in little saigon

i was thirteen
keeping my truth
hidden behind computer screens

i was sixteen
and i type-whispered truth
to a few trusted friends

i was seventeen
when i took a risk
spoke truth aloud
was embraced

i was eighteen
falling in first love
learning to be brave

i was twenty-five
could hardly believe
i was wearing my truth
joining the parade

they’ve told us not to kiss so many times
at times with their eyes
at times with their fists

now they want promises on paper
as though demands made in legalese
say any less clearly
“you have no right to be here”

as though a kiss
celebrating a new year
hoping for a new era
is so terrible

is more dangerous
than the message “you have
no right to be here if
your love looks like this”



“Kissing – or the prohibition of it – was part of negotiations this week between organizers of Sunday’s Tet Parade in Westminster and the Partnership of Viet Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organizations” – OC Register

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