1. People will always ask why,
Say they want to work as a barista,
They’d love to live in Hawai’i.
Resist the urge to spit
Instead, reply –
You fear water and planes; you’ll need both just to get there.
This is essentially the same thing.
2. When your boyfriend asks why you won’t dance hula for him,
Says you can move your hips like a coffee grinder,
His Island Dream Girl,
As if doing so is writing his name on your coffee cup,
Remember: your purpose is not to satisfy his exotic thirst.
3. Do not say how your family lived crammed into a tiny coffee shack,
Where you had brewed too long and gone bitter.
4. An espresso cannot express your pain.
5. Do not say how your grandfather worked that farm.
Used his blood and sweat as irrigation,
How he harvested your crop, filtered out all of your sweet innocence,
Until the smell of coffee made you sick.
6. Do not tell him how Mama said your grandfather was senile,
As if that could make the scenes disappear,
Or cut the burnt taste of unripe fruit boiled before their time.
This is not easy for people to digest.
7. Your boyfriend takes creamer in his Americano
To pale the taste and make the brownness easier to swallow.
It’s too strong in its natural state to digest.
8. You take humor with your triggers
To make them easier to swallow and
Spit sex jokes like they don’t burn your tongue.
He will tell you it’s in poor taste.
It’s not a good enough excuse to use the word penetration.
9. Neither is dementia.
10. When they ask you why you don’t like coffee,
Do not filter the memories and the blood and the sweat,
The brownness from your body or sugarcoat your story.
Poor them a cup: include every last drop
Roasted to perfection
And ask them how it tastes.
Note: Hapa is a Hawaiian term used to describe a person who is of both Asian Islander and Caucasian ancestry or origin.
Angelia Saplan is a creative writing and marketing double major at Linfield College graduating in May 2016. She currently serves as an Editor for Linfield’s Literary Arts Magazine, Camas. She has given presentations regarding literature and creative writing at several undergraduate and international conferences, as well as performed original work at poetry slams.Angelia enjoys Seahawks football, video games, Rubik’s cubes and believes any day can be made better with a cup of tea and a good book. She left her heart overseas and hopes to return to England for graduate school.
Angelia lives with her family in Olympia, Washington. “10 Notes on Being Hapa and Disliking Coffee” is her first publication outside of undergraduate magazines.