What Are You?

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A Poetry Mixtape Edited by Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang

The Poems

      The air smells of rhubarb, occasional

Roses, or first birth of blossoms, a fresh,


Who I am

depends on which side of my skin

you stand on.


In here

it’s all neurons firing

synapses telling stories

blood tracing...

side a:



1. 18 and Life

her friend takes her to

the guidance counselor...

My father threw his language overboard,

a bag of kittens, waterlogged mewling:

small hard bodies.


My mother hung on to hers —

Wove the words like...

Each adult will be allowed 150 pounds


and each child will be allowed 75 pounds of baggage.


—B.C. Security Commission, 1942...

Very loud    a mad frenzy    The wooden

barrel she rode would have roared


(I first wrote “road”)

Left home to join the circus: 15 years old



I come from the land of

Where You From?

My people dispossessed of their stories

and who have died again and again

in a minstrelsy of afterlives, wakes,


Price depends on how the cheongsam

was made, the fabric used.


Gasp. Lift breasts with one hand.

Stuff your body inside.


If you...

I understand you.

I get what you’re trying to say.

What you’re trying to say is you want me to get it.


I get it. You want me

to understand. You...


At the park I look for Levita,

because our work is the same—

swaying wide-legged over foraging toddlers,

we avert bruises, discourage the...

when I try to talk to my mom about what it was like

to grow up surrounded by yt people in the prairies

in the 80s though it seemed like the 50s

she tells me in a so-...

The Playlist

We are currently adding to the Mixtape playlists, so check back soon and often! Send us your recitation of one the poems in this Mixtape, and we may add it to the Playlist!

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