a poem by Sonam Wangmo
I carry a veil with me wherever I go,
To protect me from the other,
The otherness, whom I fear and want at the same time, A forbidden fruit I wanted to devour but now I know its ways.
To procure a gem hidden in the deep darkening moor, It seemed like I was gaining something in the process over the years, Steering into the glory of assimilating into other,
Becoming other was a goal,
I spoke, I read and I communicated with the gifts from other, It made me believe without those gifts I was nobody, The element I was uneasy about,
Being A misfit, savage, and an alien,
I consumed without a qualm or query,
I was taught the virtue of others as an infant,
I didn’t see the sins and saw only the privilege,
I didn't possess or was versed to be critical or analytical,
I was taught the contrary, I was taught to be regaled with other, Or gratify the otherness, inturn I will be rewarded,
Reward meant many things a prestigious throne,
A place offered among the ones to be reckoned blessed,
But in return inquired for a greater stature,
The very essence of my soul,
Rust that floods throughout,
Rust leaving a man immobile,
I am gradually stirring from comfort,
Striving to annul what has been commended,
To cease the cycle of assimilation,
To return to the core of my being.
I belong in nature among the birds, sky, and the river, Surrounded by highlands and my kins,
I presently depart hind to the locale I have always belonged, To liberate from the shackles of the other.
This poem is personal to me. I came to the U.S in 2011, now 10 years ago. I come from a small Himalayan country with a unique culture. But I was always taught that speaking English and being white was the epitome of power, prestige, and wealth. I value my culture but with the changing world, it is difficult. In my poem, I write about struggling to stay true to myself and hold dear to what is precious to me. I question our society and its standard of what it means to be a successful human. Henceforth staying from family and one’s home to pursue education and a career our society deems worthy, is worth it?
Sonam Wangmo was born in Bhutan and is currently living in New York. She graduated from Bard College At Simons Rock and she is currently pursuing her career in writing. She is a women, person of color, and an immigrant from Asian decent.
I am currently trying to publish my poetry book and I would like to know if there are any grants please let me know. My instagram is handle is @peggywangmo
Cover Photo Source: The Nation