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A Yorks Jun 12
Is daar a woord
Wat ek kan gebruik,
Wat beteken wat ek bedoel,
As die woorde in my eie taal
Nie meer volstaan nie?

Wat sê 'n mens,
As sy moedertaal
Nie meer die taal
Van sy siel is nie?

Die frases pas nie reg
In my uitheemse mond nie,
Die vokale klink nou vreemd,
En die konsonante is ook so.

Die werkwoorde werk nie,
Die naamwoorde benoem niks,
Die vrugtelose adjektiewe
se Beskrywinge is nikswerd.

Ek's 'n kind van die wêreld,
En my taal is 'n moeder
Wat my lankgelede verlaat het.
Sy't geen liefde vir my nie,
Net 'n onbekende tussen tale.
Ivy May 21
Born in a place that I don't call home
Raised in a country foreign to Mom
Stained with the colors of different flags
My soul and my heart: in different lands

"Where are you from?" So simple a question
Yet always I answer with such hesitation
For how do I choose from different parts
Of the whole that is me and my colorful heart?

The answer is simple, not complex at all
It's simply a matter of wearing them all
So I'll show them all proudly: my beautiful hues
For I've finally realized I don't have to choose
(No puedo hablar la lengua.)
I cannot speak my father's native tongue.
(No puedo hablar suficiente...)
At least, not enough of it to get by.
(...no entiendo, lo siento.)
The body I inhabit feels like foreign territory.
(No lo se.)
My grasp of it ends here.

I. OTRA VIDA

Dia de san valentin, 2000: mi padre aprendió inglés por amor; voló a través del mar Mediterráneo. Él tiene miedo de los sonidos cuando trata de hablar. Pero él lo intenta. Él habla casi perfectamente -- mientras, estoy teniendo una conversación uno-a-uno con Google. Es vergonzoso.

I recall two or three trips, max. There's a blend of urban and natural that's a haven for the eye -- the buildings themselves are seduced by the sun; divine blends of amber, tawny, white. Classically Romantic. That nighttime humidity fogs up your lungs and makes it feel like a hug. There was a time when we were poised to move back there - and in Dad's case, another, nearly leaving without any desire to take me with him.

My makeshift home is built upon stereotypes: orange trees, olive oil, generous glasses of vino. Pienso qué un otra vida where I'm stood on the beach at dusk, with heavy-lidded eyes and ears attuned to cicadas and rolling waves. This is narcissistic lust for the woman I could've been - she is all smiles, bilingual, peace embodied. Those are the nights when I'm not careful: she leaves my bed by morning.

II. ESTA VIDA

To mourn the "what ifs" shows a lack of gratitude for what is, and god, what luck! For inglés to be the second most-spoken language, de-facto "centre of the universe"! To migrate most anywhere and get by; for the Western world to be coerced into Anglophonic bliss since tourism makes their ends meet!

On a holiday, I clam up ordering "una batista fresa" and get a taste of how my father feels. José Francisco: his colleagues call him Frank, in the same way I shun my legal surname because a Spanish 'LL' is too hard for others to grasp. I reek of privilege - post-post-Franco, white European, playing with my non-language behind closed doors. There's private delight in a rolled 'r': momentarily, I'm local, not a mere faux-foreigner appropriating my own heritage. Ironic - he tries to be "less immigrant" whilst I've got the fortune of trying to be more.

I was born into a universe of possibilities. A million options feel like fate -- screenwriter, Oxford grad, Spanish barmaid-or-waitress-or-I'll-take-whatever -- each unchased path is a reminder that, somehow, I'm choosing wrong. I've never perceived myself as small (ex-tall child, "ex"-chubby kid with a head outstretching the clouds, first of the eleven-year-olds to grow **** and got gawped at like I'd grown an extra nostril). Outside this hall of mirrors, I am tiny -- too small to have this many dreams -- manifesting as terror-borne paralysis because I want to do more than I'm built for. Solution: aim smaller or grow up.
half-whiny, half-dreaming. i don't normally rely on google translate - i'm trying to self-teach with duolingo (occasionally enlisting grammatical help via dad).
eva crown Mar 12
bicultural but not totally bilingual
kids will understand
the sheer embarrassment of having to copy-paste
what your parents text you
in their native language
into Google Translate
detect language
yes, to English, because it's the only thing
I truly understand
because I don't actually really know
what Mom's saying at the end
Do I really get the weight of each word she crafts
lovingly into characters I've learned
but words I don't quite string together
or meanings I don't quite grasp
I swear I do it's just I don't understand one hundred percent and if I could just
g e t those last few phrases
sometimes the entire paragraph she sends me
rather than rely on a gray text editor that spits back
in solid, black, unfeeling English alphabet
"Coming home is always welcome"
that's not my Mom's voice, with her smiling, sympathetic expression and
steaming rice and kimchi stew, warm laundry, and squeaky slippers
that's the translator mincing her words,
chopping and scrambling them into something
familiar to the brain but foreign to the heart
I know she means "I'm always welcome to come home"
but why
couldn't I have gotten that immediately
"I eat food well and I have to buy spring clothes."
No, Google, I'm sure
she means that I will eat her food well
and buy spring clothes with her
but machine learning algorithms aren't
perfect
not my mom
so how would I really know
I wish language could be copy-pasted into English in my mind
so that I didn't have to go through this
bland, unwilling, frugal third-party
that knows nothing about my culture
I am a copy-paste of my parents' DNA
in flesh and blood
so why is it that physically
I am connected
but mentally, intangibly,
I've lost connection
to the internet, and some features of Google Translate may be lost. Try again?
not quite fluent, not quite bilingual, so does that mean that somehow i'm not quite bicultural?
MicMag Feb 18
Cien poemas
     In less than a year
Muchas palabras
     Flowing line after line
Looking back now
     Digo con confianza
La poesía
     Is the best "waste of time"
This is my 100th published poem on HP.

It's been a fantastic ride sharing in this poetry community, reading brilliant works of art, sparking new ideas, and seeing the power in our words.

Poetry and other forms of art are sometimes derided as a "waste of time." I already disagreed with that sentiment but this past half year or so has shown me again the real value in both reading and writing poetry. So thank you, fellow poets, for making this a great artistic community truly worth our time!
Mil gracias and here's to hundreds more!
MicMag Dec 2018
Mar y montañas
What a great view del balcón
Mi alma en paz
---
Mountains, city, sea
The three meet: ¡Increíble!
Thrilled by what I'm shown

---

Mar y montañas
Mountains, city, sea
What a great view del balcón

The three meet: ¡Increíble!
Mi alma en paz
Thrilled by what I'm shown
Continuing to experiment with poetic forms. Here I combined a few forms and took another stab at writing in Spanish.

2 bilingual haikus - "Baiku"? :) used for a contrapuntal (combining the two by alternating lines to make a third poem), creating a new set of rhyming triplets. It doesn't quite carry a dual meaning like a good contrapuntal but I like the way it sounds anyway.
Arshia Qasim Oct 2018
گزر کر ساری جہتوں سے وہیں پر عین آ پہنچی
تمہارے تک مسافت میں نیا چکر سہی ، ہمدم

Having traversed all dimension, I’m back where I began
Oh beloved, in my journey towards you, hence starts another span

Couplet and translation. ( mine)
Arshia Qasim Oct 2018
Fluttering by
Quivering by
Oscillating their coloured wings
The delicate butterflies of my poems
From one thought to the other
On the branch of words
Come, pause, rest, and fly away
A moment here
A moment there
And then who knows where
And in their pursuit, with every breath
From one topic to the next
From one night to the other
I run around, armed with the net of imagination
So that I may touch them
With the softness of the caress, my fingers
Tremblingly
Reach their tips....
They disperse their iridescence
On my hands
And instantaneously
Fly away some where else...  

Poem and translation: ©️Arshia.
پھڑپھڑاتی ہوئی
لہلہاتی ہوئی
اپنے رنگیں پروں کو ہلاتی ہوئی
میری نظموں کی نازک سی یہ تتلیاں
سوچ سے سوچ تک
لفظ کی ڈال پر
آکے رکتی، ٹھہرتی، بہکتی چلیں
ایک لحظہ یہاں
ایک لحظہ وہاں
پھر نہ جانے کہاں
اور ان کے تعاقب میں میں دم بدم
بات سے بات تک
رات سے رات تک
جال لے کر تخیل کا بھاگی پھروں
کہ انہیں چھو سکوں
لمس کی نازکی سے مری انگلیاں
کپکپاتی ہوئی
ان سے جا کر ملیں
تو وہ اپنی دھنک
چھوڑ کر ہاتھ پر
آن کی آن میں
اور کہیں چل پڑیں۔۔۔۔

ع
۲۔۹۔۱۶

Fluttering by
Quivering by
Oscillating their coloured wings
The delicate butterflies of my poems
From one thought to the other
On the branch of words
Come, pause, rest, and fly away
A moment here
A moment there
And then who knows where
And in their pursuit, with every breath
From one topic to the next
From one night to the other
I run around ,
armed with the net of imagination
So that I may touch them
With the softness of the caress, my fingers
Tremblingly
Reach their tips ....
They disperse their iridescence
On my hands
And instantaneously
Fly away some where else...  

Poem and translation: ©️Arshia.
Arshia Qasim Oct 2018
عین یہ شیشے کی نگری، نقص گننا چھوڑ دے !
جو دِکھیں اوروں میں ہوں نہ خود تمہارے دیکھنا

Aein, this is a house of mirrors, stop counting who is defected
Flaws you see in others, may just be your own, reflected!

Urdu couplet and translation, ©️Arshia
#mytranslation.
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