Poetry

The Terrible Transformation

Being an artist is the most difficult thing I've ever had to be. Putting myself and my work out in the world. Responding authentically to what is in front of me. Not letting my mind slip back into sleep. Having clarity about my intentions. Being thoughtful about what stories I release into the world.

There are many times I would rather say, "I cannot do this. This is not for me."

It has been almost a year since I last sent out a post. I'm happy to say it's because I have been busy building up my intuitive energy practice. It is also because I have been challenging myself as an artist. This summer I trained at American Conservatory Theater's Summer Training Congress. For five weeks, I committed myself to being an artist.

I had no idea what that fully meant. For over 10 hours every day, I showed up to class challenging myself to be physically-emotionally-mentally present. Being fully awake was the most difficult tasks I've experienced in my life.

My poem, The Terrible Transformation, is based on a journal that I wrote during my training. It is a poem about change, the creative process and the lessons I learned about not only being an artist, but about being awake to life.

This poem is dedicated to all of us who are brave enough to wrestle with and challenge our lives.

The Great Movement

Despite the horror of the U.S. election results and the daily unfolding of vitriolic and hateful events happening around this country, I witness the beauty of people working together, standing up together and breaking down their silos to re-create and imagine community. This poem was inspired by Grace Lee's film American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs. Grace Lee Boggs said that "evolution is the revolution" and that brought chills to my spine. Here's to our evolution!

Hands Constructed 手工

From Sept 8-11, 2016 at CounterPulse Theater SF, I will be performing as part of Dohee Lee's exquisite and powerful ARA Ritual I: Waterways.

My dreams have been realized as I have had the privilege to be part of the creative team. I worked with Bay Area Bhutanese Youth, an amazing team of artists (Dohee Lee, Lauren Geiger and Jose Navarrete) and Peralta Hacienda (Victor Moreno) to workshop amazing youth voices.

I have also been part of CoRazOn, an Oakland collective of immigrant and refugee artists and performers. In this intimate and vulnerable space, we have explored stories of home, ancestors, hopes and dreams.

This has been a deeply meaningful process for me. Some of you may remember my story "Fulfilling a Dream in Theater" where I shared my mom's childhood dreams of dancing and acting. Performing in ARA is a tribute to my mom and ancestors who have dreamed of storytelling through art. I am also indebted to the many immigrants and refugees who have shared their stories with me and whose voices will be echoed in this performance.

Hands Constructed is a piece that comes from this summer's process. I hope you will join us to witness and participate in ARA Ritual I: Waterways. Stories are our medicine.

To purchase tickets: http://www.counterpulse.org/event/dohee-lee-waterways/

The Psalmist’s Cry

This month's poem is dedicated to my co-workers and friends who have spoken up for the truth. I and another colleague were fired last week. To date, 8 others have taken a stand and resigned.

To learn more about what has happened at Community Health for Asian Americans click: https://www.change.org/p/alameda-board-of-supervisors-save-oakland-services-at-chaa-for-asian-pacific-islander-immigrant-and-refugees/u/16744253

While our hearts are sad about the injustice of a few, the many will continue to bring seeds of hope and promise to this earth.

Peace, Amy

Infinitesimal

To heal means to remember and to remember means to let go. These past couple of months have been especially difficult for me as I have been immersed in a lot of healing, remembering, and letting go of trauma. The amazing thing is that in my sorrow and grief, my body would not let me die. My body knew something greater than my mind did. It knew that I am infinitesimal.

May this poem encourage those of you, who like me at times, feel your sadness and pain to be singular. I hope you find comfort in being infinitesimally beyond yourself.

A New Revolution

This poem is a tribute to the memory and work of Grace Lee Boggs, activist, philosopher and writer. I am inspired by her words, "I don't know what the next American revolution is going to be like. But we might be able to imagine it if the imagination were rich enough." Here is to our next American revolution.....

Prayer to Mother Ocean

Every year, a healing ceremonial waterwalk is led by Indigenous peoples here in the Bay Area at Ocean Beach in SF.

Last year I had the privilege to attend and share in community, sending prayers of healing for our waters.

The Chinese character for ocean is pictorially depicted as "Mother Ocean". While I could not join this year's waterwalk, this prayer came to me from Mother Ocean to share with all.

Blessings, Amy

The Remember Bones

In the midst of a world full of excitement and possibilities, it is easy to forget that the treasure we are seeking is sometimes right within us.

On this full moon, The Remember Bones reminds us to take time to sit and marvel at the universe within.

*poem published in Borderland Practice Anthology

Possibilities

In the Christian tradition, Resurrection Sunday is a celebration. A celebration of life in the face of death, hope in the face of despair, light in the face of darkness.

This month's poem "Possibilities" is a remembrance of life renewed.

Mirrored Reflection

This week has been one blessed with encounters of mirrored reflections by dear sisters, fellow soul travelers on this planet. One of sharing parallel moments on this journey of life, reminding me that the personal is so intimately universal and the universal personally offers powerful myths from which we can glean truths in our own lives.

Thank you for myth. Thank you for a knowing that comes from sensation. Thank you for realities yet unseen. Thank you for moments of presence, my dear sisters.

APOLOGY UNACCEPTED

Disaster. Tragedy. War. Both personal and collective. This year we have seen suffering and injustice interrupt the lives of many across the world.

Mothers cried for their daughters lost never returned home from school. Sisters on the other side of the moon wept for brothers vanished on the seas. And fathers feared for the lives of their sons who are presumed guilty for the color of their skin.

What can we possibly say about justice, fairness, and our fate? What are the words of comfort we can offer to each other?

Apology Unaccepted is a poem that gives voice to the human struggle with loss. May we find space to grieve and comfort in our loss.

In Witness, Amy Grace Lam

*poem featured in VONA/Voices Writers Against Racial Injustice and forthcoming in the Seed Journal

Divine Intervention

For many of us, May has been a month of integration, realignment and reawakening. For me, this came in the form of a call from my brother that my family received last week. He was suffering from chest pain, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. For 24 hours, my brother stayed in the hospital. For 24 hours, my family did not know what to expect. I saw my brother's life teeter on the seesaw of life and death. And I realized, too, that all of life lies at this fragile crossroad.

Today, I am thankful not only for my brother's life, but for all of life as well. I hope to share with you musings that this event sparked in me. And I start first, with Divine Intervention.