A painting based off a poem about the Japanese folklore where thunder god steal children's belly buttons during thunder storms. I appropriate this lore to extend its meaning to my disconnection with culture and home. I first wrote this idea as a poem (copied below).
Art and poem exhibited with Creatives of Color Boston and Multicultural Arts Center through the exhibit "Krik? Krak!"
A Cord to Nowhere 
(How I've Given Up My Belly Button Many Times to the Thunder Gods)

I took in Raiju again tonight -
a mere pup from the sky, furrowed 
with lightning zipped hairs, her tail cracking
through massive sullen clouds.
With blitzing furor 
she ravaged the sky with blinding strikes of
electric fire. 
I’m a child, wanting to run 
far far away from my bed like every other night.
I’m a child, loathing
to face the next day where the morning sun 
subjects me to its burning uncaring smile, 
singeing the tips of my eyelashes and bangs
with smoky ash that no one else can see.
I’m a child, stuck
between birth and self-awareness.
A familiar flash
Lightning beckoned 
my attention as I waited 
for that familiar pup.
I gazed up from my open window
Letting the bitter rain and thunder pierce my thin skin.
I waited for Raiju 
who battled her world underneath the grave and formidable 
Raijin- 
pounding against echoes, drumming against the fierce wind
for all the heavens and earth to hear below.
Rajin’s drums bang and rumble through the bones of Raiju-
da-Don!  
da-Don! 
Don!  Don!  Don! 
Raijin bellows the storms through Raiju's steeping rage 
when 

she escapes, again.
a streak of light slithered through the sky
in a lost blink. 

And Raiju and I catch each other
in sight
and at the speed of 
light - she fills my window, first a horrible sight of 
storm, blinding static, and fury, she then
shrinks…
shrinks…
shrinks...
and shivers
to the size of my unblinking brown eye.
In her tiniest, shrivelled form, she crawls across my skin
and claims her usual home-
a dusty cavity where I once breathed and sipped
through a cord, nutrients that fed 
my brown eyes that blinked
in primordial soup -
that fed my delicate fingers, flicking specs 
of watery dreams -
that fed my coarse, black hair, swishing with the convulsions -
my immigrant mother's once loving motions.
Zips of residual anger fluttered over my navel
and settled 
into soft heart beats -
da-don 
da-don
da-don
da-don
da-don
da-don
This craterous spot in my belly
filled with heat I could breathe into my whole body. 
Was this thunder dog yearning 
for that lost cord?
Or - were we both sharing this ditch together 
hiding,
from our own homes?

d d-da-Donn!
The restless master Raijin blasted through my window with a gust, his own belly full
with destructive pride as he took a lightning bolt out from behind and 
c r ac k e d ! tiny Raiju over her head, she awoke 
and fled, 
blitzing into the stormy night
back to her abode among the clouds.
And with a gasp, I once again 
collapsed, 
my navel burning and popping.
Raijin laughs, pitifully,
exiting through the open window.
And I slink back into a cold bed
holding onto this familiar sensation 
of pain and longing
/
I took in Raiju again tonight -
a mere pup from the sky, furrowed 
with lightning zipped hairs, her tail cracking
through massive sullen clouds.
She roared into the night, her fury
raining down her cheeks
as did mine.
And I’m just a child,
sitting lonesomely in crowded rooms
full of shadows that lie -
full of warm bodies that I try so hard
to recognize and connect.
Full of memories that I don’t own
yet don’t want to forget
I’m a child
an Old child
grasping through the air-
detaching and reattaching 
A Cord to Nowhere.

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