ABC (American Born Chinese)

Sun, 12/30/2018 - 23:05 -- SH2812



I remember when I first learned my ABCs.

A stands for apple

B stands for bird

C stands for cat

But further experience taught me

ABC means





A is for adjectives

Words that describe nouns,

Words that create categories.

Categories that are used to divide and separate.


B is for Bruce Lee

A character people most associate with me


“do you do karate?”

Because when he used karate to chop down stereotypes,

He also built them up like the Great Wall of China.


C is for chopsticks

A utensil that keeps my culture together

But in order to pick something up,

You need to separate the two.


D is for dog

Because every time I see one,

I just can't help desire to eat it.

Because your stereotypes

Hold me down like an anchor to a ship


E is for eyes because

Eyes are the windows to the soul,

but when I was born into this world,

it was just too beautiful for me,

so I squinted my eyes in order to take a better look.


F is for face

When facing the reality

that some people glance and instead of taking in my personality,

they walk away seeming to already know who I am.


G is for gook,

I heard this first when I was 9

The word hit me like a bomb,

like bombs that tore apart Vietnam

Now I ask,

What the heck is this?

What does this mean?

You don’t have the right to insult me, my family, and my people!


H is for Harry Potter

Cause it was the talk of the town a few years ago,

So my friends and I took a test to see what house we were in.

I was Ravenclaw.

Just like Cho-Chang.

Coincidence? I think not!


I is for ignorance,

As it is is defined by the lack of information,

but it’s okay,

my goal is turn that ignorance into integrity.


J is Jeremy Lin,

And Yo-Yo Ma, Michelle Kwan, and Maya Lin

Because these people widen my path

and just because I  look “different”,

doesn't mean certain traits have to stick to me like rice.


K is for Kung fu

Because  apparently,

some people cannot tell the difference between things

that come from China,

and things that come from Japan.


L is for language

Because people ask me, “ Do you speak English?

And in case you haven’t noticed,

I do.

In fact when it comes to language,

I speak two.

How ‘bout you?


M is for Mandarin

My grandparents only speak Chinese,

in order to communicate with them, to connect with them

I must to learn this language.


N is for nationality

It is something no one chooses.

So every time you mistake me

It takes away my individuality.


O is for opposite

Because when I was young, I was told that

Opposites attract.

But I have no one to attract to, I’m always in the middle,

As if I were a shadow that always behind a person,

Something no one notices until you


Then stare


P is for piano,

an instrument I play,

but I wonder why it was created to be white and black,

When so many Asians play it...

Shouldn't it be yellow and black?


Q is for questions

like "Where are you from?" or "Where were you born?"

As if I had a sticker on my back that said “Made in China.”


R is for race,

Because you can only see race

So, if you're blind, you can’t see race right?



S is for sidelines,

As we are always on the sidelines,

never noticed

until we raise our fisted hands only to be invisible yet again.


T is for typical

As  in “Typical Asian.” I hear someone say.

So every action I make goes with or against my  “way”.


U is for understanding

Because I want people to understand

More than just the color of my skin,

But instead

That you should look within.    


V is for violence

As violence is not the answer

But how can I do that when

Concepts are like fire,

Burning around me.

Phrases are like stones thrown at my face,

And words are like daggers slashed towards my heart,


W is for warm

For the warm love from parents and friends

But then something balances out with my pride.

A heavy stone is taped on my back.


X is for xenophobia

Because some people put tags on me

“Where are you from?”




But they never say America.


Y is for you

Because only you can make a difference

while you have to think outside of the box

Because when I try,

I don’t have the right materials

In order to get out.


Z is for zealous

Because zealous is what I’ll be,

When this will go down in history,

Just like the old faithful yin and yang

Bringing peace and prosperity



To me,

A stands for apple

B stands for bird    

And C stands for cat

So next time you see someone like me,

All you have to do is look back at your





This poem is about: 
My country
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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