Each issue we feature pieces of prose and poetry from Asian women around the world. Here are this issue’s pieces!
Eyes Pried Open by Kristina Robertson
Crescent moon eyes gazing into the Red Lotus Sea, petals propagated by hints of uncertainties.
A lost American millennial, searching inside a mother’s womb for identity. Face mixed with hesitation, hidden beneath a father’s redwood tree.
privileged name yet mocked and shamed, blending fusion with confusion, presumed adoption is to blame.
A merciless small town, filled with slant-eyed gestures, stereotypes and slights cut right to the core until it festers.
I am a canvas, painted into a camouflaged question mark, a tsunami rippling through my ribcage. Curves shaped into pink lotuses, freckles connect me into an exclamation point.
My crescent moon eyes meditate behind a reserved smile. Bashful of my overbite, an oversight, but tonight, I fight, to just be.
Simply hers and his, mixed, without the division or betwixt amidst a lunar eclipse seen in my eyes pried wide open.
Proprioception by Macy Summer Punzalan
where are you from?
by the beach
I grew where the waves kiss the shoreline .
“no, where are you from?” ––he’d add, with a toothy grin, wide and white.
from? my mother, her womb. my father.
from? Saigon, or what was, now fallen,
my mother, tall in the wreckage,
she is strong to have made a home here with my father
“I knew I saw something foreign in you”
Did you see a reflection?
My round face, almond eyes that glint, caramel skin
I never caught on the silver screen.
at eight years old I was everything short of who I thought I wanted to be
blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin,
they never said it could be me, only
exotic, maybe a token conditioned to believe in the wrong things about who I am because of who I am perceived to be by a stranger who strokes my “Japanese” hair, her mouth foaming. I still hear her ask If I am a mail order bride.
she says that she knows where I am from: anywhere, but here.
if I am anyone, at all I am not anything passed along this fine line between what is socially acceptable, and what is wrong. I am not a target that you can pin down with the viral shame you have tried to create in me.
you bask in my culture but silence my stories, strut to make it your history. subtle, this display, perhaps it was yours all along.
excuse me for blowing off steam, but after your vacation in China, “Are you holding your chopsticks right?”
I am going to scream. where I am from the top of my lungs: I belong here in this space.
I wake in the dark Warped with implication And try to be what no one has told me I am yet It’s no use I’m a stranger again I measure myself in how far I can break
Taintedby Mia Midori
To be black and Japanese Ridiculed by your own people Name-calling, judgmental stares, mean glares I am dirty, tainted, impure The kids don’t want to play with you The parents can barely look at you They all avoid you Everywhere I go, it’s the same Keeping their distance from me Maybe they feel safer that way
Does my mom know? She seems to pay them no mind How can I? I’m tired of being alone and feeling left behind So I try and try and try but to no avail I can’t fit in I can’t make any friends They reject me They won’t accept me I can never be them Because I am a mixed Asian girl with curly hair and brown skin
Clash and Burn by Kailani Tokiyeda // IG: @kai.laniii
We paint the skies a color of our own I see you light it with your tangerine tones My lemon drop colors drip onto the page Our vibrant little lives stepping up onto the stage
I blend out the patches you see in your skin You accent my valleys, my canvas within I dream of a lifetime of color with you From the darkness of drawn to the trees’ leafy hue
Sometimes when we fret, our colors turn grey We mix and we stir and we clash day by day But our fire burns bright, and we’ll turn to new shades It is in us to be colorful, to be rainbows portrayed
Let’s make new colors from the colors we are But don’t forget, you, are the rarest color by far
both/and by Melissa Cottle
We are both/and people Seers of all sides Human bridges of connection Claiming “other” with pride We are both/and people Our identity is ours to decide On a journey of rediscovery Won’t you join us for the ride?
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.