Decolonizing Touch: What's Love Got to Do with It?

THE DECOLONIZER



He was nothing more than a street cleaner, but he sang beautifully―with such gusto and dignity, in fact, that no revolutionary could help but fall in love with this man, who swept Saigon’s dusty avenues by day and led Party rallies by night. If Uncle Ho had a canary, this man could lead an entire choir to liberation. He sang for the hearts of many. He sang for dear Vietnam. But why did he have to go and marry my sister, too?

Thus began my mother’s dreadful story of how romance should claim no space in war.




About Decolonizing Touch:
DECOLONIZING TOUCH is a monthly column about love and intimacy. If the revolution will not be televised, then the erotic, the heartbreaks, and interpersonal relationships most certainly will go unseen. But I believe that what happens in private is the most radical space of all. What does it mean to desire the Other? How does it feel to need the oppressor? I hope to answer these questions (and more) in my column.

PHANTASMAGORIA: Murdering Madame Butterfly

Luna Luna Magazine


(Photo: Justin McManus)

Mrs. Booth, my high school orchestra teacher, distributes the sheet music for Un Bel Dì, Vedremo, the stringed accompaniment to Butterfly’s hopeful vision in Giacomo Puccini’s opera. In perhaps one of the most famous arias about a teenager pining for a grown white man, the girl, otherwise known as Cio-Cio San―chōchō meaning butterfly in Japanese―fantasizes about the return of her American lover.

The man eventually arrives, yes, but with a white American wife.

With this revelation of betrayal in the final act, Cio-Cio San plunges her father’s knife into her stomach, thereby ending her heartbreak and―con onor muore―"to die with honor."


About PHANTASMAGORIA:
This is a series of confessionals about the intersection of Asia America and feminism in desperately melancholic times. Asian American women are committing suicide. The number of us with depression is rising at an alarming rate. It is my hope to illuminate the will to live in a radical spirit of exile. Welcome to PHANTASMAGORIA.

FORTHCOMING: I AM NOT A WAR

Essay Press



2015 Essay Press Chapbook Contest
(Photo: Essay Press)

I AM NOT A WAR was selected by Rosebud Ben-Oni as one of the 12 winners for the 2015 Essay Press Chapbook Contest. This will be my first chapbook publication, and I cannot tell you how giddy this makes me feel right now...

Please follow my Facebook or Instagram for more announcements, and do spread the joyous news.

Wee!!




Essay Press is dedicated to publishing artful, innovative and culturally relevant prose. We are interested in publishing pieces that are too long to be easily published in journals or magazines, but too short to be considered book-length by most publishers. We are looking for prose that has something to say, essays that both demand and deserve to stand alone. We particularly welcome work that extends or challenges the formal protocols of nonfiction, including, but not limited to: lyric essays and prose poems or poetics; experimental biography and autobiography; innovative approaches to journalism, experimental historiography, criticism, scholarship and philosophy.

PHANTASMAGORIA: Model Minority Mutiny

Luna Luna Magazine



(Photo: Jessika Cheyenne Guarapuava)

"Her name is Olive, and she is my ghost. I am not afraid of her. For the entirety of 7th grade, I sign my name, 'Olive Terazawa,' and quote Anne Rice novels like I am a vampire, too.

My friends are okay with this oddity until I start the process of actively dying."

About PHANTASMAGORIA:
This is a series of confessionals about the intersection of Asia America and feminism in desperately melancholic times. Asian American women are committing suicide. The number of us with depression is rising at an alarming rate. It is my hope to illuminate the will to live in a radical spirit of exile. Welcome to PHANTASMAGORIA.

Rites of an Old War

Vagabond City


Rites of an Old War, Sophia Terazawa


"Imagine the struggle for interracial love as a series of group discussions, nothing more. Nobody shrieks and flies for the throat.

Plates, unbroken.

Ground rules.

Safe space."

Decolonizing Touch: Sweet Dreams are Made of This

THE DECOLONIZER


Ripe for Business, Sophia Terazawa
"Ripe for Business: A Self Portrait" by Sophia Terazawa

"Last night I woke up repeating, 'Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me.'

Talking in my sleep was not new, as my family and college roommate would always let me know the next morning.

'Who were you talking to in your dreams?' They asked.

I never remembered.

To stir awake in the middle of a conversation, now that was unusual."


DECOLONIZING TOUCH is a monthly column about love and intimacy. If the revolution will not be televised, then the erotic, the heartbreaks, and interpersonal relationships most certainly will go unseen. But I believe that what happens in private is the most radical space of all. What does it mean to desire the Other? How does it feel to need the oppressor? I hope to answer these questions (and more) in my column.

Report from Kolkata: Burning Devotionals

THE DECOLONIZER


Burning Devotionals, Sophia Terazawa
"Burning Devotionals," Sophia Terazawa

"The neighborhood called Jubilee Park in Kolkata is exceptionally quiet at dawn. For the time being, the street dogs have ceased their nightly howling melodrama. There are three patrolling the block below my window—all muscle and limp—that growl and bark and bite at each other for their rightful place as alpha male. The fights erupt from the tiniest infractions. A bump on the shoulder. A look."