tony liu


ode to tri


I cry when I think of my friend, Tri Vo. In fact,

I love him. He is my brother, my sibling, and my sister too. They have made my life so much better.

Growing up is lonely! And so was Minneapolis until I met Tri.

When we first met, I thought he was, dare I say it, annoying! Telling me he needed to take a hot sec to scream outside. Why? I don’t know. “I just met you, man.”

But I knew she wanted to feel and to breathe and to be the “Punk Asian” of her dreams—the community-loving, empire-fighting, life-affirming Tri Vo-ness, that’s “Vah” btw, that she always was and is.

I love Tri for many reasons. 

He always shares his pre-packaged meals, the one he gets from his grandma which are actually sent to his deceased grandfather—and now consumed by us in a feeding and flourishing of diasporic Asian life.

We drove above the Walker Art Museum, and I found her Magic Kids’ CD. Magic Kids! The band of my youthful heart, the shepherd of our sheepish souls and the soundtrack of our drive-to-First-Avenue-prepare-to-be-surrounded-by-people-who-don’t-look-like-us adventures.

That he says things like and calls some people, even though I disagree, “Boba Asian.” (Let it be known that the drink is delicious).

That the first album we each fell in love with was American Idiot—in Eagan, Minnesota and Lindon, Utah, circa 2005, respectively (not ’04, because we were god damn children and needed TIME to listen to the radio before we could feel that we *must* have this album and let’s not forget, to muster the strength to ask our parents to buy something EXPLICIT).

How our late night conversations consist of dialogue on
the condition of Asian American life
& its relation to Black life
& what (r)elation means
in this life

that once felt lonely, but is not, because

in Tri, I am taught how beautiful it is to be Asian American. 

We go to church together now. And I’m learning what faith does and means in this “iron cage” of post-modern life. It is and we are “liberative love.”

This is Tri and their partner, Michelé.

tony liu_ode to tri vo image.jpeg

I am honored to be their witness.