blackmail press 31  Marginalization
Valerie Wong

Marginalization - Pauline Canlas Wu
Valerie Wong was born in Toronto, grew up in Hong Kong and is currently studying international business at New York University. A self-proclaimed Third Culture Kid, she is at once a local and a foreigner wherever she goes. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing and eating…


For all her fluency, there is something off about her.
She looks the part, acts the part, speaks the part.
Her voice glides across mazes of consonants and vowels
--some would call it betrayal--but she has her tells.
The Britishisms that slip out in the spur of the moment,
the hybrid chameleon accent that brings with it the world,
her subtle foreignness.
Her eyes slide furiously, deliberately slippery,
unaccustomed to the incessant loudness of this country,
the tedium of the endless “how are yous” and “thanks yous”
spoken with all the sincerity of an answering machine.
And so she drifts through the gilded revolving doors of the City,
afraid she’ll be caught out for the imposter she is.

Divided We Stand

After the initial rush
of curiosity fades,
all we are left with is
a dried up river
of conversation,
and the ghostly
shambles of a bridge
that culture and class cannot cross;
mutual misunderstanding.