Look to see that I’m just the same as you Ignorance has always been absent I’m not as dumb as you think I am I can’t depend on answers Because my questions are unattainable I seek solace in self-education I find luxury in figuring it all out It’s what keeps my fire burning I can’t help but feel what I feel As the world passes me by And I remain alone and a prisoner I’ve learned to look out to the horizon And accept for it to always be there Acceptance is key As I learned to be alright No matter the thoughts, secret talks, and answers retained For we always go to our definition of “home” In the end
THE THIRD CHILD BY KA YAN CHEUNG
BY SUSAN ALMAZOL
BY SABRINA GHAUS
12 California poppies growing orange Setting dusky hills ablaze â€“ You, your bright, licking flames of petals Burning the ground that gave you life! Far back when my roots were holding me still I watered them, thinking that rivers held life â€“ in them, my salvation, Water, rushing grief, makes women stronger. But whoever said fire cannot quench its own thirst? The poppies are burning their roots and their hearts have coal-black centers and blinding peripheries My seeds can burn a forest, turn a mountain to ashes. To dust. Without roots, One may transplant. And I grow my own ground(ing), poppy like a phoenix, fiercest beautiful feminine thing.
ON SURRENDERING BY REETU MODY
Set my hands on fire. In a yoga studio on Massachusetts Avenue with no natural light doing movements created by my ancestors taught to me by foreigners in a world where I am the perpetual foreigner. Every time I breathe in deeply, I feel tears stinging my eyes from all the moments I forgot to breathe. In the moments where I am upside down, letting salt strip my skin of lies, I am real: a dreamer, an idealist, a romantic, full of strength, seeking freedom, heart pounding with every adventurous step. I lay on the floor my body arching into the submission I wonâ€™t let myself have in bed. Here I leave everything behind to confront the only whole experience, struggle against surrender. I spread my fingers wide, yet they resist putting pressure on the floor. I am struggling from the outside, it seems as if I must be pushing my fingers into the ground, and yet, they refuse, they refuse to push the ground for all itâ€™s worth, to find support, to find balance.
INSPIRED BY CYNTHIA TOM
UNTITLED BY KA-MAN TSE
HAWAI’I PERSON FAIL BY CHRISTY CHUNG
“You can’t be telling people you’re from Hawaii. You’re from California now,” her brother insisted. As one of 38 million Californians, though, she felt unremarkable. And anyway, she didn’t feel like she truly belonged, even though she had been on the mainland longer. But did she really still have the heart of a Maui girl? Earlier that year, she had talked to her mom on the phone: “Hey Jen, what are you doing today?” “Going to Malia’s baby’s first birthday party.” “What kind of gift did you get?” “The Evite said no gifts.” “Are you bringing food?” “No, Malia’s got it covered. She’s getting pizza.” “I still think you should bring something.” A few hours later, she walked over to the picnic area in Palo Alto with her hands in her pockets. LeeAnn arrived not long after, pulled her to the side, and whispered, “Did you bring something? Grace brought butter mochi.” Her heart sank. Hearing that LeeAnn hadn’t brought anything either, she felt a surge of relief. But still, this was troubling. What would she do next, she wondered? Call people from Hawaii “Hawaiians?” Not repay a favor? Or—horrors!—turn up her nose at Spam?
MAKE ME FAMOUS BY MELBA ABELA
I am here somebody who might be outward bound to some American Idol fame not The Biggest Loser but the Survivor of Amazing Race or that Undercover Boss Dancing With the Stars. So there.
DESERT BY JOAN CHEN
CLAMMING BY CAYLEE SO
Ma used to say there’s nothing like eating food you work hard to get:
Bare, I leapt Its shallow waters swallowed me whole Our bucket empty We went to work Our feet wiggled, gnawing Digging into the soft mushy dirt Seeking, searching, feeling And when our pearls were found We sunk down to meet the earth Grabbed hold of it with both our hands Like a shovel we scooped Then floated back up to meet the light A smile raced across our faces As we allowed all the green and its companions to be freed Except maybe two, three, four…small clams The ones we dropped into Our not so empty anymore buckets Yes--There’s nothing like eating food you’ve worked hard to get Ma used to say As she threw our clams into a searing pan And under that dawning sky We ate A whole world frozen in that one memory A Lost ART.
SUNLESS SUNDAY BY TERESITA BAUTISTA
from crying tree to crying stump the flood came today the earthquake yesterday streaming so fast the sobs no longer silent sitting on a stump tall redwood tree older than me the floodgates ripped apart in a shatter crying was more often back in the day now call it emotional the pain i pay streaming treasures made way by trash strewn to the winds past, present, future in this moment tidbit chit chats truthtelling past, present, future in every bit of belongings matriarch desires lineage of deceit, denial, dysfunction energy trapped in personal keepsakes lest memories blur lightning flashes of hurt dust buried in cracks of rose petals blood drips from the pink coffins into a pool
BONGING ALONG BY JOE KINGSTON
I love a girl named Trixie Fong and all she ever wants to do is smoke her bong she’s my favorite stoner but every time I phone her she tells me that she’s busy then she says “so long” but I know what’s up I know what’s going on she only wants to be alone with her bong she don’t really love me she’s never thinking of me all she does is smoke and you know that’s wrong she’s just bonging along just like Cheech and Chong smokin’ and a tokin’ bonging all day long she’s just bonging along from dusk till dawn that’s why I wrote this song about Trixie Fong why don’t you realize you smoke too much weed just open your red eyes and try to see that my love is all you need, Trixie please My darlin’ why you smoke so much weed we used to be so happy Together until you started bonging and I know baby I know deep in my heart that if you’re forced to choose between my love and your bong you’ll choose the bong so Trixie I’ve come to realize that if I want to keep you in my life well then there’s just one thing left for me to do I’m gonna start smoking too so now we’re bonging along just like Cheech and Chong I could’ve been smoking out with her all along but now we’re really happy and I’m way less snappy since I started bonging with Trixie Fong we’re bonging along from dusk till dawn we’re doing so much better now we’re smoking out together I’m bonging with my honey though it’s draining all my money I’m bonging along with Trixie Fong
MOVEMENT IN CHAOS BY FIONA LAU
OACC would like to thank our sponsors for their generous contributions and promotional assistance. TaiwaneseAmerican.org Asian American Women Artists Association (AAWAA) In addition, we would like to thank our partners for their support in outreaching and sharing this zine. Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) Hyphen Magazine
A big thank you goes out to our judges for their support and input. Pam Ybanez Leonard Chan OACC would also like to thank you, the reader, for appreciating the works of these brilliant artists and supporting Asian Pacific Islander (API) artists in continuing to shape our API cultural landscape with their creations. To learn more about OACC and the work that we do, please visit oacc.cc.