I miss you! Let’s hang out!

If I can get a dollar for every
“I miss you! Let’s hang out!”
and add an additional fifty cent
for every single one that didn’t pan out
I would be RICH
or realistically,
enough to buy me one of them
nice Playstation 3 video game console
and geek out to my sad heart’s content.

But if I take into account
for all the times I have said
“I miss you! Let’s hang out!”
and deduct that from my total
I have enough to buy me
a Cinnabon?

Fame & Mixers

At this current moment in my life
in this acting world that I inhabit
(and wish to succeed in)
I am a nobody.

In the grander scheme of things
however
I am a somebody
with God as my witness
that I am so
for I am fierce
I am bold
I am unpredictable
and I am beautiful.

But in the context of these
parties,
mixers,
and sooooirreeees,
I hold no importance to the celebrities
that were the reason why these events
were created in the first place.

$100 just to go to this fancy event
and schmooze with celebrity actors
and other “noted” figures
who most likely
wouldn’t give two shit pennies about me?

Please.
I’ll pass.

I’d rather be writing poetry,
hang out with my friends,
eat yet another Cinnabon,
catch up on my television shows,
geek out on my video games,
read another Rumi poem and be inspired,
and enjoy all the things
where I can feel like myself.

But
what if my hard work paid off
or the Gods smiled upon me
and I became the so-called celebrity
asked to grace his presence
in a fancy schmancy event?

Would I turn it down?

Probably not.

Being real with myself
and knowing my pride
I wouldn’t say no
but that’s as far as I can go
in terms of guessing
what I might do
when that situation occurs.

When that day comes
it will merit a serious introspection
and most likely,
a poem to talk about it
and whether or not
I have been seduced
by the allure of Fame.

I AM KOREAN AMERICAN

There was a time when being Korean American
was the equivalent of having an identity crisis,
torn between my Korean heritage
and my American upbringing.
There was a time when being Korean American
was the equivalent of being in hell,
burned alive by the flames of self-hatred.

Whenever I saw a Korean,
I saw nothing worth liking.
I saw narrow-minded bigots,
I saw unhappy repressed families
uncontrollable raging fathers
silent terrified mothers
I saw myself,
a kid sitting in his room alone,
attempting to cut himself with his Swiss army knife
because he thinks being Korean is a pathetic sin.

And then on April 16th, 2007,
I saw Cho Seung-Hui.

As I delved deep into his life
I saw him,
his rage intertwined with mine
and I became consumed with despair.

When the South Korean government
apologized for Cho’s actions
I became terrified that this rage I possess
was inherent in all Korean men,
our cursed heritage the formula for
ticking time bombs waiting to go off.

But as I approached the blurred edge
between us
I came to realize
that my rage didn’t come from
the world,
white people,
or other Koreans
but it came from my own father,
the man who I never understood.

So I confronted this fact for the first time in my life
and discovered the roots of my father’s upbringing,
discovered the love that he always had for me
which could only be expressed with his fists
and never through loving embrace.

With this knowledge,
self-hatred left me
with a silent goodbye
and walked off with Cho.

With nothing to keep me down
I found the beauty
in learning to love myself
so I can live out my life
and I can give my love
to the people around me.

I found the beauty
in knowing
that I have a choice
in how I want my story to be told
I can be ashamed of my ugly past
I can be ashamed of being Korean
and inflict in on the world
inflict it on myself
or I can accept it
and let it be told
let something ugly within myself
be turned into something beautiful.

And yes,
I don’t know the language,
I don’t get the culture,
I don’t quite fit in,
but it doesn’t matter anymore.

Because what I do get are
the little things in life.

I love how there is no food that can
satisfy my stomach
like some good ol’ jjangjjangmyun
where I get into a primal frenzy
and devour the noodles without fully swallowing
get that black soy bean sauce splattered all over my mouth
and I lick it all up like a hyperactive puppy.

I love how I can unleash my inner diva
in a light frenzy noraebang
and use my voice as a vessel of chaos
and dance my ass off in sheer ecstatic nonsense.

I love how when I look at these fine Korean sistas
I just go
Damn,
What’s your name?

I love how I can sit so peacefully
surrounded by my family
hear their chatters and feel their excitement
smell my grandma’s blissful home cooking
and although I don’t understand a word they’re saying
I know I can feel content
and just
Be.

I love how I can finally be proud of my Korean heritage
the heritage that I once despised.
No longer do I see myself
as a loser,
an outcast
a victim.

Instead
I see a fighter,
a lover,
a champion.

For I am a Korean
I am an American
I am Korean American.

This is a what a Jihadist looks like

I am a Jihadist
but before I begin
I must tell you
everything that I am not.

I am not
a terrorist,
a suicide bomber,
a savage,
a lunatic,
a killer.

I am not what you see me on TV
proclaiming to kill all my enemies
my Jihad does not come from hatred
for my Jihad is the truest form:
a struggle that is through love
and that is what Jihad truly means.

I am a Jihadist,
and my struggle is great
for I struggle in so many different ways:

I struggle for self-love
I struggle everyday
to learn something new about myself
and embrace it
to wake up and find something in me
that’s worth more than anything tangible
to appreciate my demons and any flaws I find in myself
to learn from past mistakes
and understand the learning lesson
in my bad decisions.

I struggle for justice
for
no true peace is without true justice
no true justice is without true love
no true love is without truth
and as Cornel West once said,
“Justice is what Love looks like in public”
and I like that.

I struggle for honesty
for I strive to be as honest as possible
with myself and with others
to never let bullshit get in my way
to never let my own insecurities and bias
get in the way of the people around me.
I must constantly be honest with myself
learn to always be humble
and when love is received,
to always remember
and give it right back.

I struggle for finding a struggle
for I am not sure what my struggle is
I wish I can join my beautiful peers
and know what I am fighting for
but I find so much confusion within myself
that I fight to find a purpose
so I can find passion within myself.

I struggle for One Love
for I love the idea of
this unity of God with
our hopes,
our struggles,
and our values.
I love the idea of everyone realizing
that we are one with each another
that we all suffer from injustices
that we all cry and laugh together
buy as I work hard to commit myself
and forget the divisions between me
and everybody else
I fail over and over again.
It is why
that this love needs so much reminder
and so much meditation
because it is so easy to forget oneness
and our connection with not just
the closest ones in our lives
but to all who live and breathe
and feel
and love.

I am a Jihadist
and I am a Muslim,
a Christian,
a Jew,
a Buddhist,
an Atheist.

I am a Jihadist
and I am Iranian,
Korean,
Indian,
Salvadorian,
Black,
White,
and so much more.

I am a Jihadist
for my struggles are great
and this
This
is what a Jihadist looks like.

Possible Futures

Fast forward my life 20 years from now.
Where will I be from now?

I’m a family man
working a 9-5 office job
my dreams as an actor
cast aside to the sidelines
to take care of my family.

I’m a professor of Asian American studies
who moved on from being an actor
in order to inspire and motivate the youth
and allow them to achieve their untapped true potentials.

I’m a spoken poet
touring across the country
spitting words of harsh truth
and vivid imaginary worlds
created with the power of my words.

I’m a successful actor
fulfilled in all ways,
artistically and financially
and buying a nice house for my mom
and a golden golf set for my dad.

I’m alive in a fiery sunshine,
always seeking to seize the day.

Oh, how these futures look bright
in all their different ways
that may not be what I want now
but possible futures that is with love.

However
these possible futures are not
without their dark branches
and as I reach them out
I see that I..I am..

I’m a family man
working a grueling 9-5 office job
my dreams as an actor
thrown aside to the abyss
to take care of my family
my family who treats me like shit
my wife who doesn’t appreciate me
and my son who hates me.

I’m a high school teacher
who gave up being an actor
in order to inspire and motivate the youth
but instead only receiving their scorns
and so I gave up on them
and eat my lunches alone at the break room.

I’m a spoken poet
ranting about my own woes
and blaming the world for my misfortune,
my only audience: myself.

I’m a bitter struggling actor
single, alone, and unloved
relying on liquor
and still consuming Cinnabons
to make the days more bearable.

I’m no longer alive
having passed away years before
in a hapless car accident.

There may be paths that I have not foreseen
Destiny, in all its mysterious power
is my master
and at my complete disposal.

To the brother I never had

You were supposed to be two years older than me
but the higher powers had other plans
and decided that you weren’t fit to live
and although you fought as hard as you could
in the bitter end,
your lungs just weren’t strong enough.

Where I am now,
as an only child,
I wonder what life would’ve been like
if you were in my life,
dear brother.

Would my childhood days have been more bearable
if I had you that I could count on?

Instead of days playing by myself with my Lego toys
and avoiding the outside world with my computer games,
would you have played with me and told me I was the bestest brother ever?

When dad would have his fits of rage,
would you have protected me and taken the blows yourself?

When Seung Hui Cho shocked the nation,
would you have told me that I was nothing like him?

Would life be radically different from what it is now,
if the Gods granted you stronger lungs?

Love’s a Bitch

Don’t you just hate it
when the person you first found to be fascinating
becomes an object of your judgmental scorn?
That mole on their cheek
that you found so endearing
now becomes a hideous blemish
to their already gross face.

Songs that once gave you pleasant memories
beautifully amplified with their association
only to be turned sour
your favorite U2 song
now a source of heavy heartache
and crappy Chris Brown songs
become that much crappier.

Infatuation is deadly.
and Love…
Love’s a bitch.