chrysanthemums&ink

United States

ᴅᴏɴ'ᴛ ᴡᴏʀʀʏ 'ʙᴏᴜᴛ ᴛᴏᴍᴏʀʀᴏᴡ ᴀɴʏᴍᴏʀᴇ.

Message to Readers

i will do more pieces on chinese history in the future. i guess i wont unpublish this after all.

chinese history is bloody, complicated, and forgotten. the US is partially the reason, but i'll get to that in another time.

subtle referenced history: the Qing dynasty (last one) is not ethnically Han chinese, they are invading Manchus. Most people lost faith in them after China lost the opium wars. between opium wars and a sino japanese war, they were over thrown.
manchuria was a puppet government named 'manchukuo' by japan. it was ruled by the fengtian clique (referenced throughout, china was in pieces after the dynasty was overthrown)
first sino-japanese war was fought over korea, the 'peninsula'
marco polo bridge incident and mukden incident were fabricated events of chinese aggression so that japan could 'retaliate'
many war criminals were tried and found guilty, but the Class A criminals (hitler's level) were let off free. they have a shrine to celebrate them (war crimes). the war criminal with the msot blame was pardoned by MacArthur.
*the reason for all of this US influence and 'historical revision' was because China was leaning towards communism.
long march: the chinese communists flee from the nationalists. they walk 8,000 miles.
'starving': in the 'great leap forward', many peasants starved to death as a result of mao's actions.
zhou enlai, mao zedong are founding members of the PROC and chiang kai shek is the founder of ROC.

this is overly simplified.

no one apologized.

an anthology of being caged

June 17, 2020

FREE WRITING

16

you are an old bird who has been caged far too many times. 

do you remember, when a white-faced man offered you his pipe? you were old, yes, but not senile.
    years ago, you let them in, locusts. they sit upon your throne of gold and dare to call themselves 'emperor' 
you take the pipe and puff. 
and puff. 
     they build dens in your body, black smoke curling and breaking skin. 
        you beg for them to stop, but your teeth have yellowed. they ask you to name their gun. you cannot. 
"you are too old" the man 
    snarls and 
kicks you down your own palace. 
it ends twice, that is what you remember—trading away your dignity and water at the whim of those westerners. 
a man breathes out a cloud of coal, and you 
choke. 

your hands are no longer pale. you have learned over many years to ignore the red ink stains and black nail polish. 
    red is a lucky color for a reason
you are old, but not senile, and although you are splintered into pieces, you still reach for the stars, a peninsula in the east. you reach but
another hand meets you midway, raking its nails down your brittle arms. 
it is pale. 
you remember it from a long time ago, from before you were left behind. 
eyes the color of a rising sun, you cannot even blink before a sword 
slices
down. 
    and it is the first that you are beaten down by your own little brother, but you wish you didn't have to say 
        "first".


you are not even in full fragments, you brand yourself with a sun, a 'sun yat-sen'. 
    before he is gone, and you're left with 'chiang kai-shek' instead
man named 'mao' and 'zhou enlai' 
and they tear you 
apart. 

it was a bridge, a single soldier. the yellow man took your pleas and
expanded them into violence. 
    manchuria. manchukuo. fengtian 
russia pushes from the north, japan pushes from the east. 
pushes inwards.  
you do not speak japanese. you do not say 'nihon', you say 'ri ben'. 
japan slaps you with the force of its imperialism.  
    shanghai stood for months. 
        and nanking did not stand at all. 
(john rabe drapes a swastika over your shoulders, and ironically, 
        you feel safe) 
you cannot cry with your people, you sew yourself back together with no anesthetic and 
grit your teeth. 

it is over with a fat man and a little boy.
and a white faced man extends his hand to you. 
    it is always a white faced man. 
you trust him, and he 
betrays you. 
justice is served at the barest amounts and you fall apart 
again. 

half of your face cannot agree with the other. you want to tear yourself apart. 
    long march, they flee across the mountains from the sun. 
against all odds, the boy named 'mao' wins. 
you think you may be happy, but you are starving. 
but more than that, you are tired of being forgotten. 
like a phoenix, you emerge from your ashes. 

over time, you have learned to ignore the red in your hands and black in your nails. 
your people live with ignorant persistence, you choke them half to death and make them happy about it. 
'zhou enlai' dies and you cry. 
    'gang of four', shift the blame and shift your organs around. 
'mao' dies and you're silent, clutching a 'little red book' between your hands. it continues, you hang a portrait of your 'supreme leader' on your oldest wall. 
    ti'ananmen bleeds twice. you try to scrub the marks off your skin but it's too late.  
        for a split second, you can't recognize your face in the mirror. 
green uniforms, you march forward. 

over time, you are blamed, hated. 
    huawei and extending presidential terms. 'people's republic'.
you regain what you've lost. you are old, but not senile, and out of fear, you try to brand it with tear gas and rubber bullets. 
    hong kong refuses. 
despicable, you ignore them all. no one can live without you now, and you balance with the white faced man on the edge of 
calamity. 
    you are hated, but as long as you are not hated by yourself, you are 
        fine. 


in two hundred years, your skin has been 
lacerated, marred beyond recognition by others. 
this time, you do it yourself. 

you climb out of your cage and right into another one. 
 

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  • June 17, 2020 - 2:47am (Now Viewing)

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7 Comments
  • aosora

    replying: thank you so so so much. i truly appreciated your comment. filled me up with such warmth. thank you.


    5 months ago
  • mia_:)

    Replying: Yeah, I have plans to just crank through it and trim off literally all unnecessary words. I misread the word limit when I was writing my first draft which is why I am over :/


    5 months ago
  • The Moving Finger Writes

    Don’t unpublish this, it’s gorgeous! I love your descriptive language and you’ve used a beautiful style for it.


    5 months ago
  • pineapples

    what sunny.v said!
    your words are gOrgeous, and the imagery is beautiful!
    I love the perspective and the history in this piece!
    The writing in this piece is top notch


    5 months ago
  • rat in a hat

    hey, this is incredible! you are very skilled at painting a picture or telling a story to the point where it's like a vr masterpiece, like the reader is sitting and eating dumplings with their family, for example. you allow people to experience things through your poetry and that aside, your writing style is. the word i want to use here is enrapturing. the italic parts that add to the stories you're telling really. add to the stories you're telling i think i'm losing my point. the point is, this is amazing, and your work in general is very impressive. i love this a lot. also, word choices are impeccable. also! in particular, "over time, you have learned to ignore the red in your hands and black in your nails. / your people live with ignorant persistence, you choke them half to death and make them happy about it." and "ti'ananmen bleeds twice. you try to scrub the marks off your skin but it's too late. / for a split second, you can't recognize your face in the mirror." seriously dude: gorgeous.


    5 months ago
  • Jasmine_K

    thank you for this. i don't know the words to express what i want to say, so i will leave it at that.


    5 months ago
  • sunny.v

    ah, your history piece! wow. i’m ashamed to confirm your message box: i didn’t know much of this. a long history of pain from one of the world’s most beautiful and colorful countries—it’s unimaginable, and this did it justice. your use of the second person POV makes this all the more raw. “ against all odds, the boy named 'mao' wins. / you think you may be happy, but you are starving.” you really suck in the reader and force them to imagine what it’s like until they, too, feel wronged. amazing piece! why would you unpublish it?? beautiful.


    5 months ago