The Good Kind by Blake Z. Rong

I ain’t the good kind of Asian. I’m the one
who disappoints you. I see it in your eyes

when we go out for sushi and I forget what nigiri is. 
I feel it across your tattoos I’ll kiss someday: 

koi fish samurai and fisherman’s wives
wide-eyed cats with claws outstretched

characters faded indecipherable, strewn like wreckage
across your arms. And someday I too will be 

dissolved in lost-wax vaporwave 
neon and pink and crystalline 

clad in red and yellow camouflage. Listen!
My people were pulled from the dirt

among the botflies and the rifle butts
feigning death, deep in the surface of the earth

before they embarked on the long march

               their feet sore their bellies aching
               knowing the pain but no potential

then self-destructing like strings of firecrackers. 

Knowing the words but not the melody. Let me teach you 
the curse words of my language. I will flip through pages

of dictionary tracing them into my skin with a crimson pen.  
Someday I’ll learn how to pronounce them right. 

Sometime we’ll all do our parents proud. 

Somewhere out there Alphonse is still trapped 
               in an endless suit of armor. 


Blake Z. Rong is a writer and journalist in Brooklyn, New York. He recently received an MFA in Writing & Publishing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. As an editor in the automotive industry, his longform journalism has been previously published in Autoweek Magazine, Jalopnik, and Road & Track. He hails from central Massachusetts and is currently working on a collection of stories

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, poetry, and creative nonfiction from marginalized creators.