An Ode to MC Jin Ending in Response to the Chinese Virus Outbreak
The outbreak poured
all over the hallways
flooding with freestyles.
Biters with their teeth marks
on another person’s rhymes.
The truest emcees, always stay ready
to spit some sick shit.
Walking into the lunchroom with punch lines
like concealed weapons, ready to draw
if someone starts banging to the beat of “Grinding”
on the lunch tables.
Emerged on national TV
a Chinky eyed rapper cloaked in oversized hip hop gear,
freestyle battled for 7 straight weeks
and crowned champion,
inspired me to have my own voice and rebuttals
to anything racist or xenophobic.
I learned to have an adrenaline rush
for any enemy to get crushed.
I learned to have confidence
in times that were ominous.
My sharpened tongue, the best shield and weapon.
Figuring out figures of speech
when they tried to disfigure me
with off-colored comments.
I cleared the air and deflected every bullet with humor.
I became so immune to their attacks.
But today, I don’t have a back-pocket punchline,
rhyme scheme, or rebuttal to flip this global pandemic.
When they say I look like the source,
words of hate have turned into harassment.
Paranoia has turned into a boycott of family-owned Chinese restaurants.
Rampant misinformation has created the greatest deformations.
People are dying
They’re trying to find a cure, some kind of treatment.
I am no doctor,
but I know this is not how anybody should be treated.
I don’t even feel comfortable in public coughing,
Without someone trying to put a nail in it.
And that’s nothing to sneeze at.
No hand washing or hand sanitizer will clean you of your phobias.
So let me take off my mask.
Every breath I have ever taken had to be perfect.
I have never been scared of any virus except this strain
made of stress.
The fear, the tactics deployed to break me down,
their reasons, their insecurities
calling me unclean.
Stripping me of my manhood to sterilize me.
Until they need my culture for another trend.
Until their dragon lady fetish kicks back in.
Until they need something from Amazon or Walmart.
I have been doing this beyond my reach of seven weeks.
I have championed for my dignity.
I lived this before, time and time again.
I have never turned down a battle.
I am always coming back to this lunchroom,
Attacked, needing to be ready for what may be said
to whoever I need to say it to.
Sick or not, they will always prefer me with my mouth covered.
Masaki Takahashi is a spoken word artist from Lansing, MI, and the founder/host of The Poetry Room Open Mic. Masaki loves hip hop and poetry. These art forms have allowed him to be able to share his story as a first-generation immigrant. Masaki was named one of “Six people to watch: Leaders making a difference in Lansing business scene and community” by the Lansing State Journal. Above all, Masaki is most proud of workshopping with local high school students in the Lansing area and watching their growth. For more on Masaki, please visit
IG: @TheOriginalSaki, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/theoriginalsaki,
or website: www.the517poetryroom.com.