Am I feminist or a womanist
the student needs to know if I do men occasionally
and primarily if I am a lesbian

Tongue twisted in cheek I attempt to respond with honesty

This business of sexual dykes and dykery I tell her
is often messy-with social tensions as they are
you never quite know what you're getting
some girls can only be straight at night
-hardcore butches be wearing dresses between nine
and six during the day
sometimes she is really a he trapped
by the limitations of our imagination.

I am concerned about young women
who are raped on college campuses
in cars
after poetry readings like this one
in bars
bruised up and broken heart
you will forgive her if she does not come
forward with the truth immediately

Everyone will think she asked for it
dressed as she was she must have wanted it

The words will knock about in her head
horny bitch
slut-harlot tease
loose woman
some people cannot handle a woman on the loose
you know those women in silk-ties and pin-striped shirts
women in blood-red stilettos and short pink skirts
-these women make New York City the most interesting

and while we're on the subject of diversity
Asia is not one big race
and there is no such country as the Islands
and no-I am not from there

There are hundret ways to slip between the cracks
of our not-so-credible cultural assumptions
and other peoples' interpretations of race and religion
Most people are surprised by my father is Chinese
like there's some preconditioned look for the half-Chinese lesbian poet
who used to be Catholic but now believes in dreams

By Staceyann Chin


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