all of them with their tongues out, none of them with their hands up.
I drown as if it is possible for air to not be- long to me.
Someone is trying to tell us
if we thin ourselves down to rice water
and pour ourselves into tea cups for white men, nothing will be- long to us.
But I forget that this is true,
forget the way white men trap my inay,
draw a line on the ground with lipstick that is not long-wearing, not even matte.
I am shaken from trees by my allegiance to white men. I drop – buko shards, splatter.
The men step on what spills out and ask if I came.
What This Country Does for Me
after Morgan Parker
What this country does for me is pack me tight like a spring roll, pinch my edges like a dumpling, say I taste good.
This country wants to know if I speak Korean, sing karaoke, do I meditate?
Wants to know how I make English so pretty with my unwelcome tongue, says my skin so nice for a Filipina, the bridge of my nose a slim white bone.
This country thinks I’m white when it’s convenient, when I can be added to a collection without a name, when I’m an easy sun to have, with no extra feelings.
I have no extra feelings. I take laxatives to make sure I keep nothing. I am not extra. I have done all I can to be this small. I dove headfirst into a sack of fish guts, ate my own heart, because a white person asked me to call out racism more respectfully.
I am sorry my voice is not a deep bow. I am sorry I tell you what you look like because you do not know. I am not staying busy enough. I stopped making you comfortable.
I look like a moon-faced woman Matt Damon might fuck the next time he saves [ China ] I look like a slant-eyed white peach samurai’s wife Tom Cruise might fuck the next time he saves [ Japan ]
I look like my mother who built wings for white men from her eyelashes, gave her kingdom to tourists, bound me to the poems I would have to write about [ white men ] who wanted my mother to work like an assembly line doll, to bring home money and fresh-smelling pits. All they brought home was herpes.
White women keep asking why I make everything so personal.
When I can’t sleep, next to my partner who is Tr*mp county white, Gallon Challenge white, My mom can’t say Black Lives Matter because of her job white, I wonder if I know who I am.
If there is a woman in my family unclipped by whiteness, she is long dead. Not one tooth remains.
Anis Gisele is a poet, a survivor, a riot, and a believer of anger and disobedience as an Azn femme. They’ve earned fellowships and awards from VONA/Voices, Everyday Feminism, King County’s Equity and Social Justice Initiative, 4Culture, Artist Trust, Hugo House, Jack Straw Cultural Center, and other institutions, both marvelous and complicated. They come from Manila, Philippines and from so many womxn who were told to be quiet. They attempt the Instagrams @kingartista_anisgisele.
Isabel Couchoud is a Spanish illustrator in her 20s, in strict quarantine at the moment trying to do the best of it, drawing, reading, video calls, bothering the cat…normal quarantine stuff. Recently, Isabel has worked with some cultural associations like Ca Saforaui and Skisomic Fest, and magazines like Nokton Magazine and Salty. Find her on Instagram.