Consumerism

Shopping is my hobby,

And money was almost never involved.

 

I am a consumerist of senses

Observation my strongest one

Eyes,

Scanning for salmon free of astaxanthin,

Ears,

Drinking in the crinkle of plastic wrapped stationery,

Mouth,

Breathing in the taste of capitalism,

Hands,

Running along shelves

Collecting dust and product quality,

I was the store’s best supervisor

Yet no one hired me

A label tied to the back of the black’s jean pocket,

Explaining the high-cut tapering

and design reliability,

A price taping together packings’ lips

Cost rises, gradings’ higher,

This attracts the buyer,  

A tag wound around wrists of watch stands,

Ensuring a safety approved lab report,  

A book synopsis about some young adolescents,

Telling their story in one simple sentence.

 

Predictability is a key element in marketing strategy,

People invest in security,

Fear is found in the unknown,

In all the details not shown,

But mine was in the predictability,

How prejudice found root in me.

 

Racism is only dangerous when directed at the opposition,

But when discrimination is within the team,

It’s evaluation and not blaspheme.

Expectations were only justified by product performance,

And I couldn’t deliver.

 

They sent in the engineers, the mechanics,

Team product design,

Trying to make me fit the label description,

But when the others malfunction,

They tell me not to make assumptions.

 

And I’m trying hard,

So hard,

Not to read the labels,

And disregard the stereotypes assigned,

 

But if you buy a product,

And it breaks the first,

The second,

And the third time,

Till my wallet runs dry and nothing’s left to spend,

Would you not blame the brand?

 

But we are not products,

We are not part of a consumerist society that needs to be purchased,

We are not marketable pieces,

We are not your profit.

 

I’m versatile and so are you,

We are as changing as the wind and rains,

Though we can forecast some days,

Unforeseen changes it will bring,

 

And we will rain down,

Rain on the couple who wanted a date out,

We will ruin wedding photoshoots,

Screw over brightness settings,

And we will melt,

Melt the boundaries that predicted spring as too late.

 

We are united and apart

We are similar, not synonymous,

We are walking contradictions,

And we will clash like waves against the battered rejects of instruments in the riverbank,

Creating sounds that don’t belong in an orchestra,

But creating an alarm warning for  perfectionism

And artistic destruction.

 

Sight is a blessing,

For predictability it gives,

But vision is an earned gift,

For possibility is not what you see,

Choices, define what we want to be.

 

And yes,

We need to know before we commit,

But sometimes,

We need to trust just a little bit.

 

-Yuki Hansa.

The Potato and Tomato: A Love Story

She had really good roots,
And I stemmed from weak vines,
I always gravitated towards her,
The only thing I pined.

She never thought she was very appealing,
But I assure you,
When I see her,

I turn red every time.

However,
We couldn’t be together,
Not part of the same vines,
Never intertwined,
Not even part of the same group,
She a vegetable,

I a fruit.

I was told I should leaf her,
Maybe branch out a bit more.
But she was the only thing that kept me grounded,
The starch of my life,
My spuddy,
Through the pain and strife.

Even though we grew apart,
As harvest came to chart;
I knew in my heart,
That fate would come around,
And we would stick together if found.

So when it was time to say goodbye,
I would have never predicted why,
We would meet again in McD,
As ketchup and fries.

And spuddy,
I’ll love you till the day I die.

 

-Yuki Hansa

 

Breadcrumb Trails

I carry a leather bound book,

And if you opened it,

You would find,

A trimming of lace,

A concert ticket to Kpop bands,

A sketch of trees in freezing lands,

A tea and tear stained page,

Recipes from the 1970’s

And my grandma smiling up at me

 

When I was small enough

To fold myself into a cardboard box

Playing with dragons and Pokemon trainers

Grandma would clasp me in

Settle down in arms and chins

And teach me all there is to scrapbooking

 

She would flip through the newspaper

Like a manual

A self-help book

Extracting an article about Dettol sponsored hygiene

Another about the campaign’s future presidents

A memoir for forgotten faces

A 101 guide of travelling phases

 

She would move on the cereal boxes,

And paint cans,

Ingredients fascinated her,

Dioxylene and bismol,

Sugar and salt,

What’s inside produces what’s out.

 

Her calligraphed quotes and verses: Galatians,

Zen philosophy and characters Confucian,

Her language was a series paradoxes,

Meant for understanding but caused confusion,

Strokes, curves, dots and lines,

Littered the pages,

Defined her mind,

 

She’s 4”6, mostly bones and skin,

But that’s because she never grew up,

She grew in,

 

I tried to follow her,

As a duckling would its’ imprint,

But my chubby hands,

And careless fingers,

Caused more destruction than creation.

 

The list of ingredients,

Crumpled.

Cloth cut as awkward as a teenagers first rave,

My tiny hands could not hold all the scraps and pieces,

Pages either stuck together,

Or fell apart.

 

But grandma, with her loving heart,

Helped me master, such an art.

 

I grew up,

She grew down,

Like candles burning,

Pencil shavings and midnight cravings.

It was gradual,

Like raindrops,

Or boiling tea,

Or dying of terminal disease.

 

She left her recipes under the stove,

Brodriere between the drawer-like caves,

Buttons scattered,

Ink spilled,

A dollar, two pounds,

And sometimes, I would find my photograph,

Lying on the ground.

 

But I would run after her,

And hand her back her scraps,

Watch worry flood her face,

Watch her startle and see a threat,

Watch her decide if I was

Friend or foe,

And figure,

she’ll never know.

 

And I’ll smile,

Smile,

And pick up her memories,

Trailing after her

 

As Hansel and Gretel found their way back,

I’ll follow her trail of forgotten pieces,

And lead her back on track.

 

-Yuki Hansa

This I Pray

Dear Jesus Christ,

This I pray,

I know your name,

I try to follow your ways

I’ve heard your voice, seen your face,

But God,

Please allow me this questioning space.

 

When I first made a Muslim friend,

Your people came to me;

To tie an alarm to their throat,

To swing ringing bells at their religion,

To warn me not be influenced by them,

As if their belief was a poison,

But mine gave more strangulation.

As if my faith is so weak,

It can be swayed simply by association.

Oh God,

Did you not make them too?

Did your hands not form them,

Form the wet clay they clinged,

Do you not catch their tears too,

Your heavenly cloth you wringed?

Forgive me father,

But what makes them less of a human being?

 

Dear God,

When you spoke to not use your name is vain,

This poem will be criticised for my repeated call of sacrilegious insignificance,

Phrases of “OMG, Jesus Christ”

Reduction to teenage slang was disobedience,

Other exclamations will suffice.  

 

And yet,

Your name is used to start holy wars,

To burn a temple down the road,

To reign over others like they were simply carrying out your judgement,  

To chain and work to death: your “punishment”,

To discriminate a class of people already forsaken.

Just because their heads bow to another belief system,

Doesn’t give you the right to snap it.

 

Oh my God,

I swear a lot,

But I rather my tongue be made a junkyard of dirty words,

Than to ever hold a single derogatory term.

To hold toxic means of degradation,

To blaspheme against another member of another skin,

To oppress another nation through selfish congress,  

Let my tongue hold no lies

This I digress,

 

Dear Jesus Christ,

I see a couple care for a child,

But your people snigger at their love,

Whilst their own cup runs dry,

Offer conversion therapy by giving an absent-mindedly handed out pamphlet,

All because their genders correlate,

Does that mean they have to separate?

 

Their paths are straighter than those whose sexualities are,

Whose sinless children,

They left behind,

But those who pick them up,

To care and provide,

Like what you did to the sick and and the desolate,  

But what the lens focus on is their preference of a soulmate,

For that, they’re supposed to be dead?

 

Dear Jesus Christ,

In your timeline,

To be sick was to have sinned,

Misfortune caused by forgetting your name,

I thought you rectified that,

So why does that exist in my mine?

When their anxiety took over,

Your people shoved a plastic tube down their throats,

Emptied your verses like trash down the chute hole,

Degraded your Holy Spirit sacred presence to an injection of antidepressants.

 

When they admitted they were hearing voices,

Your people covered their ears with screeching of angels,

Poured holy water to muffle their screams,

Tried to make a baptism out of ritualistic culture,

But their schizophrenia could never be washed clean.

 

Christ,

Maybe that’s why,

I’ve never found a place in Christian Youth,

Never stayed long enough to play church games,

Associated with outcasts than hip people,

As a Jew in the Gentile’s Temple,

But I rather be a ceremoniously unclean sinner,

Than a white washed tomb of pretendence,

Just to mark my church attendance.

 

Father,

This I pray,

I love your people and your kingdom you built,

I’m not a saint: I have guilt,

Nor an angel for I sin,

No better than any of my kin

But my heart hurts from my family wounds I’ve begotten,

The scars on your hands somehow forgotten.

 

When will we learn compassion instead of condemnation?

Rebuking instead of complete rejection?

Grace instead of legislation?

To submit to the Spirit, instead of self-satisfaction?

 

Forgive your people, Lord

Forgive my people, Lord

Forgive me,

This my cry,

My heart breaks for my generation,

As you broken for us,

But hope’s not lost,

For a saviour I find,

In the name of the Lord of Lords,

Jesus Christ.

 

Set a cleansing fire,

Burn the sin that is in us,

Let us return to ash: where we came  

And redeem us with your gracious love again.

This I pray,

Amen.  

 

-Yuki Hansa