Filipino Rants to His White Therapist

On December 23, 2020, in Antioch, California, police officers restrained Angelo Quinto during a mental health crisis. They knelt on his neck while he repeatedly said, “please don’t kill me.” Quinto died three days later at the Sutter Delta Medical Center.

Colonizer poets don’t know about exile, 

Not the way I do. 

Last night, I threw up chicken isaw into

The toilet and watched 

The guts swim in a pool of moonlight. My

Body couldn’t be mine even

If I wanted it to. I am lonely even when I visit

Home. My ghosts don’t care

How well you think I speak English. And

Yet, I have a memory —

My imaginary wife and I stand in the middle

Of an open crater, bullet holes

Pointillating our roof like teeth. The bite marks

Converge and form

The most devastating painting I’ve ever seen. 

My first country swilled me up

And pissed me out. Our neighborhood is still

Burning from when the cops

Took our drugs and stole our men. The second

Country knelt on my neck

And told me to go fuck myself, while my sister

Begged them to let me go. 

You won’t remember any of this, even if I

Transformed into lipstick 

Or a gun barrel or an underpass sprinting into

The clamor of shattered salt.

It’ll make sense eventually, I promise. Swear

On my life. I am a supernova and

I am collapsing in my grief.


The author, Narisma, sits at a table and smiles, with one hand on his face.

Narisma is a writer and artist from the Philippines. His work has appeared or is forthcoming from The Spotlong Review, Gordon Square Review, The Margins, and Pollux Journal, among others. He currently lives on Lenape land in Brooklyn, New York, where he dabbles in radio production and filmmaking.