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As a boy I wanted to be good, loved
cotton candy and mother more than anyone,
wanted to please and now may I say
I have squandered my sugar. I lick
and lick the bare cone
but I’m a bad boy, mother, I’ve fucked
it up good though you probably know that already
what with all your new companions
who drink tea and wear thin
their mourning kimonos.
My only pain being your lipstick kissed
into the white linen napkin I saved
and thereby understand by multiplying
your lips and I’m a bad, I’m a bad
and I miss the snow on, the rain on,
the green grass on the great lawn I recently had
so as to avoid being reminded of picnics or the smell of burning
leaves or your fingers tying on my hat
so I wouldn’t catch cold while I made angels.
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Draconian individual punishment distracts from systemic change and reinforces the cruelest and most racist system of incarceration on the planet.
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“I was my father’s son. My father was Nai Nai’s least favorite.” A Taiwanese American man, driven from home by a secret, reevaluates his childhood memories of his grandmother.