Tongue – original piece

Phuket, Thailand.

It’s tourist season and we wish we hadn’t come.

White men, old men, white old men, gray hair creeping up

their ass crack,

hand creeping down a local girl’s top.

Golden sand, towering waves,

Machine-generated waves, microwaves,

Toilets that rise from the ground

and don’t carry leaves.

She sits down,

her saggy tits bounce,

marked with sun-kissed melanin like skin disease.

The menu says, “rice with crap in curry sauce.”

She laughs a White laugh, “oh, you mean crab.”

And I think, “if it says crap, why can’t it mean crap goddammit.”

And I realize

I hate that I have to relearn the name of my home, to abandon its tone, its rings and its rolls, to be told how to smooth its syllables just so it sits comfortably on these lazy foreign tongues, to forget the pounding of air the way my ancestors had willed it to sound.

And I mourn

I mourn for the dark rustling leaves overhead when my people still lived in the jungle, for the soft moisture embracing our toes when we would go barefoot for days on the monsoon soil, for that one large cloth we ever needed to twist and wrap around our thighs when buttons and flies were as foreign as a flushing toilet, for the toothless red-stained wrinkle-eyed smiles of a people who never had to buy affection with facial perfection, for every drop of lush sweet honesty sacrificed to be a part of this western proposition of civilization.

And I say

It’s Tai-Land, not thigh land. Land of the free.

And Baang-Gohg, not bang cock. Someone thought they were being clever there.

And no,

Our girls are not a fetish.

Our color not a novelty.

Our blood not a category on your porn site.

No, we’re not just Asian & Tight.

We are daughters of proud warriors.

Sons of ancient thinkers.

Survivors of foreign invasions.

Our mothers’ mothers’ mothers have swung two swords in their hands, ink tattooed in their skin, rode on buffalo backs into the battlefield, killed men, buried men, buried their blades into men. And lived to laugh on.

And our fathers’ fathers’ fathers have invented this ancient language before your Christ was conceived, built palaces out of mud, painted gold on temple walls, and still got home in time for dinner.

In fact, it’s time for you to learn, because

It’s not even Baang-Gohg. Hasn’t been for decades.

It’s Krung Thep,

Krung Thep. City of goddamn fucking angels.