Are We One Yet?

Today’s dVerse prompt came from Kelvin. He shared a nasty experience of racial discrimination that told him that he was ugly and that all Asians are ugly. I only know Kelvin through his poetry and as a result I am very fond of him. I find him to have a very beautiful face. I look forward to his words. Kelvin is from the Philippines. I have always enjoyed his poems and “running into him upon the Internet.” He has challenged us to write about “our” Asian experiences.

The first thing that I will draw your attention to is my blog title: “noh where.” The word “noh” refers to two things. Noh derived from the Japanese word Nogaku means “skill.” It refers to the classical drama of Japan practiced since the 14th Century where in males often wearing masks play the roles of both men and women. Noh is also the name of a town in Burkina Faso, Africa. Information from Wikapedia can be found here. Therefore my blog title “noh where” is a play on words meaning “everywhere” or “all people.” Or, the title is meant to express inclusivity of all.

I will share a couple of my experiences in China that took place in 2007 when we visited. And let me add that these experiences could have taken place anywhere. Now they are taking place here at noh where. The idea of writing a poem about my “Asian” experiences is exceptionally challenging. I am thinking haibun. Yes, I will go with the haibun style, a paragraph of prose followed by a haiku. Having written at NaHoWriMo on Facebook for a time encouraged me to learn much about Japanese poetry – resulting in my “falling in love with it.” It was in China that I had my first experience of “being one with all.”

one night in xian

Haibun
After many hours of travel, we arrived in the middle of the night in Beijing exhausted. After customs we lined up for a taxi. I have discovered that many young Chinese having grown up with little, know today that they must fight for what they wish, quiet literally. This was first demonstrated to me in the taxi line as I was nearing the front of the line. I am a short woman. I turned around to observe an exceptionally tall, young Chinese man using his height and weight to navigate to the front of the line. That sort of nonsense doesn’t fly with me, at all. I stuck my arm up, not able to reach his head and said “Oh no you don’t!” Surprisingly, he stopped.

bamboo shoots will soon wave in the wind – as new growth

Haibun
On the sidewalk on a Saturday evening in Xian I observed a long banner showing the body of a man bloody and bludgeoned. This banner fronted a group of about 200 workers protesting the sadistic behavior of their employer. They looked sad and dejected, without energy. I found a woman who spoke English to ask her about this. What was happening? She shared about the protest. I became absolutely incensed. I left my husband and went up to this group of seated employees and started marching up and down in front of them, clapping my hands and yelling yes, yes, yes. Shortly thereafter they stood up, smiles came upon their faces and they started clapping no longer drained of energy. They felt supported, reenergized, then they really got into their protest. I gave them a thumbs up and left with my husband. I have never felt such a spontaneous moment with humanity.

rank weeds in the pond being cleared for new – fragrant growth