I Know Where My Mother’s Masterpiece Lies ~ a poem by Marque-Lin

Tetro” by Isidoros Pirounidis (Creative Commons: BY-ND 2.0)

i could have been a painter.

she tells me, proud.
but i chose freedom.

she tells me, prouder.

she sits in front of me.
cradling my feet.

but you chose freedom.

i repeat.

her eyes bent low.
mines glinting high.

her shoulders curved.
a bird sipping water.

my throat craned.
a bird up for slaughter.

she brushes red.
(always red)
for fortune.

lucky, you know?
lucky, i know.

the tv hums.
the microwave chimes.

i could have been a painter.

she says.

the tv hums.
the microwave chimes.

you could have been a painter.

i say.

the tv hums.
the microwave chimes.

the kitchen light glows.
a faded bulb whines.

yes, we say, next time.
yes, we will say for next time.

Contributor’s Bio

Marque-Lin is a Vietnamese-American theatre artist, performer and writer, based in Germany. She is the founder of the queer-led artist collective MSG & Friends, which produces community spaces and performance opportunities for the Asian artist diaspora in and around Europe. She is currently a MA candidate in Comparative Dramaturgy and Performance Research at Goethe Universität. Marque has had the opportunity to work with a variety of Europe-based cultural institutions such as ARTE, English Theater Berlin, STATE Studio Berlin, Gorki Theater: Berlin, and Theaterhaus Gessnerallee: Zürich. Recently, she was featured as an AI Artist of the Week by AI For Good, a UN platform dedicated to fostering dialogue on the beneficial use of artificial intelligence. Her multi-media work spans across themes of intergenerational trauma, cultural inheritance, and the intersections of Vietnamese femme identity.


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