How bold I was, when I was seven
I touch my left earlobe to bring myself luck,
as I listen to the words of colonialists. Yet I
in some ways am a colonialist too. Full of brimstone
and the belief I belong; existence that blood / belies.
I shake my left leg to field preoccupation,
as I think back to my blood’s migration. My parents,
their parents, their flight bringing with them
another culture, foreign.
Stop stroking your ears, shaking your legs, they’d say.
Place hands to your lips, steepled and silent.
Now bow low and focus, why, because
only whores shake coin from their thighs.
Ellen Chang-Richardson (she/her) is a poet, writer and editor of Taiwanese and Cambodian-Chinese descent. Winner of the 2020 POWER OF THE POETS Contest and the 2019 Vallum Award for Poetry, her writing has appeared in The Town Crier, Anti-Heroin Chic, long con magazine and more. Her debut chapbook Unlucky Fours is published by Anstruther Press (2020) and her second Assimilation Tactics is forthcoming this fall. Find out more at www.ehjchang.com.
For Ken Lum
Paired issues forever haunt us.
2020, 2012. 1840, 1812. 1670, 1497.
Mobility, work. The city, the suburb. The built, the natural. Forged.
Identity, recognition. Class, location. These are dichotomies that split us
in two, a global economy leaching us clean. Our reality
in search of stabilities
are, perplexing. Are liberating.
Are not made for us.
Harmonious, multicultural. Bilingual. Comfortable
projections where languages and cultures
collide. Where whitewashing projects relay the hypocrisy, colonial decency of
Ellen Chang-Richardson is an emerging poet, writer and editor of Taiwanese and Cambodian-Chinese descent. Winner of the 2019 Vallum Award for Poetry, her writing has appeared in Ricepaper, Hart House Review, Bywords.ca, and more. Her debut chapbook Unlucky Fours is now available with Anstruther Press (2020). In addition to her writing, Ellen is the founder of Little Birds Poetry, and the cofounder of Riverbed Reading Series – launching May 2020 in Ottawa. Find her on Twitter @ehjchang.