Painting by Waking Illustration
For A White Radical Feminist Who Says My Poetry Should Represent All Of Womankind
You would rather have me claim my self as woman
than Asian American woman
because that is more comfortable,
who sees power only in terms of the gender divide.
I cry for you who keeps Filipino women,
as contractual slave labor in your home.
You, who ignores racism as epiphenomenal to sexism,
who has the privilege and the power to see the world
only in your own experience.
And if I still considered myself one of you
I would take pains to show you
a world that is not black and white.
How I am silenced by your oppression.
How I cannot separate being Asian American from being a woman
because that has made all the difference.
But you, too ashamed to admit to yourself what you are -
would rather I mutilate my self
(because those scars are not visible on my body)
than put anything above the struggle
of being a woman.
And, though my body prevents me from joining you,
I still cry “in my hours of awakening.”
As my hair grows more revolutionary,
“my anger moves, a storm in the sunlight,”
and I forgive you.
We embrace hands and stand in solidarity
against “the battles [of] degradation,
“where anger is pure as the love I have for freedom.”
that’s what I call feminism,
as an Asian American woman.
Note: Form and phrases based on Nellie Wong’s poem “For An Asian Woman Who Says My Poetry Gives Her A Stomachache”