New Essay: Being Lonely

My daughter stood by herself in the playground. Her short brown hair was in a small, messy ponytail. Her pink dress, full of flowers in bloom, floated about her as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other. She wrung her hands. She bit her lips. She climbed up the side to the top of the yellow slide. She climbed down again. A little boy ran passed her and she moved so he would have more room for his run. She turned toward the swings and looked at the little girls in their brightly colored hijabs, lifting each other on the swing, laughing and falling, pulling each other down and then up again. There was a little Hmong girl with long black hair crying at the edge of the playground. A teacher stood close by, saying words I couldn’t make out. My daughter stood by herself, unaware that I was looking.

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Bee Yang

Hmong song poetry | kwv txhiaj hmoob

Thaum Hluas Txog Hnub Laus: When the Days of Youth are Gone (Bee Yang, 2014)

This is an album of Hmong song poetry, kwv txhiaj hmoob, composed and sung by Bee Yang, Kao Kalia Yang’s father. The album notes and English translation of one of the songs are by Kao Kalia Yang.

Kwv txhiaj is, in the words of Ralph Ellison on the American Blues, “an impulse to keep the painful details and episodes of a brutal experience alive in one’s aching consciousness, to finger its jagged grain, and to transcend it, not by the consolation of philosophy but by squeezing from it a near-tragic, near-cosmic lyricism. As a form, the blues [and kwv txhiaj] is an autobiographical chronicle of personal catastrophe expressed lyrically.”

NOTE:  The duration of the songs do not reflect the actual song length.  Please consider ordering the CD for the full songs.  Thank you.

*This CD is available for purchase for $15.  Click below to order:

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