September 24, 2015

What Does Your Name Mean??

For Wo Chan

it means you can't change it
just because you can't pronounce it.
it means just because you can't spell it,
that you can't throw in extra letters
or take others away.

it means you can't shorten it
because you think it's too long
or that you can "americanize" it.
it means when you accidentally
and repeatedly fuck it up,
you’re actually doing it on purpose.

it means when some people read it
or hear it’s soft vowels and rolling r’s,
that they will instantly hate me.
it means people will assume
that i speak Spanish.

it means people think they have the right
to interrogate me about
where i'm from,
where i'm REALLY from,
when my family came here.

it means people think i'm holding
or that i know where they can get some.
it means if i have the day off from work,
people think i'm unemployed.

it means when i use my credit card,
i have to show a “valid” ID.
it means when i do show my ID,
store managers look closely at it
to see if it's real.

it means when a friend says it,
tension leaves my body.
it means I am safe
and that good things
are about to happen.
when a loved one says it
it assures I’ll respond with my heart.

it means when i see it published
all the pushing back against
the bullshit that surrounded it
was worth it.

it means when people with similar names
see it in an anthology next to other
beautiful harmonious names,
that they can smile knowing,
but not fully knowing, the journey
it took to get them on the page.

it means we can love own names
and forgive ourselves
for all the times
we hated them.