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Ashley C. Lanuza
June 2024

Ashley C. Lanuza is a published author, editor, spoken word poet, and lifelong learner. She is a born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Film Studies and Asian American Studies. Her writing experience spans from the creative to the analytical. Her interests vary, too: lifestyle, travel, culture, relationships, psychology, art, film, and Los Angeles. Her debut poetry collection, My Heart of Rice: a Poetic Filipino American Experience, can be found at your favorite online retailer. Ashley is currently studying for her Master's in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge.

 kamayan (hands)


Home is made of

sticky white rice

boiling sauce, thick and meaty

sizzling cloves and slices

humming tea kettles

and the food you’ve made,

its steam curling to the ceiling.

Fried fish sits on the table,

salted and seared

by the market down the street.

Jasmine rice on my plate,

sterling silver spoons shine

beside the fork.

I avoid utensils

in favor of five fine fingers.

Thumb touching

index, middle, ring, and pinky,

I pick up my rice.

You sit across from me,

mild irritation sprinkled

in your voice as you say

Pick up your spoon.

Pick up your fork.

Do not use your hands.

We are in America.

the good


Music blasts from the sharply-tuned band and I

throw a week’s earnings to greedy fingers and I

grab this woman’s smooth fingers into my calloused palms.

Her skin is milky white to my caramel brown and I

hold her tall stature and caress her blonde hair and I

look into her blue eyes trying to find myself and I

cannot find me,

but this is all I have for romance.


the bad

And I step into the crisp air of midnight

and knuckles grab the lapel of my suit

and my fingers slip from the door

and my head pounds on the black cement—

and I hold my breath.

And their masculine bodies pounce on me

like lions attacking prey.

And their milky white bodies kick mine until

my caramel skin paints the pavement red.


And the crunch of my bones, the slaps on my skin

break me

like the pieces of my already-fractured spirit.

Go back to where you came from!

blends with the sound of cracking cartilage

And I scream in silence

because no one wants to hear me.

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