Voices of API Women: a.m. wai

amwai.jpg
Poetry found a.m. wai on April 22, 2006. “Worthy� was her first inspired poem. A year later, her voice continues speaking truth on race, identity, love, and relationships.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last post in this month’s Voices of… series. We ran out of space last week (which is a great thing!) so we held this post over till today. Next month you can look forward to Voices of the U.S. Social Forum. Thanks again to Priscilla and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum for organizing this!
Friday Night Dinner
For so long
I kept trying to get
invited to your
Friday night dinner
I would
peep through
the window
gaze at the
fine china
salivate over the
3 course meal
Asking myself
what do I need to do to get in?
Every Friday night
I would stop by
wondering what
haute cuisine
would be served
who the guest
of the week
would be
For a long time
it was never
anyone I knew
I remained
still mesmerized
week after week
like watching an opera
for the very first time
from the standing room
only and miss my
Friday night dinner


Then one day
as I sat seeing the
chicken cordon bleu
being brought in
I recognized someone
a kid from down the street
invited to your
Friday night dinner
I asked myself
how did she get in?
Would she know
to put the linen on her lap
to pick the correct fork
before eating the chicken
without making a mess
I could tell her
I knew the names of all the dishes
the proper etiquette at the dining table
I practiced night after night
hoping that I got good enough
to be invited to your
Friday night dinner
Weeks and months went on
that neighborhood kid
slowly became your regular
Friday night dinner guest
I sat
still
mesmerized
and
angered
I was
tired of
crouching under
your windowsill
tired of
practicing to be
who I am not
tired of
waiting to be asked to
Your Friday Night Dinner
Wake up WAKE up WAKE UP
It’s time for me to
start having my own
Friday night dinner
with whole fish adorned with
fragrant ginger and scallions
chicken breast thighs wings
head neck and butt all on the plate
bowls full of noodles that
can only be fully enjoyed if slurped
and I too will provide
embossed linens for my guests
supplied by the local
Golden Arches
It feels good
to have my own
Friday Night Dinners
no more stooping
eye straining
false anticipation of
being invited to your
Friday Night Dinner
And at my
Friday Night Dinner
My door will be open
Anyone who stops by
Can come join and feast
But
Don’t ring my door bell
Sit at my table
Make faces at my food
Say it stinks
Drench the rice with soy sauce
Because it is too plain for you
And then expect to be
Welcomed back with
Open arms the next time
Ah no
This is my
Friday Night Dinner
If you don’t like it
Don’t come to my door
I never asked you
To change your
Friday Night Dinner
In fact
I changed myself
Just to get a chance
One chance
to dine with fine china
And still
I was never asked
You can’t have your way
Wherever you go
This world is not
Yours to own
It’s Friday Night
And I am eating
At my table
By my self
A.M. Wai
April 12, 2007

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One Comment

  1. compalena
    Posted May 27, 2007 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Homegirl a.m. wai,
    Love the poem! It really speaks to the betrayal activist WOC from the hood face from many of our supposed allies in the struggle. Like someone legit once said “invisibility is an unnatural disaster.” If you can’t sit at the table with your so-called allies, why not do the reasonable thing? Create your own damn table, invite the real organizers, Micky D’s linen provided, and get cookin’ for real! I want to sit at your table and I’ll bring the chile rellenos and tamales along with my authentic self.
    Keep on keepin’ on…
    compalena

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