The Mirage of an Eastern Identity


introduction to a postcolonial analytical essay

In “Season of Migration to the North,” Tayeb Salih creates lush, in-between spaces that make the reader want to linger in them for as long as possible. He flash-forges these extra-dimensional spaces within the narrator’s conversations through breathtaking descriptions of out-of-body experiences. In these moments, “everything seems probable,” yet the vastness of such possibilities are terrifying (47). The narrator’s indecision causes dissociative tendencies, forcing him to rely on his religious grandfather for a sense of identity. These states of dissociation are often rife with theatrical imagery and link the unnamed narrator to the egregious Mustafa Sa’eed. Salih illustrates Mustafa Sa’eed’s two symbolic rooms in such a vivid, specific way, it is as though he is the artistic director of a play planning how each set should be constructed and what props will be needed. These spaces carry a weight within them that encompasses the struggle of both Sa’eed and the unnamed narrator...

tanka 3

his spit i savour

my swallowed keepsake switchblade

incising villi

absorbed by hungry bloodstreams

my own saliva smoulders




segment of short story

"When I came back in, Siggi had slouched into a puddle of human flesh. He looked as though he might be falling asleep. I had to rile him, get his blood pumping again. I wanted to see his smile stretching his face. I wanted to see his teeth. I threw a spoon at him to interrupt the clouds floating around his head and when he laughed his adam’s apple slid up and down his throat. “Hey,” he yelled.

“I’m sorry, I had to,” I laughed back. At this point,I just wanted his shoulder against mine. I wanted to be on that scabby loveseat. Maybe he’d lean on me and I could cushion his fuzzy buzzed head with my loose curls.

He got up without warning and snatched the box of cereal from my hands and that’s when I got him into a headlock. We were wrestling like kids, using real, genuine muscle. While trying to escape my grip, his head tore through the back of the hideously upholstered armchair I was sitting in and the headrest snapped clear off. We tired out after about a minute, after which we laid side by side, giggling, chests heaving. I rolled over quickly before I could think about it twice and took his bony face in my hands. His mouth tasted like pomegranate juice. His mom bought it by the flat. He always had a bottle with him at school. We smelled each other’s smoky skin and told our tongues not to swallow each other whole. The cold metal of my nose ring was squishing up against my own cheek. When we both finally stopped to breathe and our faces came into focus, he was looking at me like I’d torn his arms off. He got up slowly while I closed my watery eyes and cradled my reeling head with my hands. All I heard after that was him throwing the shed door open so hard it smacked against the siding and the slam of his skateboard against the pavement, shredding off into suburbia."



There’s a

 give and

  take with

   stretch and

    strain a


      beauty that

       comes from

        pain the

         growth that

          comes from your




               embroiders your

                 innards so you can wake up and be





 A m t T ar Y u Fa      n   T

    l os   e     o r    ce I        wo


                                              your jaw quickly springs back

                                               into its lovely place, lips

                                                stretching into a smile to

                                                  greet the grey morning sky

Awe, or, The Lasting Effect of Qing-bai Wares in Southeast Asia


introductory paragraph of research essay, published in 2018 in the "Journal of Visual and Critical Studies"

"Over centuries of international trade, China has gradually nurtured a vigorous influence over vast territories and cultures with its advanced technology, experimentation, and artistry. When Blue and White porcelain wares from Jingdezhen finally made it to Europe, they were cherished in every which way: displayed in private collections, imitated for local markets, even portrayed in Renaissance paintings as a symbol of mysticism, wealth, and the East. Eventually, these wares found their way into North American culture and are to this day a symbol of China’s artistic prowess and knack for innovation and production. Although these wares were widely imitated and sought after in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East,they never quite managed to replace entire cultural ceramic practices. This is, however, not the case for the Southeast Asia and its imported Southern Song dynasty(1127-1279 CE) qing-bai or ying-qing wares. In fact, these delicate ceramics were so readily incorporated into Indonesian, Pilipino, and even certain Thai cultures that they became ubiquitous: used in just about every ritual, rite of passage, and routine meal. These new Chinese wares, ranging from light blue to dove grey, light green to olive, were seen as otherworldly and pure due to their unique glaze and mysterious make (Gompertz). These export wares took on more traditionalSoutheast Asian forms such as the Kendi, the Martaban, and the water dropper. Through the in-depth analysis of these export ying-qing wares, and their roles not only as objects of religious worship and daily use, but also their distinct natural and chemical makeup, the modern reader will subsequently be able to consider the power of contemporary manufactured wares and their aesthetic roots."



Philip K Dick,

You think with your

lastname sometimes

Sometimes a philistine

You probably knew which

corner of reality would

tear open for you to step into

when your senses


                                           in this one

                                                       You now live in

                                                     your own


                                             overgrown dimension

                            a plane wrought with greenery and freedom

                 where you are just








Weekly leakage and hormone peakage for as long as a

Baby can live in my


Hunger so full yet constantly emptying only to need more



Industry of strings and liners that solve all the problems

Blue pinball flippers on

White band-aids stickers

Flicking away red like it’s their job because it is

And whose job is it to produce white capsules of ultimate absorbency?

These companies will sell me glorified cotton balls

                                       Until I blissfully float upstream...

Using Format