naomi ling

United States

she/her
est. 6/14/20

Message to Readers

can u tell i'm reminiscing over asian culture lately it's a bit of a conundrum

how are you? feel free to rant/tell a story/talk abt ur feelings in the comments i'm not going anywhere :")

drifting girl of the orient | #childofyournation

June 27, 2020

FREE WRITING

18
i am the child born of two worlds / of two new year's; one with creased red envelopes and auntie's money / of na lai, of steamed fish to foreshadow a rich year to come / of pledges of allegiance, of democracy / freedom or death? / uncle sam gave his top hat to me the other day / i didn't take it, mama / i told him i'm oriental at heart / papa, why did he pinch his nose at me? / tell me, do i smell? / of chives and garlic, of stinging vinegar and fleshy dough to make dumplings? 

i am the little girl of the atlantic / metaphorical raft at sea, adrift, adrift / swallow saltwater and chlorine-tinged hope, see where it takes you / onboard, be friendly but don't make friends / back-stabbers / grasp straws and enter the american dream, the lottery / i will be wealthy. i will be a doctor. / send crisp banknotes back home, make good on fleeting promises / (you're in america, you must be rich) / don't tell them you're mistreated, ignored / then why are you here? 

i am the daughter of immigrant parents / of mother tongue and yellow paint that doesn't wash away / mama, i tried to wipe it off but it is a stain / stain to be a foreigner / of two nickels for garnished meat buns at the supermarket / inside, salty pork eats at my tongue / just as my conscience eats away at me / in the new year, we wipe clean our sins and purge the house with lemons / skype your grandparents, static chews on the other end / (why don't they call us anymore?) 

i am the baby born of new roots / in '97, girl and boy escape to foreign soil with twenty dollars and sweaty palms / lick your dreams, promise them good fortune / cross your fingers, ignore the racists on the corner / that's what they told you? keep your head down, work hard / is your ignorance worth the toll? / in the new year, pray (gong xi fai cai) to marble shrines and curling incense on sticks / spin the lazy susan like a wheel of fortune / shu mai; luck; jiao zi; success / mama and papa, their blood and toil birthed you. you are lucky. / remind yourself that you belong on this land. / do you not? 
for sunny.v's prompt #childofyournation. this is a bit all over the place but i go back and forth between describing my parents' and then my own struggles if you can tell. (??) inspired also by chrysanthemums&ink's dirty daughter of the middle kingdom <33 

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  • June 27, 2020 - 7:09pm (Now Viewing)

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9 Comments
  • happy butterfly

    This is beautiful. The atmosphere is so lovely...I don't know how to describe it.maybe nostalgic even though I'm not asian it has a different feel to it.i love it. "spin the lazy susan like a wheel of fortune / shu mai; luck; jiao zi; success / mama and papa, their blood and toil birthed you. you are lucky. / remind yourself that you belong on this land. / do you not? "
    Wow I love that first metaphor and just the power in those words and what it means ...


    5 months ago
  • pineapples

    i really love how you go back and forth between yourself and your parents, this is beautifully written!


    5 months ago
  • chrysanthemums&ink

    "skype your grandparents, static chews on the other end / (why don't they call us anymore?)" doesn't that hit a little too close to home. love love love this, how you not only explored your asian heritage but also explored the american part of you. <3


    5 months ago
  • Deleted User

    I love jiao zi and shu mai,( if you are talking about the food) great piece!


    5 months ago
  • Christy Wisdom

    Replying: Aw, thanks naomi! that's really sweet of you :D I'm glad I bumped into you here too!!


    5 months ago
  • sunny.v

    “ i am the daughter of immigrant parents / of mother tongue and yellow paint that doesn't wash away / mama, i tried to wipe it off but it is a stain” wow. naomi, what the heck? you blew me out of the absolute water with this! the absolute rich personal history in this is mind bogglingly awesome, and your word choice is just *chef’s kiss*. “ papa, why did he pinch his nose at me? / tell me, do i smell? / of chives and garlic, of stinging vinegar and fleshy dough to make dumplings? ” noooo i just *clenches fist* this is so pretty?? i’m so honored to have you partaken in this challenge, wow.. thank you, love!! <3


    5 months ago
  • Deleted User

    Also thank you, hun. That’s kind of you to say <3


    5 months ago
  • Deleted User

    Oh this is lovely! China has such beautiful mountains, and it sounds like an interesting culture to me!
    Replying- English is my second? I think. I didn’t grow up speaking it but was taught it in school.


    5 months ago
  • Christy Wisdom

    i love your style, and the way that it's structurally prose but written as poetry. I especially love the lines "uncle sam gave his top hat to me the other day/ i didn't take it, mama/ i told him i'm oriental at heart". Stunning! I have to say, when I read this piece, it makes me wish I knew more about Chinese culture. I'm quarter Chinese, but barely know anything. Beautiful work! :D


    5 months ago