Poetry & Writing

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Homage to Boy George

At night I’d drink blue cough syrup and lie down

to listen to Boy George croon, “Do you really want to hurt me?”

That year I was sixteen and had his poster of “Kissing

to be Clever” tacked to the wall of the room I shared

with my sister in the Sunset district where Chinese families

moved after doing their time in Chinatown.

Every morning I’d pack my school bag with spray-on fuchsia

hair color, jeans from Goodwill, and Dad’s sweater vest,

and wait on 19th Avenue for the 28 Bus to take me to school

where I could make my transformation and escape my life

of being a good Chinese girl who carried chickens for Mom

when she went shopping in Chinatown or translated for her

and her friends at the unemployment office.

At Lowell High School I was a disaster—the weird girl

with a ski slope on her head held up with a pound of V05.

Peer pressure from the very, very cool Chinese-American girls

in their wavy wedge platforms and Members Only jackets

didn’t stop me from wearing Dad’s ratty avocado sweater vest.

In the girl’s bathroom every morning, I drew in my black eyeliner.

My family realized God had found the ultimate way to torment

them in America. The first love of their precious pearl’s life

was Boy George, a man with perfect make-up wearing a dress.

Late that spring, my extended family called a conference

for an intervention. Uncle Bing said, “That’s how it all starts.

The funny people will recruit her, thinking she’s one of them.”

Dad wondered why couldn’t I be normal, put up a picture of Mick Jagger.

My sister chimed in, “The kids in our science class think she’s a misfit

and don’t know we’re related.” Auntie Agnes was concerned

that the Emporium might not let her exchange the sweater she got me

at half price. It was the eighties. They didn’t know. I was just the first kid

to grow up in my family in a time before Chinese men started wearing pink.

                                                                                      Priscilla Lee

My autographed photo of Boy George.  

I wrote Boy George and he actually wrote me back.  Handwritten Christmas Card from Boy George from 1983

Another autographed photo of Boy George from 1983

Boy George is following me on Twitter!

Boy George makeup book

Small poster like the first one I had up in my room when I was 17 years old.
I had gotten it at the Psychedelic Head Shop in San Francisco.