As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Celeste Chan and JDX – Poetry

Pacific deep and Atlantic thick: a collaborative poem

We are bodies pitted against each other
Hanging from a poplar tree
Buried under railroads
In tobacco and pineapple plantations
Blood nourishing the same roots
We were never meant to come together

In the hood, from which I come, where
———police cars chase black youth,
———Nine mm semi-automatic horse whip, and
———The prisons are cotton fields dressed up in steel;
The streets have become a different sort of auction block.

Los Angeles produces:
———Black minds of opulence
———Black fists of rage
———A community that set fire to itself twice over a 30 year interval
—————Hot amber flames licking, yelping, burning blue after
—————Rodney King’s persecution was captured on film.

Tattooed on our tongues

Thirteen days later:
Latasha Harlins,
15 year-old African American girl,
——Attacked by 51 year old Korean Grocer, Soon Ja Du,
——————pearl pistol clenched angry hand
——————watching eye
——————spilled orange juice on icy tile
Dead, holding two dollars in her left hand.
What price is a life?
Five years of probation?

Fighting for scraps of singed wood, broken bricks
Glints of broken glass on concrete, an apple, a bag of chips
The price of a human life
They watch us in this inferno

59 year old Tian Sheng Yu,
a Chinese monolingual senior,
visiting Oakland from San Francisco with his son, was
punched in the head by Lavonte Drummer and Dominic Davis
two 18 year old men attempting to rob them.
Four days later
———Death from injury
———And eleven years of prison

cloaked in invisibility
fight each other
distorted ectoplasms
the in-betweens
under the Western eye.

But underneath that fight is a love that people refuse to see,
———That statistics are unwilling to acknowledge,
———That the media never broadcasts:
Friendship, love, and solidarity.
Black-Asian kinship exists;
We symbiose.

Like Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X
Like Huey Newton and Richard Aoki
Like Grace Lee and James Boggs
Create the Third World Liberation anew!

We are not enemies

We are chipped glass

We are bodies pitted against each other
Hanging from a poplar tree
Buried under railroads
In tobacco and pineapple plantations
Blood nourishing the same roots

Our blood
Pacific deep and Atlantic thick

Jezebel Delilah XJezebel Delilah X is a queer, Black femme performance artist, writer, filmmaker, teacher, and Faerie Princess Mermaid Gangsta for the revolution. She is co-host of East Bay Open Mic, Culture Fuck, a member of the story telling performance troupe, Griot Noir, and one of the founding members of Deviant Type Press. She has been published in The Womynist, Full of Crow, and Black Girl Dangerous, written/directed/produced two films that have screened in the Queer Women Of Color Film Festival, performed in Queer Rebels of the Harlem Renaissance and White Lies, and been a featured reader/performer at events all over the Bay Area. She uses a combination of performative memoir, theatrical poetry, and feminist storytelling to advance her politix of radical love, socioeconomic justice, anti-racism, and community empowerment. She holds a MFA Degree in Creative Writing from Mills College where she focused on Young Adult Fiction and Creative Non Fiction.

Celeste Chan by Mia Nakano (for the Visibility Project)Celeste Chan is queer and Chinese-American. She creates work born from Queer Diaspora through wit, words, and film. A Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) literary fellow, she has studied under revolutionary writers, and her films have screened at Vancouver (B.C.) Queer Film Festival, the 25th MIX NYC Queer Experimental Film Festival, Queer Women of Color Film Festival, Frameline/San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, and National Queer Arts Festival, among others. She’s honored to be the co-founder of Queer Rebels (a queer of color arts company), with her love, KB Boyce. For more info: and

1 Comment on “Celeste Chan and JDX – Poetry”

    1. Celeste Chan

      September 20, 2013

      Thank you As/us journal! We are so glad to share this work.

      Note: Photo of Celeste Chan by Mia Nakano, for the Visibility Project, a national portrait + video project dedicated to the Queer Asian American Women, Trans, and Gender non-conforming communities.

      Thank you!

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