“Hapa” by Sam Louie


I don’t quite fit in,
not 100% Asian,
nor 100% “American.”

 

Call me, “Hapa,”
Hawaiian for mixed,
half-breed,
bi-racial,
rejected, not accepted,
unwanted,
no tribe to call my own,
all I want really is to belong,
a place, I can call home.

 

I live in the land in-between,
Like the Hebrews during Exodus,
wandering in the desert,
looking for comfort and rest,
searching for my identity,
only to have others say quizzically,
“You don’t look like me!”

 

Not White enough to fit in with the mainstream,
nor Asian enough to be a minority.
I’m constantly teased,
not comfortable being just me.

 

I’m confounded,
conflicted,
cursed,
caught in a cultural cross-fire.
Who will leave me alone?
Better yet, who will accept me as their own?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Louie is a first-generation Chinese-American psychotherapist with a focus on Asian addictions and cultural issues. He is also an Emmy Award-winning former journalist who currently writes for Psychology Today on issues related to race and culture. In addition, he writes and performs poetry addressing issues related to immigrant experiences, culture, addictions, and recovery.  samlouiemft.com