naomi ling

United States

she/her
est. 6/14/20

Message to Readers

it feels ill not to shout-out chrysanthemums&ink bc she inspires so much of my writing and genre.. her imagery is what i aspire to be but for now here's a half-assed credit to her <3

sakura, sakura

July 18, 2020

FREE WRITING

15

in memorium of japanese and US soldiers of world war ii

and i have been here before, i know, on saccharine song and splitting mandolin string / i whisper away the petals on  guttural branch and tell them my name -- / -- stretch taut, little girl, on three-inch string and bind it around your waist (i know, i know, sakura, sakura.) / when manchurian shrines bellow to the fiery east, kneel on spitting gravel, press blood out of fingernails / who am i, if not to pray to warring lineage? / spilled ichor of deities line the cracks on pavement, red on red arch / and i do not pray anymore -- / 

grandfather, i can hear the heart of nagasaki beat underneath my feet / this desecrated temple leaves spittle on my lips, leaves sutures on my elbows / at times we press stiff roses onto paper and call it botany / we smear white chalk on cheeks and call it beauty / i can peel flaking lacquer off of shrines, but why can i not protest? / -- i have my mother's eyes, and i wish to drown them in bitter sake / perhaps blissful ignorance is best / 

i long to perform a vivisection of manchuria with my tongue, divvy it so i can chew / perhaps it'll be more palatable for westerners / no matter, i choke sticks of incense in my fists and pretend they are the strings of fate / this dragon in my throat is insinuous in nature, it carves effigies into my chest -- / -- / is there no penitence for the poor? / is there no abnegation of the past? / lady liberty does not size me up differently, i know, because copper is not capitalist / and so i rinse my mouth of sakura / 

but / perhaps i can swallow an epiphany someday / this saccharine song is quite possible to sing / and when i do, perhaps my child and their children may hear it, tacet, in the eves of the shrine -- / 

    "sakura, sakura, yayoi no sora wa..."
tw: historical events (..?)
manchuria: an exonym for several large overlapping historical and geographic regions in Northeast Asia (wikipedia)
"sakura, sakura": a japanese nursery/folk song describing the cherry blossoms
(if anything is inaccurate, it's all on me!)

if you aren't able to tell as with my infamously ambiguous pieces, this is about wrestling with the terrible and bloody actions of our lineage. (i'm not japanese, but my own culture has done some unspeakable things as well.) 

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  • July 18, 2020 - 8:41am (Now Viewing)

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3 Comments
  • BlueWolf

    I love this! The beauty makes me speechless with amazement!


    about 1 month ago
  • spectral

    replying: besides my melting brain, i'm pretty good- thanks for asking! i'm in a frightening writers block series called 'i'm going to regret posting this as soon as i click publish but its fine'. you?


    4 months ago
  • inanutshell

    the imagery in this is AMAZING "i long to perform a vivisection of manchuria with my tongue, divvy it so i can chew / perhaps it'll be more palatable for westerners" absolutely love this. this may be ambiguous but still a hard-hitting piece


    4 months ago