Who will walk these wooden streets?

all poetry is written by Ryan Kai Cheng Thom, who is (obviously) an aspiring poet. Contact them at ryan.thom@mail.mcgill.ca!

October 16, 2014 at 1:28am
8 notes

10 Reasons to Lie to A Man Who Loves You

1) You’ve lied your whole life to stay alive, for as long as you can remember, and now your mouth is not sure how to shape the truth

2) The only thing you know for certain about the truth is that it has hurt you.  People have hurt you for telling the truth.

3)You are afraid that the truth will hurt him.  Fundamentally, you are afraid that you are a hurtful person.

4) Because he would kill you if he knew.

5) Because he would leave you if he knew.

6) Because you are not sure there is a difference between those two things.

7) You would have to admit that you do not know who you are without him.  You are afraid that if you start looking for the answer, you will not like what you find.

8) You have always secretly thought that you are a selfish, ungrateful person, and telling the truth is a selfish, ungrateful thing.  So, of course, is lying.  You are selfish and ungrateful either way, and there is no way out.

9) You are afraid that he would stop loving you if you knew who you really were.

10) You are even more afraid that he would keep on loving you, and this thought shatters you, because you don’t believe, have never believed, that this is what you deserve.

October 13, 2014 at 2:00pm
1 note

there is nothing worse for poetry

than politics.

and nothing better for politics

than poetry.

or is it

the other



7 notes

no, i don’t know the meaning

of my chinese name

(which, having given up my english one some years


i am more inclined to think of 

as simply, you know, my name).

i do not know where it comes from,

and i forgot the characters some decades ago.

funny you should ask, 


the pronunciation of its syllables,

worn down by burble of time,

and the chattering clumsiness

of anglophone teeth,

has eroded and warped beneath the years;

even my family does not remember really

how to properly say my name,

in the jaws of the world it is, like the ancestors from whom it derives,

a memory in constant re-creation, a xerox copy

growing more blurred with each reprise. 

sometimes i dream that the motherland

has come to visit and she does not know what

to call me,

according to chinese legend, i suppose this means

that i am not eligible to die, 

i would be turned away from the gates of the underworld

because the bureaucrats who preside over the Land of the Dead

would not know who to write down in their ledger of souls.

i am instead destined to wander 

this earth for the rest of eternity, searching for my meaning;

i am told that in chinese we have a term for this:

'hungry ghost' - which incidentally is the same word

we use for white people -

i like that.  hungry ghost.  i think perhaps

there is such a thing as being hungry without 

being empty.


is the hunger that unlocks you.

that hurts you to set you free.

i feel it when you ask me what my name is,

i close my eyes before i answer,

and there the ancestors are, 

climbing up walls of my throat with their fingernails,

clawing their way out of my mouth.

October 12, 2014 at 11:05pm
3 notes

a stupid man,

a selfish man,

a cruel man,

a fucked up man,

a cowardly man,

a narcissistic man,

a man who will never grow up,

sooner or later,

one by one,

you will break your rules

for them all.

because you are a stupid child,

a selfish child,

a cruel child,

a fucked up child, 

a cowardly child,

a narcissistic child,

and someday, sooner or later,

you will grow up.

someday you 

will outgrow them all.

September 27, 2014 at 2:40am
7 notes

you need to learn the difference

between what you got 

and what you deserved.

someday this knowledge

will save your life.  

September 25, 2014 at 2:24am
13 notes

eve was no fool,

she knew what waited for her outside the garden.

and she wanted it.  

because everyone’s paradise

is someone else’s prison,

and free will’s a funny thing when

doing the wrong thing is the only thing

that leads to liberation.

and because sometimes,

a serpent

is the

only one 

who understands.  

September 17, 2014 at 7:00pm
0 notes

give me that

Great Wide Somewhere

September 11, 2014 at 12:41am
2 notes

my father’s hands are rough and calloused

from years of physical labour /

from kitchens, and shovels / from farm fields and logging camps.

mine are soft and delicate /

quick to type essays / tickle pianos /write poetry.

i’m home from university / he shakes my hand

palms pressed together /

i feel the distance (of oceans and eons, that’s all) /

between us.

3 notes

i invoke you, living spirits of the now

i call on your bodies: skin, flesh, blood, and bone,

young people of colour,

i see you,

i sing you,

i say your names,

i summon you,

wake up up up up up up up up up,

rise up up up up up up

time to step from the shadows into the light

time to raise your arms and join in the fight

time to open old wounds and set blood to right

time to unite

drive out white 

supremacy from this land,


ideals from our minds,


hands from our buttocks & breasts


boots from our throats,

young people of colour, 

do honour to our ancestors,

their power and pride,

do honour to the voices

that still whisper inside,

young people of colour 



wake up up up up up up up

rise up up up up up up up

drive the imperialist dream out of your mind,

your ancestors died still dreaming of this time,

someone stole your names from you lands from you voices from you

stories from you tongues from you time from you they took your

beauty from you youth from you stole your body from you pride from


young people of colour i see you,

i sing you,

i summon you,

i say your names: Indigenous, Black, Asian, Brown,

i need your strength,

i need your sound, 

i need your stories,

i need your sight,

i need your skin, flesh, blood, and bone,

young people of colour, i invoke you,

living spirits of the now,

we are the revolution,

we are already here.

September 10, 2014 at 12:48am
5 notes

you are afraid your heart will stop if you stop working,

(your father once had three jobs and tried to keep it a secret from you)

you are afraid that you will stop if you stop working,

(he didn’t want you to worry, but you noticed he was never home.  the lines growing across his face.  the way his eyes never seemed to focus anymore)

you are afraid you won’t know who you are

if you stop running.

(your mother worked and went to school and cried and worked and went to school and cried and all you were was a lazy, selfish child.  spoiled spoiled spoiled, that’s what you were.)

you have forgotten the difference

between being

and doing.

you can no longer distinguish

between what you are doing

and where you are going.

you cannot explain the difference

between work

and worth.

(your father told you once that there were only two important things in life: family and money.  in that order)

the white man tells you: love what you do, 

because he wants you to work

(your ancestors worked their hands to bone, their bones to stone, to blow holes in the sides of mountains, dreaming of a child who would not have to work so hard)

he wants you to work and be grateful and grovel for more.

your ancestors say:

love who you are.  do what you must.

love who you are. remember us.