Confessions of a minority student

I have forgotten how it all started.                                                         success

This tightening of my throat grows                                                                 success

and I cannot breathe. Suddenly                                                  success

college dorms and students’ smiles                                                                 success

nauseate me. Here where I used to                                                                 success

imagine a promising life, a new circle                                        success

away from family, honest folks                                                    success

who worked and worked, and never lived.                                                   success

Choices they never made in their sagging skin,                       success

the fine lines around their eyes.                                                   success

Uni: a mere word, carefree                                                            success

for those who can afford it, my dear.                                           success

Who am I to believe in it?                                                                        success

But I must prove that I too                                                          success

am good enough for this game.                                                  success

Don’t be so sensitive, you say.                                                        success

But even racism in its simplest form                                                  success

is brutal, a day-to-day butchering.                                                                success

They tell me make yourself at home here                                 success

though today, just like yesterday and                                                   success

the day before, no one joins me                                                 success

at the dining hall where I sit.                                                                  success

Who cares about what I think                                                   success

as I cube potatoes in silence?                                                      success

It is not alright                                    to be lonely.

Truths 2.0

1.

Incoming: I smell tear gas everywhere.

2.

Imagine there are no countries.

3.

Once upon a time I lived in a place where the metro was never

late. Everything ran like clockwork, and it was so safe you could

walk to Tsui Wah for a bowl of wonton noodles at midnight.

4.

There’s no word in the dictionary for this.

5.

Someone said to me, young people are the same all over the world.

6.

He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell.

7.

Since June, my screen time has increased by a hundred and fifty

percent. I go to the news as soon as I wake up and right before

going to sleep, concerned something might break out again

when I am out in the supermarket or picking up my daughter.

8.

I think of my former boss, a very wise woman. If she were here,

she’d know what to do.

9.

Karen’s advice: stop torturing yourself.

10.

Think of your parents, think of how much you love them.

Smell that fear.

11.

Incoming: let’s not give up goodness. It is in real danger.

12.

A mosaic of dreamers despite the rain.

Despite

the heavy rain.

13.

人在做。天在看。

14.

The world will never forget.

The above poems are taken from 回家 Letters Home (Nine Arches Press, 2020).

You can read Hideko Sueokas interview with Jennifer Wong here

 

Jennifer Wong (jenniferwong.co.uk)

Born and grew up in Hong Kong, Jennifer is the author of three collections, including 回家 Letters Home (Nine Arches Press 2020), which has been named the Wild Card Choice by PBS. She studied English at Oxford and received an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She has a Creative Writing PhD from Oxford Brookes where she teaches part-time. She is also a translator, a reviewer and runs the What We Read Now online monthly poetry series. She is currently a writer-in-residence at Wasafiri. ninearchespress.com

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