A Refugee Woman on Antidepressants: Essay

A Refugee Woman on Antidepressants

Kho Kho Siab is loneliness in the Hmong language. Kho is to fix. Siab is to heart. Fix the heart. Please.

The woman laid on the sofa, her head on its leathery arm, her cell phone in her hand. She’d put on weight. With each breath she took, her stomach rose, a soft mound of flesh beneath the polyester shirt she wore. She needed a haircut. Her black hair kept short had grown long, its strands covering most of her eyes like a teenage boy’s. Her hair hadn’t been this greasy since the days when she worked the night shift and then spent the rest of her time caring for her young children. The time she could use to wash her hair, she used to sleep instead.

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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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