At my burgher exam they told me to write
a paragraph in Dutch on multiculturalism.
I threw a handful of sequins onto the table
and called it an act of terrorism.
They elected me Prime Minister;
I outlawed Zwarte Piet.
“From now on,” I proclaimed,
“There will be no more blackface,
We will stitch sequins onto the skin
of those that covet tradition.
This is what it means to be Dutch.
I am Dutch, so I know.”
The Sequined Piets were my lovers.
They were my servants
but I also called them my friends.
We had sequined meetings where we
achieved consensus and stitched more sequins
onto each other. Oh yes, I allowed one sequin
to be stitched onto my forehead.
I love sequined food,
and sometimes I practice yoga.
It helps me carry the burden
of making unilaterally horizontal decisions.
On television we watch the braiding
of manes of Frisian horses.
I find horses alarming and distasteful,
and I’m glad they’re far away,
where no one wants to go,
except when the canals are frozen.
I ask why there’s no word for feminism in Frisian.
They tell me they’re beyond needing it.
The farmer seeks a wife, and these polders
are lined with sequins. Just seek one and win.
Even the chickens here achieve emancipation.
I place a sequin gently into the opening –
when the sequined eggs emerge
I’ll protect their honor.
Oh, yes, they ran free,
I’ll say with confidence,
but they chose to be modest.
Only the cows judge and distrust them.
The cows don’t understand their systematic oppression.
Still, we must acknowledge their reproductive labor…
Don’t talk to me about “reproductive labor!”
I’m telling you I’m your prime minister!
It’s what the Moroccans embroider into tulips,
it’s what the Chinese spray into our playgrounds.
And there are daddy days and study days
and meat-hacked days but today is the day
for sequins! I’m your prime minister,
_____I just want you to be normal.
What’s normal is to wear sequins
and to make everything into a festival.
What’s normal is dancing in sequence.
If you don’t like my dancing and drinking
sequins on rosy terraces,
you can rot off to where you came from!
Sequins never rot. They’re sprinkled.
These are Holland’s New Sequins,
and this is how you eat them with onions.
Then a Rotten Piet tells me,
This is the story
of the tragic and enduring
Dutch romance with sequins –
but surely it was always consensual!
Our sequins are heavy,
we’re embarrassed by our riches,
but still we’re an enlightened people.
I’ll burgher you hard so you know.
By Mia You