Big Red Poem

     Hello! Last week has been pretty bleak to me, reasons, not all of which I feel is appropriate to share. The biggest reason of all is that I have been job searching, and it has been a frustrating task. Many nights of staring blankly at the screen, at my resume, forced to conjure positive notes about myself and my own experience, places where I wish I didn’t need to wander, memories that are best joked about and respected at a distance.

     I heard somewhere that where there is a flame, there will always be burnt things surrounding it. It is true. One time a while ago, Will sent me a message with Alicia Key’s “This Girl Is On Fire” song. I burst into tears. Hey you, if you’re reading this, I still remember that time. And thanks for getting me.

     Today I am practicing vulnerability, by sharing you my thoughts. I should note that I have a healthy sense of pride for Big Red.  I am grateful (still am) for getting into college, and I couldn’t have done it without Cornell. But, I am aware now of its contradictions. I don’t imagine everyone understanding. This poem is written for an audience of people who have walked down the Asian American activist’s past at Cornell. I have chatted with a few friends who have surprisingly listened to me. I am forever humbled, and grateful for their support. This poem is real. This poem is for you.

     I also want to say, that I’m pretty optimistic. I don’t know how long this feeling will last, but I have two vague lessons to share:

  1. I have to stop saying I don’t have friends. I DO have friends. And I have amazing, wonderful friends. They see the value in me even when I don’t recognize it myself. That, I think, is the true value of friendship.
  2. Your dreams are precious, and people will tempt to chip away at your vision, but don’t take it personally. Protect your dreams.




Big Red

Is the big strip

Of gum gnashing cinnamon whips.

The crest, insignia, worn on my chest,

I wear it less now.


Big Red

Is the big strip

Of gum gnashing cinnamon whips.

That secretary’s oily face at the prep school lighting up,

You go to CORN. L?

What was your SAT score? What?


Rude. Minutes before.

Big Red, undefiner.

The soldier’s miner.

The big headliner.

Big Red,

I have scissored it, folded it into my closet.

Sometimes, I am ashamed.

I am more careful now then three years ago,


I know.

Sitting two seats down to me on the Q17,

A little girl sees me with a big red beanie.

Her mother would suck her teeth,

And look at her own child with scorn.

My sinews are torn.

Big Red

Is the big strip

Of gum gnashing cinnamon whips.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s