WORLD POETRY DAY celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity.
Practiced throughout history – in every culture and on every continent – poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values, transforming the simplest of poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.
Yesterday, I received two poems, from two friends who struggled to find the words.
I share their poems today, in observance of WORLD POETRY DAY.
Pools of Red
Gunshots pierced the air,
then landed in bodies
of mostly Asian women
working at the spa.
One by one, the women
Crumpled to the floor,
which colored crimson.
Moist fresh blood.
Pools of red.
No more plasma.
No more lifeblood.
To take a breath.
Killer shot them because
of his alleged sex addiction.
They were Asian women.
Targets in my homeland.
Open season it appears,
to spit at, to harass, to tackle,
I am Asian (american) woman.
FLO OY WONG
March 20, 2021
They’d Done Them Wrong
Six sisters linked not by birth, but death.
they were reared under the wrong signs
wrong place or time. Maybe that
the parents were at fault.
Of a skin color of the wrong choice.
Born with it. Some men didn’t care
why would they? Money
gave pleasure to their flesh.
No one wants to be down low
And miserable. I use to think
only women understand pain
like they each other could feel.
I shed a tear, and die inside.
Who dealt them the wrong deck of cards?
Money, skin, sin, and all those righteous themes.
All the wrong reasons for a killing spree.
March 20, 2021
On the occasion of World Poetry Day 2021, Director-General AUDREY AZOULAY of UNESCO writes, “Poetry lies at the heart of who we are as women and men, living together today, drawing on the heritage of past generations, custodians of the world for our children and grandchildren.”
Deepest gratitude to Flo Oy Wong and Victor Yan for sharing their poetry and friendship.
Stop AAPI Hate
Our communities stand united against racism. Hate against Asian American Pacific Islander communities has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Together, we can stop it.
In response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University launched the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center on March 19, 2020. The center tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
Encourage those who experience or witness acts of hate towards the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to report an incident at our website. The reporting form is available in 11 languages. Reporting incidents helps us understand what is happening and guides us in developing policies to advocate for.