Letter to an immigrant worker 18.01.2016

 

Bourgeois writer who is trying to break Free

Somewhere in a privileged bourgeois housing

January 18th 2016

 

Brother immigrant worker from the grocery store

Somewhere in Brooklyn

Near St. Mary’s Episcopal Church

 

Dear brother immigrant worker from the grocery store,

As I marched along with brothers and sisters for Reclaim MLK Rally and March held in Brooklyn NYC, I walked past the shop where you work at. You saw us holding signs with messages like “Ningún Humano Es Illegal” and “End ICE/Police Terror Against Black and Brown People” while screaming “Stop Deportation!” Part of me was questioning myself why am I doing this? Would this really make a difference? Am I one of those egotistical privileged ‘Americans’ who are attempting to prove themselves that they are good people? I am wondering if you thought to yourself, what the heck are these foolish black, brown, white, and asian kids doing here? Don’t they have anything else to do? Don’t they have jobs, here I am working my ass off… Maybe you didn’t think like this at all, you know sometimes I overthink a lot, I try to guess what others are thinking hm I think I developed this because I have sorta inferiority complex so I try to convince myself that I know what others are thinking and that makes me feel good about myself almost like a mind-reading superhero haha don’t mind my foolishness and just to let you know I do mumble a lot sometimes. Brother but that smile of yours did something to me… That moment when you saw us marching and I saw you rushing to call your fellow co-workers and you all walked outside the grocery shop smiling and cheering for us – your smile pierced me like a flaming arrow! It sorta melted my icy-frozen heart and dam it was sure cold outside I think 18  Farenheit or -8  Celsius. My toes and hands were freezing and I curled and tucked my chin under the zipped collar of my coat in order warm myself up. Breathing under the collar helped me to warm myself a little bit but that smile of yours it just melted my heart. Please don’t misinterpret my words. I mean I saw through you, I saw through your loneliness, pain and discrimination you face everyday in this country that doesn’t welcome you and treats you like an object to be manipulated, used and thrown away just like this consumerist society does with all its products sold in the grocery shop you work at. I can somehow sense that this makes you feel like shit like you are something less than a human while you try to survive in this country that claims to live by the words “We the People”. I have witnessed that you are not considered part of “We the People” because you were not born here and you are undocumented – oh the authorities stab you time after time with the sharp as a knife word “ILLEGAL” and the common people follow blindly their actions . Brother I saw through you and witnessed the deep painful cuts in your heart. Oh these are still bleeding so much these cuts so much blood yes I saw them in a flash, in that smile of yours that blossomed with hope like a butterfly breaking out of its prison-like pupa. And you were dying almost dead but you broke free from that hopeless existence in which you almost begun to internalize from these hateful voices in your head: “You worthless piece of shit. Go back to your country.” You actually started to believe that you were less than a human as these voices from this oppressive system want you to believe and act so. These hateful voices they slowly start to crawl upon your being and eat into the deep cuts of your heart. And besides those hateful voices there is that hateful piercing stare by the customers who walk past you without acknowledging your existence as a human being imprisoned in a shitty job in which you try to perform your best I know you do my brother. You take all kinds of shit in order to send money to your family back home or maybe they are here with you in this country. I am starting to feel your pain brother. Ungrateful bastards! “I am the one who carries those back-breaking heavy boxes with fruits, vegetables and goodies and arranges them nicely so you can hoard it into your shopping basket, pay with a swipe of your credit card or cash if you prefer and leave the store satisfied like nothing really had happened.” I’m sorry here I am putting words that I am not really sure if you actually think this way. I’m sorry I have episodes of schizophrenic White Man’s Burden as I write this letter to you. My ego and my college education ingrained savior complex act like a wild monkey in my head sometimes. I am sorry I am putting words into a voice that is supposedly yours. I know I am practicing what many writers of bourgeoisie background do, to impose upon you their observations of you and your struggles. But, but that smile of yours, it did something to me I don’t know… your smile somehow kindled my heart and it tells me to write and write so here I am writing. Today is indeed an auspicious day, I mean it’s Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday yes that was the reason why we marched from St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn past the grocery store you work at. You know I think I am starting to sense that Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t really die! I believe his Love made him immortal! Yes he stills lives in each of one of our hearts burning to be awakened to the magic that is All-encompassing Love! No person, organization or state can kill someone burning with that Divine Love! Actually by killing them they actually help them complete their purpose on Earth, to awaken fellow beings to the beyond powerful power of Love! My dear brother, today I gain courage to say “I Love You” and I am starting to feel your pain, your struggle, your impotence and fear because any day the police or ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) can raid your house and deport you, your friends and family members if they are undocumented and staying in this country. I wish I could help you more my brother but as of now all I can say is a heartfelt “I Love You” and that I am here for you. You know I am still battling my wild monkey like ego and I am still very selfish because I seek personal happiness over the happiness of others. And I do have with lots and lots of flaws, imperfections and I am quite delusional as you can see though this letter. But I do strongly believe that Love is the key! Yes Love is the key! So let’s march together my brother let’s march! Let’s march for a better world in which Love burns and burns through people’s hearts!

 

With Love,

The bourgeois writer who is trying to break Free

 

I, Blind

I, blind

Tell myself

How can the blind lead the blind

Being blinded

Banished from light

Yet able to hear the cries of suffering

How can I blind lead the blind?

I tell myself

Suffering in darkness

Conscious of my blindness

I search for any source of Light

Within that shall light its way

Towards Seeing

Truth as it is

One day I shall see the Light

I tell myself

Either this or next lifetime

One day

I shall see the Light

Or die in darkness trying…

 

你来自哪里 (Where are you from)?

你来自哪里?

 “En Chine...Le gâteau des Rois et... des Empereurs”  This is an illustration from supplement to "Le Petit Journal", 16th January 1898. Wikicommons
“En Chine…Le gâteau des Rois et… des Empereurs” This is an illustration from supplement to “Le Petit Journal”, 16th January 1898. Wikicommons

我是中国华侨

我的中文不是很好

所以我需要用外语

表达自己

I have to use the language of the colonizers

Oppressors

Who have oppressed the Chinese

For centuries

Crafty f***ers

First you send

Missionaries

To cleanse the

‘Inferior’ culture

Get hold of Macau

Then you force

Opium

“Get those ‘squinty eyes’

Addicted”

If they show any signs of discontent

You bomb them to passive happiness

A little opium ‘high’

Cut a piece of Hong Kong

More of you come

Everybody cuts pieces and pieces

Steaks of influence

You eat as you watch

Our fight against Japan

Let the ‘yellow’ skins fight

Themselves to death

“We’ll come in the end”

Finish the fight

And be labeled as

The ‘World Saviours’

We give them loans

(Shh, with some strings attached)

Change the history

And convince everyone in the world

That the Whites

Are the ‘World Saviours’

No, not the Yellows

No, not the Browns

No, not the Blacks

If any of these native Leaders

Arise and threaten Us

We will do everything in our power

To buy them

If we can’t

Make the world

Hate them

“Dammed Communists”

“Dictators”

“Terrorists”

They should

Die, die!

Burn in Hell

Funny thing

Is that

We are all going to

If we continue this road

Of Hatred, Ignorance and Greed…

(Re)telling the tale of the white parrot

Oh little parrot

Why do you cry?

Asked the Bodhisattva

Although (she/he) already knew the answer

.

Dear Bodhisattva

While searching for healing fruits

For my sick mother

I have been poached by

By vicious hunters

Now here I am

Prisoner of this golden cage

Forced to sing poetry

And entertain

Officials and the Tang Emperor

When I sing well

They throw me a bowl of cherries

I used to enjoy it

But now I feel like

Vomiting

All the cherries I’ve eaten

.

I’m sick of this

Please help me Bodhisattva

I want to go home

And see my mother

.

Oh little parrot

Your filial devotion

Touches my Heart

I’ll free you

Go home

But be ready

.

I’m home

But where is everyone?

Why?

Where is my parrot mother?

Where is she?

Oh no, why?

Why am I

So unfortunate

Not fated to meet my mother again

Death seems less painful

Than my present suffering

So much pain

Stabbing me

I wish I was the one dead

Instead of my beloved ma

.

Help me Bodhisattva

Please help me

Compassionate One

Please guide me

Ease me from my terrible suffering

Save my mother’s soul

.

I’m here for you

Little parrot

I’ll assist your parents to Pure Land

Let go of your pain

Worries and worldly desires

And become my disciple

.

Come to the South Sea

And follow me

Cultivate the Dharma

Dwell in the Prajna-Paramita

Sing if you feel like

Little parrot

Listen with your Heart

Can’t you hear peoples’ cries of suffering?

Your work has just begun

Let go of all

Fly, little parrot, fly

Fly and go ease peoples’ sufferings!

.

.

ps. If you would like to read the actual tale just search for “Tale of the Filial Parrot”, it’s an inspiring old Buddhist tale.

Reflections on dying

I am dying

Every word I write

I am dying

Every breath I take

I am dying

I am dying right now dear

.

A ‘natural’ death

Some say

Hair falling

Teeth falling

Skin falling

Others say

Particles coming and going

At infinite speed

Is time real?

If linear time

Is the mind’s construction

Then at this moment

I am dying and dead

I exist and don’t exist

I am form and Emptiness

.

Returning to linear

Time

I have to say

That I am at that critical point

I’m dying

But not dead yet

I’m climbing the mountain

But not there yet

I’m flying home

But haven’t reached yet

Will I die, trying?

Will Yama’s (Lord of Death) messengers

Come get me soon?

I’ll never know

The only thing I am sure is

I am doomed to Death

But I won’t die without a good fight

No I won’t

I’ll fight for my beloved sisters and brothers

Fearless

I’m going to kick and punch

The dirty guts of this System

Rooted in my Mind

Where the Oppressor stands waiting

To meet me face-to-face

I know I’m close

I’m almost there

I know, I know

My Heart tells me so

.

Why this blog?

This blog was created with the goal to share personal life inspirations that have pushed me to seek its outward expression in writing, painting, photography, street dance and other mediums. For many years, I have tried to neglect this inner call to place one’s heart and soul into the Arts such as painting and writing. As a child, I really enjoyed the Arts but as I grew up I thought I had more ‘important’ things to do such as trying to find a career path in order to make a living. I say I have fallen prey to the current capitalist society’s messages to de-value Art and place artists into the category of poverty. It might be true that many artists nowadays find themselves to be materially poor yet not many people know how spiritually enriching Art can be!

Buddhist philosophies have taught me to delve away from the temptations of material wealth, power and fame and aim to fully liberate oneself. Of course, these temptations still linger around and remain around me telling me to pursue them. I am still very embedded in the pleasures of worldly living yet I hope one day I can free myself from it.

Creating this blog is a step in the unknown, I have shifted my life towards the Arts and towards Buddhist goals of liberation. It is a first step so there is much hard work to do and challenges ahead. I ask all the readers to be compassionate on my current limited skills and provide constructive criticism on my works so I can be improving day by day.