Life Sentence

[Guest poem by ‘Just Another Tenzin]

Life sentence


The purpose of language is to communicate
But so much gets lost in translation and we just hate
Each other and this broken tie to a country that feels more like history
But it still binds me until I can’t breathe and reminds me, so what? They’re still not free

So it becomes a measure of me and I am weighed in words and sentences
Each mispronunciation and disuse increases my sentence and grievances
I am locked in shackles welded in the hot fires of my shame
There are questions on my identification and I am denied the right to my own name

Eventually I’m on parole for good behavior
When I’m deemed redeemed for parroting words and acquiesce to their poor behavior
I sell out to bail out and feel adrift in the rift created prior
But I’m still weighed down by the disappointment of being found a failure
Indicted as an heiress, guilty of having more but doing less

There is no reparation or compensation, least of all understanding or compassion
When community hours aren’t counted and I’ve built it all up to amount to nothing
Wondering if I have amounted to nothing and I start to question my passion

Can I lay claim to something I inherited that feels oh so grand but so far out of my hand
Can I wear it as second skin, when it feels more like second hand
And should I try to ascend as the descendant I am or should I stand down from where I was cast aside so casually and so out of hand



Molas Tibet is a memory
It is vivid and bright
It is the crisp and thin mountain air
Filling lungs that breathe out prayers
It is the taste of staple food
Filling stomachs bursting with pride
It is the love of a community
Filling their lives
with each other

My Tibet is a mystery
It is vague and dull
It is the polluted and thick city air
Stifling lungs that breathe out, curses and swears
It is the taste of fast food
Filling stomachs twisted with a sense of demise
And it is the strain of a community
Filling their lives
without each other


When the dias in our diaspora seats our unfounded pride
We grow as a community and then segregate into a side

The spats and lectures ringing in deaf ears
Lead to rebuttals quick off the dumb tongue but filled with fears

The chubas are worn full of pride and creases
While our sense of self is worn and tattered in pieces

The sound of a people who are buried alive and burn
Are lost in the din of its citizens who continue to cry and mourn