papa was a reggae man
mama was a sweatshop b-girl
she breaking, getting beat
my father, a blacklisted Chinese red guard warrior began
to spin her some Marley, listen b-girl
listen to the sound of sweet Jamaica
and the womb in mama’s belly heard the music clearly
broken broke soul and I’m pushing my mama’s heart, yes baby.
beat beat beat, pump pump pump, snap out of it
hey mama, hey now, goddamn please
why won’t you live to sing
these songs of freedom
cause all I ever had was redemption songs.
I can’t suppose that
these past few nights
I’m dreaming the same childhood dreams
that got me running scared, running far
the art of running- I could’ve been a track star
in this particular dream,
I’m walking mindlessly to this one familiar place-
a place once too familiar, where time is running out
inside there’s this face I once blessed with hood times
but this brother of mine is strung out, a junkie son
and time is running out, running out brother
destructive ways, so many disappointed goodbyes, destructive ways
my favorite color gave me the goddamn blues back,
so mister bartender, please hook me up with a shot to throwback
he laughed, Security” he shouts, security came,
carried me by my arms, I’m away, going away.
I’m shouting “I need a goddamn drink-take me back, please take me back”
he hushes my lips and begins whispering gently into my ear.
“Child,” he says, “child, you’re too young, too young to be
in a place where time is running out”
end of dream.
I gotta get out of here.
my feet are moving to the sounds of drum beats
I want to swim beyond this suffrage of being suffocated
asking for my old folks to let a young soul go go go on her own way
and off I went into the streets to destroy and then reclaim myself,
am I a rebel or a soul-dier, am I a revolutionary or a communist because i never learned to follow through to pledge my allegiance,
confused, never blessed, gods were always just statues and I’m looking for some kind of uplifting status,
tao tao tao confucius tao tao tao I’m looking for a goddess.
and in this particular dream
I’m inside a dark dark tunnel,
children here, hide and seek, tag you’re it.
I’m not scared, this is darkness but we’re happy here.
a little girl takes my hand, a little boy follows.
I was hit by a car, he says
I wasn’t into dope but I pushed just one night too far, she says.
so I tried to speak
they take my hands, you can’t speak you don’t belong here
and suddenly I see them all, cherry clinton nights, summer through fall
twice a day, twice a night, we walk toward the moonlight to see the sky rise and the sky fall. we see everything, we see all. he says.
we’re all here, we’re not scared, this is darkness but we’re happy here but you, you need to go. you lived in darkness but you weren’t happy, you need to go.
end of dream
I gotta get out of here
my feet are moving to the sound of the raindrops
I’m conditioned to run so I’m running
and when they say life changes for the better for the worse
I’m still caught up in the hustle of sleeping through sun rises
and chasing sunsets, and the beauty has got me out of breath.
Ohm. Breathe. Ohm. Breathe.
I’m traveling, I’m flying, first class citizen.
the world- I’m preaching- is your way out of here, I say.
vagabonding, backpacking, testifying witness- just not confined to here.
I find them everywhere, beaches and islands, water and sunsets,
my heart’s drum line dances here.
ghetto child, american child, communist child, now a grown child
I keep finding my way to amsterdam, to toisan village, hong kong bay, isla de encanto through rainy days, dublin seas, and even kings county
but hey, you knew i was more than a child born and raised in the lower east side of poverty.
and in this particular dream
my now deceased grandmother is sewing my mom
dreams that don’t reflect me,
idealisms of arranged marriages
ceremonial Buddhist kneelings, one bow two bow
three too many, she is traditional and conventional,
she tells me stories of how the gods will strike and damn me
if I too do not follow through, I can’t hear, my own fairytales are plenty.
she spends her life making me dumplings- fon saws-
god, they are so goddamn delicious, i fill my stomach, now compliant to her words but I defy her wishes,
she is sitting across me, my rocky mother, she rocking,
my mama remains wounded, silent, and confused.
she looks at me, child, child please save me.
and I awake to the end of dream
I gotta get out of here
my feet are moving to the sound of how my parents bred me
I just celebrated my old folk’s 30th anniversary
what’s the point I asked
when your love ain’t lovely
all this collective of misery and war stories
and they stayed silent but my dad
he stared into me
dream child, dream better than me
and in this particular dream,
my father, a blacklisted chinese red guard warrior began
to spin me some marley, listen b-girl, my baby girl
listen to the sound of sweet jamaica
your mom cut off this track before you was born
cause all we had to love each other with
was redemption songs.
but you, you went off on your own
carrying this song, this song to freedom.
enough of these damn conditioned dreams.
Davina Wan is a Chinese American female who was born in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York.
As a child, Davina busied herself by climbing up tenement fire escapes, overlooking the city and its river. She would grow up wondering how far bridges and an open sky can go.
Always dreaming and always scribbling on note pads, Davina grew up as a self proclaimed poet who used poetry as a route of escape from gang violence. Davina continues to utilize writing and photography to help her heal from a young life of isolation, desperation, violence and loss. She now sees beauty wheever she goes.
Today, Davina resides in Queens, New York. She works with at-risk youth via alternative to incarceration programs and is an avid community organizer.
Davina loves tenement fire escapes, rivers and oceans, rooftops, swings, balloons, the black & white keys, flight and the goddamn sky. She is easily content with a good book, music, a cool breeze and a fine glass of Malbec.