Poems and Other Myths:

A collection of spoken word poetry by women from Asia.


Ayu Meutia


Red Stiletto,
I wish I could have been you
Born tall with such inviting allure
That turns heads whenever you strut
There is no patch needed
To cover broken canvas skin
Because you are forever smothered in expensive gloss 
Everybody will save the highest room to protect you
Against all the dust, all the mud
They will save you for the best occasion
Sometimes paired with pencil skirt, another time with glittery backless gown 
There are times I want to shape-shift 
And slip into your curves
I want to see everything from your heights
and know how it feels like to live with the edge
It seems like I am always living under 
And it is hard to prove that I am a serious presence
All that I wish for is to leave this shoebox and live like you do

																	Patchy sneakers,
														I saw you riding the escalator up
															 From where they keep me 
														 behind the bordering glass wall
												I could see threads out of messy outerlines 
														     of your colorful, bright body
													 And a sticky soil down on your sole
											I assume you must have been hiking somewhere
										 Tell me how the world looks from mountain up there
																     Does it look tiny?
													      Good then-the smaller, the better
												      Because I am accustomed to live large
											But I am only following someone else's footstep
											      I make it seems like I have been everywhere, 
													  but I've never really left the shoebox
															  I am always taken care of
													  Because nobody would ever believe
														     that I can walk my own path
												 without having a scratch on my shiny skin
									           And it is hard to prove that I am a serious presence
								    All that I wish for is to leave this shoebox and live like you do


Dear fourteen,
There is no right nor wrong on how to become a woman
Right now you must have pondered 
Why your best friend had kissed the captain of the basketball team
And let his hand slipped over the cup of her bras
Behind the classroom when everybody was home
Or why the A student had always been jealous with you
Though you-a girl with the same brown skin who had consistent B marks on science, C on math
Speaks and writes English like she's white
You must have a lot of questions in your head
Like the time-every time, Mom had asked you to wear more dresses
And lose all the punk rock CDs that had been blared from your speakers
'It is time for you to grow up and be a lady'
-she said
	But fear not, Fourteen
	By the age of 19 a friendenemies would thought you
	How to wing the liquid eyeliner and shop for discount dresses
	Still, by the age of 20, you were not an 'it' girl
Because having a career and independence is what matters to you
Look ahead-there are times even your best is not good enough
That you wish you could color, not only tongue, but your skin a little brighter to blend in
I was told there is always a higher sky from wherever we're standing-there is
	Because by the age of 22
	Some of the smartest girls you knew would send you wedding invitations
	To let you know that they've got their lives pretty much together
	By this point, you must rethink all of your decisions
	Behind the computer screen you have been staring all night without a blink
	These are things that want to make you quit
By the age of 22 and a half
Your mother would tell you how strong you must be
That you had to create boxes in your head and fill them with strategies
She would repeat that you were not a fourteen-year-old anymore
	She is right, because you will be 24 without your knowing it
But fourteen,
Like Rome
Womanhood is not a dream castle built in a day
It is a process of becoming
	Age 12, your body will start to grow a little fuller, a little more beautiful
	You will learn that the body will start to change 
	That every month there will be an invincible punch, pounding just below your stomach
	And when the time comes, you sweep all the hidden chocolates inside the cabinet
Age 18, you will start comparing
Between another girl and you
Between a fierce clink of high heels to a loud tapper of a sneaker
Between body spray with glitters to a temporary tattoo
And your baby fat will start to concern you 
	Worry not
Age 21, there will be a guy who is crazy about your curve
	Who will leave strange trails of kisses over the muffin top you hate so much 
	But he will tell you that he is not making love
Leave the door open for him
(And before he is gone, make sure you crush him good in the nuts)
	31, 28, 57, 45-you will make contact with a lot of troubles
There are even more stunning, younger and older woman you meet
	They will want to show and define what makes a woman to you
Right now you must have pondered
If you are 'the' woman?
	But fourteen,
There is no right or wrong on how to become a woman
The answer is yes-it was a long before age fourteen
When the universe decides to give you double X chromosome inside your mother's womb
-or even when it decides to give you both X and Y chromosome
A woman is how much you feel and believe inside
And a courage to become

Your body should be a house

Your body should be a house
A place with comforting corner
Filled with your favorite things
Which reminds you for who you are
	There should be a glass jar labeled 'self-worth' 
	Sitting within the reach of your hand
	That is full of golden tokens
Your body should a house
Where you can always return to and feel secure
	Houses grow and expand
	It is hard-almost painful to see the differences
The way others house grow next to yours
	All this biology, make you feel a little too big
	Other times a little too small
But strength comes in any size
Imagine the command room of a Concorde jet or a battleship
You are the person who stands behind the steering wheel
You are the one to decide to sail free and to soar high
To dock and to take-off again
	Your body is a house and it will invite guests to come
	Some guest use your teacup for a drink, then leaving it unwashed on the sink
	Some guest will arrange your book collections
	Based on alphabets or colors-so you can find your next favorite books to read
Some guest will help you to stick the glow-in-the-dark stickers that is fallen from the ceiling to the floor
Some guest meant to replace things for better comfort
Some guest will forget that they are guests
And make your house as their homes
-when you know, they should not
	When courage feels like lost
	Remember that, your house is a special one
	Remind them that this house is military force and you are the captain in command
One day, it  can feel like waking up on a stranger's bed
Even the captain can miss the sight from the binoculars
	So, look at the starlit ceilings you used to build with your own sticky fingers
	This is a house you grow up with
	You know the blueprint like A, B, C
Stretch your fingers and let them comb your hair
Feel the hot shower washing on your skin
Observe the dark spot and all the little hair on your face
Kick your feet in the air and run like it is your first time
	Sweep off the dusts, 
Clear the windows so you can look far
	This body is a house that needs your caring
	It should make you feel at home