Celeste Chan 2015 Lambda Literary Fellow

Celeste Chan 2015 Lambda Literary Fellow



god it's 2 a.m. and I'm walking to just West Seattle 3 wing trying to get home else my friends have my 19th birthday missed the last bus how did I get here I remember Marcos tracing the perfect Cupid's bow in Group E blue magenta flush and silver shadow terracotta foundations smooth his subtle stubble max douses his body with gold glitter to match the skin type vinyl hands Joey sit on the couch and reads a book while I put the final touches on my eyeliner and pull on my bell bottoms my body burst a galaxy of purple velvet stars we load into Marcos car stopping out capital chill together snacks whoa camp Broadway past ostensibly straight men look at him I do him huge I care put a bag over his head a man in his dorm and pathless on the glittery sidewalk you want to have sex let's have status is this Joey we're not talking to you so finally Marco gathers us up into the car we drive down to the industrial district moving silver factories on each block no one not even a shadow it's visible we could be in a small city in the Midwest the night is so quiet except for the hum of streetlights cars wishing on the freeway the bright flood of street lamps illuminant shadows on steel buildings and inside there's such possibility we park and enter into a room packed with bodies is me a beer team round boys a sea of strangers raving my friends enter the mass of glowing movement while I stand wiping my ground tasting salt and then I'm alone I lost them so I want edging by the scalloped viaduct I see the cranes flashing by swallowing yellow street lamps do you ever see things that are not there a swimmer shrouded and blue lights a mountain the broken glass I run my hands along the rough edges and baptize myself in red I'm not supposed to remember legs like tree trunks throat and belly and feet swollen up unable to walk because of malnutrition I am not supposed to taste the tiny silver stitch we killed during the Japanese occupation nor the smell of soil in that forest in Malaysia I did not grow up in a speeding courtyard of a hundred families I am not supposed to remember yellow flames eating food the smell of sweat and burning the plant bodies packed on bodies packed on bodies on this train to nowhere at home I rub my hands across photographs I can trace a crooked smile here and there a big nose a thick frame and that's how I meet my family they're wearing lavender and shoulder pads and alle science glasses and it is 1999 my parents migrated from Malaysia in migrated of the Bronx so that I would leave this all behind [Applause] forget language and forget and forget and forget and forget to be born so I want to end just thing talking about a career inheritance applause these images are translated from family oral histories you maybe that's to them to quote Toni Morrison about creating in a time of war there is no time to waste no time to be afraid this is precisely the time when artists need to go to work [Applause]

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