ODE TO DEFEAT
i am thinking about my parents’ heartbreak when they lost 1 house, then 2. i am thinking about my father blaming himself for his own systemic ravaging. i am thinking about my mother getting on her knees & praying for safety as the life they were coerced into collapses all around them under its own burdensome dream. i am thinking about us all as the fingers of a world tender with shame & famine. i am thinking about my parents fighting over interest rates & loans with the gall to demand mathematical truth. i am thinking about education as a commodity on chokehold, bestowing while taking away like tiny paper cups of methadone. i am thinking about my hospital bills & regret ever signing those checks. i am thinking about the world as a body sick with grief & wars/gouges & plunder, what feels like an absurd back & forth in place when we are actually losing. when the skin is breaking where we’ve amassed the most. i think of my father cradling his head like an eggshell when i say survival is too lofty a goal. i think of my father loosening his belt after feasting on church barbecue & wonder why this is not enough/why we play any games just to win/why pleasure can’t be a goal unto itself. i think of us as the fingers of a dying body, touching & feeling, performing the last instinct to hold & flex & let go as the crash cart stops in the hallway.
—from Rattle #54, Winter 2016
Sung Yim: “I am writing a space for people who need connection most. People who aren’t written to or for nearly enough. People who, like me, aren’t seen as the default and have learned from alienation the skill of relating beyond recognition.” (website)