United States

Asian American

if i'm not writing, please force me to. if i'm writing, please yell at me to do my homework. it's the only way i'll ever get anything done.

Message to Readers

This is me looking back at my younger self's experiences at school.

All I Am

August 9, 2020


I am a 日本人
but also pledging allegiance to this flag
so when my first grade teacher asks us to 
talk about our veteran relatives,
all I can think is my 曾祖父 cooked
for the men that killed yours
and when we learn about the internment camps,
all I can focus on is if I had lived here 78 years ago,
I wouldn’t have this meaningless space I call my room
and when someone asks why my parent, a teacher, 
has to study for the citizenship test,
all I can say is it’s not illegal,
he has a green card
and when we discuss the subject of patriotism
and the teacher nods approvingly at the
kids who stand up when told
stand up
if you would lay down your life for this country,
all I know is I am a日本人
but also pledging allegiance to this flag
I’m a proud American, but I also have a Japanese heritage, including a great-grandpa that was a cook in WW2. Throughout elementary and middle school I’ve been confused as to how to feel in several situations, and that discomfort inspired this poem.


See History
  • August 9, 2020 - 9:43pm (Now Viewing)

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  • RemovedUser1

    Wow, this is amazing! I love the poem aspect of it. I never really thought about this before. This was really insightful. And I can understand what you’re feeling. Thanks for writing this!

    3 months ago
  • Currently Unavailable

    I can sorta relate. I am half-Chinese and half-American. It's kinda hard for me to decide between my two countries, but I have decided that I love them both and if they war against each other I'll just move to an Antarctica and live with the penguins. ;)

    3 months ago
  • outoftheblue

    this is simply so insightful and incredibly personal, in my opinion. and that's always the kind of poetry that's stood out to me.

    4 months ago
  • FantasyOtter12

    Re: Thanks for the book recs! I have read ready player one it was pretty good and I'll check out the other one.

    This was a really well written piece, and it really gave me insight into what your younger self thought- great job!

    (I also collect bookmarks I'll never use...glad to see you do that too LOL)

    4 months ago
  • acrosstheuniverse28

    This gave me such a profound glimpse into your struggle for identity. The phrase "I am" has so many implications, and society often wants us to feel obligated to finish that sentence with only a single phrase, but this piece really shows how deep/conflicting heritage and identity can sometimes be. Very powerful writing!

    4 months ago
  • sunny.v

    i agree with inanutshell, this just seems so profound? your cultural identity is weaves expertly between a personal retelling of your family history. i can totally relate to being someone of a lineage that america had a war with, so i really liked this! loved the japanese characters (are they called...kanji? my apologies if i got that wrong!) lovely work, definitely a favorite on this site.

    4 months ago
  • inanutshell

    ahhh this is so heartfelt? not sure if that's the right word to describe this but I could feel the confusion & conflict here; the repetition of "all I can/know" & the title of "all I am" adds to the uncertain identity of this piece. it's tough juggling two cultural identities & this poem portrays that so well.

    4 months ago