Flumes Volume 2: Issue 1, Summer 2017 - Page 32


Jassi and I talked about this time, because during the evacuations, I returned from where I had been in the Bay Area to assist the organization I volunteer with, (in case people needed help.) She was frightened and wasn’t sure what to do. I remember letting her know that I thought she was going to be okay where she was, and that she shouldn’t panic.

JKB: I was so scared, because me and my brother are the only ones who can drive. My parents were panicked at first, because we thought the dam actually broke. I said, let’s get the heck out of here. That little girl has not come back to me since. I think she wanted me to feel it.

I tell Jassi that I can see such a change in her. When I first met her she was very quiet and kept to herself, and it’s as if she found her voice.

JGH: Do you think that writing helped that?

JKB: Oh yeah. Not just that, but I had to get over some anxiety and not let people push me around.

Jassi says that she doesn’t want to give a stereotypical impression of needing a man, but her boyfriend really helped her find the strength to ask for and go for what she wants in life and to be happy.

Soon after this Jassi’s mother comes home and comes into the room to say hello. This is the first time I have gotten to meet her, and she is just as wonderful as Jassi has described. Jassi and I have been talking for nearly two hours at this point and her mother offers to make us some lunch. Samosas are on the menu, and I am absolutely delighted.

Jassi and I get back to poetry and discuss line breaks and the fact that she uses white space as a pause.

JKB: So when you see the white space that is a pause.

When she writes a piece, she thinks about performing it. So, when she performs in front of people, she likes short lines. Pauses, she thinks, are super important and although she uses grammar in her prose, she doesn’t care as much in poetry. She also explains that, while I saw her first reading at the Sac Poetry Center at an Asian diaspora reading and she respects and admires the people there, she felt very out of place there.