I do not belong

I do not belong
to your conversation

apathy, hdb prices, intellectuals,
the difference
a subsidy and a discount.

neither do I belong to the words
that are my birthright
my black hair
my yellow skin
I had no choice in the matter
so your accusation still rings

The loss of hope
is that not reason enough
to bemoan
the state of me-ness
that I am sorry
I inflict on you
laughing in your car
about tongkat ali and condoms
not subsidies and discounts

On a very pretty floor,
with 26 dollar appetizers
and 66 dollar mains
purple lights on faces
wine and champagne
you wanted me to go
a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
to look at the view
I keep my mouth shut
and balance precariously between
condescension and modesty
went and left

I lie
to avoid the inevitable questions
the shrugging of the shoulders
the looking away
the realization


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