Brockton Writers Series 08.03.23: Anto Chan

Anto Chan is a queer HK Chinese-Canadian spoken word performance artist, writer, facilitator, entrepreneur, producer, and caregiver. He performed his one-person show Love So Far at the Montréal Fringe Festival in 2019. He currently co-curates and hosts the variety show FreeFlow Showcase, and his poetry chapbook Romantic Reflections was released in 2020. He is passionate about mentoring the next generation of artists to overcome personal obstacles, leading to sharing their stories authentically. His life’s work is to create and support meaningful art that centres around the journey of growth, self-love, and healing intergenerational trauma. He recently started studying Expressive Art Therapy with Create Institute.


The unfolding of self-discovery has been a lifetime of feeling as if I’m not enough. Consistently pleasing my family’s views on sacrifice and big-picture living, left me disconnected from my reality and identity. Only this past year have I fully accepted my queerness, including it in my writing, my stories and sharing with friends/some family. The deep joy that has come from stepping into my full self has been immeasurable, and this poem was a checkpoint in this ever-expanding experience. 


The In-Between

She told me it wasn’t common 

that I loved flowers as much as I do

Realizing that I am not the norm 

Well for a guy she says 

I like that about you 

A soft kiss onto my beard 

That I wear to make sure 

you know I’m a man 

The masculine presented 

Ensuring the feminine repressed 

Just like every time my mom asks me 

If she can expect grandkids soon 

I tell her she can expect it 

Luckily I have a brother and a sister 

Both following the lead 

Of the classic road

Filling the void 

As I avoid the queries…

I am queer in so many ways 

I wondered how to explain to her 

The best way I could 

We ended on “if there was no women on earth I would with a man, 

I just love women too much”

The only vision of her children is in nuclear families

But maybe that’s why ours 

was so toxic and destructive and radioactive 

How did I myself realize? 

I just met enough straight people to know I’m not them 

For sure. 

And I’m queer in all my doings, 

my career

my friends

my performances

my gender roles in relationships 

The amount of comfort I find being the small spoon 

Small enough to be decorative 

Side note, whichever way you enjoy cuddling

is telling of what you enjoy in the bedroom too, 

I enjoy big and small spoon, 

vers/switch as they call it…

think about yours!  

For years felt the imbalance 

with the numb arm 

never resting my head on lovers bosoms 

Nurtured held 

I also enjoy being pursued

to have dinner bought for me too 

And my hair brushed softly 

And pulled 

Patiently pure care for one another 

But I date women still

so why is it important to share my queerness? 

I can be hidden from

the possibilities of judgment 

be among straight passing people 

Because this is my truth 

the reality of my existence 

deserves to be present

In silence takes away 

the representation of the in between

The crossroads of the intersectionality 

The not this/not that/just so 

The goldilocks and three bears

porridge just right 

Have a stove and pot to heat it up 

to your liking

Customizing our lives 

our love to exactly as we need 

Cause close enough isn’t enough anymore 

So just like my performance, I don’t know how to label what I do,

I wrote miscellaneous—misterlaneous 

These checked boxes are too general and generic 

These labels geriatric

I am just me

Flowers in my hair 

Surrounding me with scentimental aromas 

my love and gender and identity

Taking Pride in persistence 

We’ve made it 

In a space that’s here 

to be our big spoon 

to hold us wholly

Masculinity femininity infinity 

And beyond

Because we are Outta this world.

Original Art by Samantha Dennis @samanthadenniis


Photo by Andre Saunders @dreygasai


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