ISSN 1551-8086
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  August 2010
volume 8 number 2
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  contributing poets
  Renae Andruse
  John-Patrick Ayson
  Lek Borja
  Sumiko Braun
  Terry Clark
  Christopher Coleman
  Kumari de Silva
  Chris Derrico
  Summer Griffiths
  KJ Hays
  Georgia Jones-Davis
  Eric Lawson
  Marie Lecrivain
  Noah Lederman
  Christopher Mulrooney
  Jason Neese
  David E. Patton
  Angel Uriel Perales
  Luivette Resto
  Sonya Sabanac
  Annette Sugden
  Tim Tipton
  Jessica Wilson
  Abigail Wyatt
  mailing list
Sumiko Braun
August 2010



art by the feral artist

    Born and raised in Carson, CA, Sumiko Braun is a writer whose work is largely influenced by her experiences as a working single mother, as a queer mixed-race woman of color, and as a Buddhist peace and justice advocate. She just released her first poetry chapbook, Becoming: A Journey to Complete Samsara (2009), which can be purchased on Blacklava (
    Sumiko has featured at several southern California events and venues, including Tuesday Night Café, Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture (FPAC) Generations Stage, Model of Pride Youth Conference at Occidental College, Queer People of Color Conference at UC San Diego, GenderQueer Revolution's Cabaret Performance and Visual Art Exhibit, Trans/Giving, Trans/Giving Express at UC Los Angeles and Pomona College, Carson Student Movement's CONNEXIONS, Gardena High School Taskforce's Alabaza, and at Concerts 4 Cats for the Long Beach Women's Music, Art, and Dance Festival. She has been published in the Mixt Up Productions All Mixed Up chapbook, and is a former member of the 2006 CSU Long Beach Poetry Slam Team.
    Sumiko also works with One Imagination, a community-based arts organization in the Long Beach/South Bay area, and holds a BA in Asian American Studies from CSU Long Beach.



Love, No Longer an Abstract

The Buddhist monk said to me

You never dreamt that life would turn out this way
That the gray hairs would come in so suddenly
Okay, so theres just one
But its enough for you to remember days when anything seemed possible.

The past is an illusion,
Our regrets from the past cause us suffering,

Days of innocence
Turned into nights of your esophagus being ripped out of your own throat,
Your voice stolen by those who turned their back on you in alienation.

Days of hope and idealism
Turned into nights of feeding and changing and crying
And feeding and changing and rocking
And singing and rocking and singing and feeding and ah sleep.

And the future does not exist,
Our anxieties about the future cause us suffering.

Your experiences, your reflections on the past
Theyre supposed to give you some sort of wisdom, arent they?
And there is all this pressure to be bigger, better than you ever were
And you are.

Because now a two month old infant is completely and entirely dependent on you
For nourishment, for enrichment, for life.
You have no choice but to stand a stronger (though sleep deprived) person.

These are relative truths.
But this present moment,
We are not suffering.
We need nothing.

The meaning of life has changed.
The importance of life has changed.
The labor that stressed your body to the point of developing signs of early aging
Is not the labor whose rights you once fought for in the streets.

That is absolute truth,
There is no birth, no death,
No suffering, no joy,

This struggle, this need to struggle, is all the more apparent.
What you do now, how you act now, will have all the impact later
For your son.
Your son. Your son. Your son.
An amazing realization of your contribution to mother earth,
to the future
to the next generation
and generations to come.

Those without child could never understand
Until they experience it for themselves
What its like to have such a deep profound
Emotional connection to another little human being.

And that is nirvana-
The extinction of all concepts.

You never dreamt that life could turn out this way
Its better than you imagined.

copyright 2009 Sumiko Braun