foreign


foreign immigrant stories
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greenleaf
greenleaf queer writer of colour.
Autoplay OFF   •   5 months ago
the many meanings of foreign. a poem.

foreign

foreign is a word that’s hard and soft at once.

it’s a prickle on the tongue like the spices

it’s a prickle on the tongue like the spices you never learned how to withstand.

(you were stuck in a restaurant in xi’an once where bland noodles were something only foreigners ate,

(you were stuck in a restaurant in xi’an once where bland noodles were something only foreigners ate, and you had to choke down a bowl full of fiery seasoning and try not to throw it up on the sidewalk outside.)

foreign is a lisping stumble.

foreign is a lisping stumble. it’s what your mother calls your chinese accent,

foreign is a lisping stumble. it’s what your mother calls your chinese accent, too high and too strained with thick, clumsy tongue,

foreign is a lisping stumble. it’s what your mother calls your chinese accent, too high and too strained with thick, clumsy tongue, flubbing sibilants and intonation until you

have to question whether you can even pronounce

have to question whether you can even pronounce your own name.

(chinese characters are foreign to you. the english words you handle so easily fall to pieces when you try to translate.)

foreign is green with envy,

foreign is green with envy, green like the snake of your asian zodiac that always fit you better than your western one.

foreign is black and white piano keys,

foreign is black and white piano keys, fingers fumbling, too slow,

foreign is black and white piano keys, fingers fumbling, too slow, given up by eighth grade while all your other chinese friends play on.

foreign is a white man asking,

foreign is a white man asking, “how long have you lived in canada? your english is so good!”

(you are a writer, a lover of letters, mispronouncing all the words in your english novels because your parents have never said them aloud.)

(you don’t tell him this, and only say you were born in toronto.)

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