When I cook for you

Here, I say, is my story

On a plate or in a bowl

Soups of fire, budding mountains

Red rings of oily kisses

Stir fries of grey mornings

Under a concrete highway

The wok song, the flame dance

My eyes follow the brown hand

Splash, flick, flip, swirl

A hit of garlic in my nose

A puddle in my mouth

Of my brand-new leather school shoes

A fist in my belly

A golden sweat rolling

Down my spine

Of the car exhaust in the air

Sweet and smoky

Of the heat yellow and thick

Collecting on my skin

Of my mother’s cleaver

Rapping

On the bird’s eye chillies

The green-grass crunch

A splash of coolness

Here, I am telling you

Of breakfasts gone by

My father

Cutting, scooping, arranging

His plate, his methodology

Of my heartache

How it squeezes

And I can’t breathe

Of a hollowness

Deep clanking in my chest

Of moments I wish

I’d grasped tighter

Of hands

Nut-brown, green veins, gold rings

I long to hold

Again

Here, I say, eat

Nice to meet you

Yellow: a pondering

The sun comes down

gooey and thick

yellow

like honey.

They call me yellow too

but my skin is no honey

see-through when it runs

down the side of my mouth

no sun when he crowns

the sky, shining a toothy grin.

Maybe if I close my eyes

and my lids burn into rust

tomato orange, like logs on fire

maybe then, I am of the sun,

skin smoking, my flesh

fading under their eyes.

They look at me like the sun

too, half squinting, half

glaring, avoiding, unsure

of my alienness

my true power.

Some of us are more

of milk, freshly poured

of dry earth, thirsting for rain

of tree bark, each line

crackles a story

of tea in porcelain cups

of mud, bursting with life,

love, history

but never really, truly

yellow.

Sisters

I love that our bodies

work in harmony with the moon.

Maybe she feels our loneliness too.

Her tides tug and pull

our blood.

The earth is rich with our blood.

.

We have been dreamers, thinkers,

mothers, friends.

Explorers, believers, anarchists.

We have fought wars,

and started them.

Some of us have held life

in our bellies.

Our wombs have been pawns

in their political game.

Our hair, ankles, knees,

their distractions.

We have feasted on the cries

of men, their cruel words

our fuel.

.

And it’s true,

some of us are beaten

and broken,

some have died for being born

a woman,

but I’d rather our story

be one of survival,

a story against all odds,

one of phoenixes

shaking ashes from their wings,

of three billion sticks strong

held together by a single struggle,

of compassion that throbs

in our veins,

of healing and knowing that we

are all sisters of the moon.

.

I’d rather that

than a story of monsters.

Dark day

Some days

are one of those days.

Dark grey.

You are alone.

Every face on the street

a potential threat

an enemy.

Reality swoops in a spiral

down

down.

Hope is but a distant dream.

These days

I beg you

to breathe

whether it’s rain

damp earth, green grass

dry leaves and crisp air

or rich flowers and golden hair

breathe all in.

I beg you

to ignore the news

the headlines blaring

glaring – close your eyes

turn your music up high

ask for a hug

or give one

give ten

give smiles

buy flowers

drink water

pause.

Continue to love

love blindly

love wildly

love ’til you radiate love

love ’til you are love

and suddenly

it’s not really

one of those days

anymore.

 

they say being in love is climbing a tree

they say being in love is climbing a tree:

you crawl and climb

feel the rush in your veins

drink the air

the earth’s breath in your hair

you forget to inhale

exhale

your eyes water at the sun’s gold

your fingertips grip raw

& callused from holding tight

but you keep on

ascending

forgetting

to wonder

how you’ll get down.

A Thai Abroad

It’s a tough time being a Thai abroad.

Your grief is indescribable to your friends.

Your loneliness like an empty street on a dark night where all the shops are bright and even the concrete shines with dew.

 

But how do you explain a love so old you don’t recall a day alive without it?

There wasn’t one single moment that you were convinced, won over.

It’s just there.

It’s oxygen in your veins.

It’s the rain you were born with.

It’s the song of your childhood.

It’s the orange-gold sun washing over your street, your home.

It’s in every grain of rice, every book you read, every movie you saw – you would stand, teary-eyed, as your chest squeezed with that love.

It’s that sweetness on your tongue when you call his name: Nai Luang – like sugarcane.

 

Not many others have been sons and daughters of this love.

It’s a tough time being a Thai abroad.

But I’m grateful that I can always follow this pain home.

To be happy

O the trial of being happy

It sucks my bones dry

My spine creaks at its weight

My fingers ache from gripping

Holding on

This guise I wear

O the trouble of being happy

There’s no room to breathe

This fight with gravity

Below me

The whirl of sadness is comforting

A hurricane of blue

Open arms inviting me in

Rest now, child

Your fight is over

Losing has its pleasure

Close your eyes, child

Let your tears fall

Let your skin open

Let yourself fall