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Say it clearly and you make it beautiful, no matter what.

Bruce Weigl, The Impossible

Impossible is a phenomenal exploration of vulnerability, violation, and the sacred. Simply put, it is a beautiful poem. A beautiful poem about childhood sexual abuse.

The language is crude, stark, and lovely. Bruce Weigl understands sound, structure, line breaks … okay, you get the point. This is not what makes Impossible beautiful.

Beautiful writing depends upon truth. Truth is sacred — worth regarding with perpetual, ceaseless awe. Truth requires more than syntax, style, or voice. A lot more.

Truth and beauty are not equivalent, but they are the same.

This much I know:

It takes courage to rip open your chest cavity and reach in. It takes audacity to tear out your heart. And finally, it takes vulnerable strength to hold it – to hold it in humble spaces.

Pleasurable language and attention to craft are not enough.

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An old woman sits dead-eyed
near an upturned cardboard box,
rosary beads clicking through her fingers.
The cardboard covers the corpse
of an infant. There’s not enough fabric
to shroud the body.

On the streets of Port-au-Prince, lost
children tremble as if aftershocks originate
from their broken bodies. Men dig
through remnants of home
for fathers and daughters and strangers.
The crevices of their hands

crack like fault lines.

Last weekend, I had the privilege of listening to Marilyn Chin read from her latest book, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen. She was on the Border Crossings panel (moderated by Dmae Roberts) along with Polo Catalani and Canyon Sam. This was an amazing collective of writers and artists. It was definitely one of my favorite presentations at Wordstock.

Marilyn Chin said something that really resonated with me.

When asked why she wrote, Marilyn said she viewed writing as a feminist act. She pointed out that very few little brown girls have the opportunity to have their voices heard. Given the platform, she is committed to speaking loudly.

Damn, sister poet is dead on.

So here’s my commitment: I’ve decided to exploit my privilege of understanding race intimately. Because if I keep my mouth shut, the world will not move forward. I am young, multi-ethnic, and ready to use my creative abilities.

This means that I’m not going to shy away from examining the social, cultural, and political ramifications of race. I’m going to own my own discomfort and use my opportunities to speak. I am making the personal political.

Because very few little brown girls have the chance to be heard.

May 21, 1998

I altered one of my works in progress with Wordle and it was recombined into a poignant, textual image.

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