What Will Asian America Eat
After the Revolution?
by Tony Osumi


What will Asian America eat after the revolution?
From hunger and greed
to love and nourishment
What will we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner
before, during, and after this great transformation?

What can we eat
that will not contradict movements for freedom
will not support another’s greed
rob us of our pocketbooks
screw with our minds
and momentarily numb us of the present horrors

What will we eat that keeps us strong and rooted

Could we grow and prepare our own foods?
Collect rain water and re-vegetate the L.A. River?
Support the people who cut, pick, prune, and hoe the land

Let Thai restaurants cook without catering to potato palates
Turn golf courses into animal sanctuaries
letting weeds and brush run wild

Not allow our children to be reared in the clutches of Happy Meals
but read to them our foreparent’s haiku
sing them songs about "freeing the land"
and guide young fingers over taunt koto strings

Supermarkets turned into co-ops
growing vegetables on their roofs

Mc Donald’s turned into free medical clinics
Kentucky Fried Chicken and El Pollo Loco chickens set free
Pizza Hut and Dominos choking on each other’s tasteless dry crust
as they scramble to flee neighborhood control

69 cents
half-cooked
logo wrapped
Taco Bells, stripped
and turned into youth centers
with arts supplies
reading rooms
and warm couches
to "talk story"
with community elders

Imagine
subdividing mansions
converting their spacious lawns into gardens and parks
providing food and energy for their former servants
No longer allow Minute Maid to burn 40% of its oranges
to control supply
and demand

But will we demand
justice from the bottom up
Demand not only a piece of the pie, but to bake thousands together
so rich and thick that everyone eats and grows

But remember,
transformation will not happen
with a flip of a switch
real democracy is not fast food
we must to turn the soil for tomorrow’s harvest

Today, we only plant the rice for our children’s children
but what a simmering feast they will inherit

What can we eat now
that says we want to be free
struggling to be free, laying bricks to be free
continuing our ancestor’s fight to be free

Plastic spoons
plastic knives
plastic forks
plastic cups
plastic earth
plastic lives

Shrink-wrapped
generic
one for all
and all for one
land-grabbing
crunchy munchies

There is something healthier
more filling
more nutritious
than their germ drenched
assimilationist meat

We will not lose the caring and sharing inherent in our chests

Do we have the courage to ask
who in our community is not eating
to resist material bulimia
and together attack the reasons why we all hunger
to support a gluttonous few


Do we?

This piece was written early in my relationship with Tony. I didn't fully understand what he was writing about at the time. I thought it was a little nutso. But when I went to Cuba in August 2001, I immediately thought about this piece. Ideas that seemed radical and unattainable to me then, were profoundly visible in Cuba, with free medical clinics, subdivided mansions, youth centers and organic farming.-- Jenni Kuida


Originally published in The Rafu Shimpo, October 31, 1995

Updated: 8/17/02

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