Karen Leong

Karen Leong is a writer of poetry, prose, and nonfiction. Her works mainly involve Hong Kong, women of colour, and her lived experience in straddling both. She has been featured on Cantocutie, ZAMI, Doof Magazine, and Vice Asia. She plucks inspiration from reclamation and desire.
In her spare time, she scrapbooks, performs, and waxes poetic about being an Aries sun.”

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See her poetry below, titled “thrice alone”

I. on waning

full bellied moon
what is mid autumn to you?
dangle on the precipice low hanging bloom
I, wasting away runny like the yolk like the
Mooncake guts velvet on my tongue
balm on my soul and splits my lip
My grandmother wears red and her head
lowers thread by thread low hanging bloom

yesterday I was cinder like
carry smoke and weight
stained reflections in formed gutters
now my face is the moon
shucked off all its hard lines
Let myself be round cheeked pockmark and smile
crowning here the crowning joy of it all
can a motif be exhausted if it belongs to people, me, us?
slat the beams where the rabbit princess dangles
my grandfather seated next to her; home spun on waxy planes
and today of all days i can see
lucid clear are their eyes while mine glisten
dyed yellow in the low hanging bloom

II. land-locked sea


Silver bird twitching into gear
the pews pin drop against the low whine
engine oil that sputters take me, me
loosely assembled for a passengerless plane
I, the same
I, pared down

These aisles could be glided down
My mother shed less of her for me
The four chambers of my heart cleaved less severely
North east for auspicious roots
South west where I will be
There is no view so I settle in my skin
I am no love child of the east
and west I am Writhing
against inhabiting a place
only to be wrested away when I just start to ripen
start to wrap the word home in my mouth
Even the cantonese is stilted and tinny
from above my head, cajoling
Time to fasten
Let the words drip
Collected and bagged,
until they too curdle
stretched like whey across the sea

III. a response of sorts


On bad days, are we meant to wield?
pen like gunmetal
kiss the sword of those who spit
flecks dusted like snow on our cheeks

we are in praxis
But we bruise like fruit
online today I yell pretty nothings at what
it means to be slope and valley
Keyboard tiles are not an armistice for eyes that don’t crease
but wilt

under attack is a light way to put what unclenches inside
when i hear my garbled tongue
from gooseflesh and wrinkled skin
He hurt me, smoothed over like a worry stone
He hurt me, the lines past and present
vivisect as I watch mes crumple, wind out of sail
sorrow is borrowed and sowed
Sowed and borrowed from those who came
landlocked and spread forth
wear, tear or worse yet — seeking home
An immigrant story is one that refashions itself
Temporal, shining
Beacon of spittle adorned as a badge
Twelve months and insurrections later
caution is thrown at the wind
and we grab at it with empty hands