The Skincare Issue: Poetry Roundup

Each issue we feature pieces of poetry and prose from Asian women around the world. Here are this issue’s pieces:

Graceful Inhumanity by Carla M.

(@carla.mar_)

Inspired by: 

“O, Gather Me the Rose” by William Ernest Henley

Till time is far from reach, lasso
beauty, For bliss, will early spring.
Value it is, but abruptly tow,
O ne’er neglect fate is blessing.

Becoming ignis fatuus,
Beam til the ave dream fulfills,         
Atrocities be riotous,
Raze resistance yet it upfills.

Seldomly I ache for your affinity,
Seldomly, my beau and my swain.
Withal hold, not to rise yours truly,
Perpetual sleep ever wanes.

Fairness perceived by sight or glare,  
Become one among muses.
Chimeras nonchalantly come aware,
Yet oblivion diffuses.

 

It’s Spring by Camryn Smith

Oh the possibilities
If I could be a buttercup and honey girl
Less hard scrapes and more dewy sweetness
The kind you like to show your mother or friend
Instead I find myself here with wax burns
Each tug was like when I was yelled at for trying to be someone.
It’s hard to have a face.

 

(of color) by Sharon Pasia

(@sharon_shannon_karen)

Blessed with my papa’s shade,
My skin was sunkissed
Before her beams even reached me

I was born with a gift
A natural colour
That inspires these wanna-be POC white girls
Into burning themselves to a crisp
At your local L.A Tan

This is a love letter to my peeps of color
To all my friends that have been described as
Exotic
Tropical
And Foreign

Where people compare your shade to different cups of coffee
Because in reality, they’re thirsty
For this
Caramel
Cocoa
Hazel
Bronzed Beauty
And they’re lowkey begging to take a sip

This is for the ones
That have people playing the guessing game of where you’re “actually” from
Or have experienced the common American Greeting of, “…Do you speak english???”

I’m sending soo much love to those
whose shade cannot be erased with
Pond’s
Obagi Nu Derm
Papaya Soap
Fair and Lovely
Or any other skin bleaching agent your mama gave you for you to feel “beautiful” at the tender age of 12

I see you.
And I’m so proud of you
Because embracing your color isn’t easy.

It takes a different kind of strength to finally hear and challenge the toxic whispers, tucked away into your subconscious
that started with a cruel game of telephone-
Passed down from colonizers to thousands of bloodlines
Eventually making its way, from the mouths of your loved ones
To you

Who knew words like
Savage
Dirty
Ugly
Ratchet and
Trashy
Had the capability to crush a human spirit
And brainwash generation after generation
Normalizing cultural self hate?

But we out here
we’re killin’ it-
Nippin’ the self hate from the bud,
Tearing it into shreds,

Cutting and unraveling this unnecessary tight rope
Of standards you shouldn’t have to balance on in the first place

Finally hanging up that stupid-ass phone,
breaking a poisonous record that was once on repeat
For almost half a millenia

And HOLY SHIT
I am so proud of you.
For finally basking in the true light,
Unapologetically and unafraid.
Planting the seeds and spreading new words of self love for generations to come.

So please,
Take up all the space you need.
Bask in this garden that you’ve helped create.
As the sun welcomes you with open arms
Because you deserve it-
You always have.

And to those still hiding underneath their parasols-
I see you too.
And friend,
I honestly can’t wait for the moment when you’re ready to finally embrace the sun’s glow

And show the world your true color.

 

Jabs and Jams // by @kai.laniii

What do you find most attractive about people?
Well, lots of things
But what I like
More than anything in the world
is when they are
smooth

Smooth like honey
Their words roll off
The tongue 
A smooth, deep mellow
I like them smooth

I wish I could be so smooth
So velvety and tender like
The sounds I love to hear
I’m deep, alright
Rigid with canyons that I love to douse in
Smeared makeup and boiling hot water

I pluck and jab and bleach and sting
But no amount of torture and fortune
And self-care can bring me
The smoothness I long to be
Reciprocal of the smoothness
I love to hear.

I stopped listening to them 
The trials and tribulations of this jagged world
And I started listening to me, her, and
The sounds I love to hear
I forget about me 
I’m as smooth and tender as I want to be

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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