Jasmine_K

United States

she/her. 16, i write poetry
est. sometime in 2017
currently waiting for wtw's 3rd golden age

Message to Readers

I wrote this piece about the Chinese Civil War. My grandpa had it the worse, out of my grandparents, but I wanted to write this from my grandma's (ama's) perspective since she's a woman and hence, easier for me to create imagery about. The memories referenced are my grandpa's, so its a bit of a mosaic account. Feedback is much appreciated.

retrograde / excuses for war

April 21, 2020

chapped lips and it is night, and already
i have hit the gas-station ground with bruised knees. call
it a replay
trick of the universe, planet gone missing, Ama stumbles somewhere
and fades into ghost in rice-paddy

how quickly mercury can ruin things. except the murmur
of fervent dialect and tongues 
pierced through corners of mouths, prayer to mother, buddha / shàng dì / an
unknown god / they said demonic / us or our rituals?
conseiller mystérieux qui accompagne partout le pretendant / do we worship
/ pregnant with sobs
to heaven or to earth and which / can save us?
no room in mouths of rice for jesus, though still half-full

in this low- / lantern / -light, you can be forgiven for mistaking
duck yolk on upper lip as blood, or bodies thrown off train as
beautiful. Ama is curled
into the warm embrace of dead people and lanterns
holding hands with a Kuomintang fighter plane

or a Kuomintang himself, who really knows the difference

i want to go home and it seems childish under fallen
bodies and incense. we worship ancestors like they can save us /
because they can? / prayer / to nobody in particular / to
wipe us clean. there are no sins in the act of war

except for surviving,
watching burning temples and burning cropland and valuing
one over the other-
the first man to open the door is always
white devil, lǎo wài / and textbooks washed clean with rice-wine

dust air

tropical air / plane lands and i am awake again
lying flat on gas-station ground, blinking the porridge out of
my system like it is a crime / to be full / retrograde.
1. conseiller mystérieux qui accompagne partout le pretendant - sentence taken from Pope Benedict XIV's declaration to evangelize China and give the Chinese Civil War a religious aspect.
2. Kuomingtang - Chinese Nationalist Party

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  • April 21, 2020 - 11:23am (Now Viewing)

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3 Comments
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    *checks calendar* haha nice to see you here-
    noticed this piece quite a bit ago but didn't read until now. it was probably the 'kuomintang' that caught my eye, because lord knows how many people actually know chinese history. i adore the darkness-infused aura that this poem exudes, of a dimly lit place, with only a yellow light to cling onto. i liked the certain 'religious' aspect you wove into here too (footnote 1). it was something i didn't know before now. the desperation, this war, you just painted a brilliant picture of it that i want to hold to my chest forever.
    i think my grandparents' childhoods were lived more around the great leap forward and cultural revolution (ccp), so i don't think i could add anything on, but i enjoyed seeing your grandparents' side of things in this bloody bloody war. thank you for writing this. <3


    5 months ago
  • Dmoral

    beautiful, i've reread it on the magazine like a hundred times. i'd say i'm proud of you, does it make me seem like i'm older and wiser (which i'm not!) X)? anyway, i'm extremely happy for you!!!

    p.s
    sadly, i'm not on insta :( but if i ever get an account i'll be sure to look for you. but if you ever join prose (another writing website), feel free to msg me (my user is Dmoral). wishing you the best!! <3


    6 months ago
  • mia_:)

    Stunning and powerful!


    6 months ago