Oct 08

Pass/Fail

I was the smart kid in high school.
The one who everyone asked to see their homework
or asked questions about their essay.
I was the level students strived for,
looked up to
and gripped ladder rungs in a race
to climb and to catch up to me.
I didn't like that,
and I stopped trying,
or I stopped caring.
And that only made the mob angrier.
They didn't like that I gave up,
that I let go,
because I was still there
and still dangling over them.

I'm trying hard again.
But now I'm failing.
It was the first quiz I failed.
The first test I failed.
Possibly, the first class I will fail.

Isn't that strange?

I wonder what they think of me now.
I'm sure they're all past me now.

I'm glad.
Oct 02

Love Yourself

I love self care,
and positivity,
and there is nothing more beautiful
than someone with newfound confidence,
as they take their first steps into the world
dripping with love for themselves
and respect for their environment.
I support them
and how they love and appreciate themselves,
because there have been numerous times
where I did not let myself think like that.

Similarly,
I love to uplift those who need it,
who lack the confidence
to wear that shirt they want
or to audition for that group
or to reach out for help.
I want to inspire others
and lighten their loads
because I've been there,
and I know how it aches.

However,
the concept
of "You can only love others
after you've learned to love yourself"
is pure bullshit.

I have spent countless nights
in love with those in need of help,
who needed the slightest spark
Sep 27

Intermission

I.
It's like a marathon,
but instead of running a reasonable pace
they're asking you to sprint all of the miles,
they're asking you to give enough
that when you finally drop dead in the race,
that your final breath is spent
apologizing
for not finishing
and for not doing enough.

II.
You churn out idea after idea,
you keep giving until it hurts,
until you're tearing away parts of you
and auctioning those off
because it's the genuine
and the raw
and the original
that we crave.
You go until thinking itself hurts
and you're constantly running on fumes,
and you can feel that hole in your gut,
eating away
and asking for a break
as you starve.

III.
We're constantly breathing out,
giving our energy
and our time
in the name of our productivity,
and we're constantly giving,
but we have nothing left.
Sep 22

Hello Autumn

I won't write about
sunsets painted on tree canopies
or how the horizon is aglow with flames,
I won't write about the spiced apple cidar
and the cinnamon of my childhood.
Autumn is not those sensations,
not those memories,
not to me at least.

Autumn was the start of a school year,
eagerly awaiting my friends
and the joy they brought me daily.
It was the community
and the unity
that made it my favorite time.
It was morning walks
with my nose turning red
and the sky still dark,
but everything was still bright and fun
with laughter and conversation.
It was leaving school late after rehearsals,
throats raw
and knees red.

It was squishing into the same booth
at the same restauraunt
and debating about what appetizers to get.
It was not having enough money in my bank account,
but not caring
because spending time with friends was priceless.
Sep 18

Introductions and Unravelling

I.
Hi,
please handle me with care.
Despite the sturdy experience
and seemingly thick skin,
I'm rather fragile
and I spook easy.
In short,
I'm like a green horse,
something completely raw
and wide-eyed
(you can decide
if it's awe,
fear,
or some combination of the two).

I eat twice a day,
because breakfast just sits like a rock
for the rest of the day.
I need regular watering,
or at least reminders,
because at times
I disregard the towering glass of water
just a few inches from my hands.
I should sleep at least six hours,
I sometimes miss the mark there,
so maybe just tell me
that the music I'm writing can wait,
or that a perfect score on homework doesn't matter.

I get wrapped up in the little things
sometimes.
If that occurs,
wrap me up in a warm blanket
(fresh from the dryer
is preferred)
Sep 18

Musical Blood

It's not synesthesia.
Not for me.
I think musicians
who love the craft
and have a steady metronome heart
see the world
in shades of music.
We feel the constant tick
of life
and watch as music unfolds before our eyes.

I don't close my eyes
for magnificent symphonies
and see shimmering fireworks
of colors
and swirling tonalities,
but I see scenes.
Clips of memories
sewn together
between thin black bar lines
and peppered with accidentals
instead of specks of dust.

I can't hear a song without remembering
the first time it hit hard.
I see midnight hikes,
a first kiss,
a burning match,
and clouds
or
I smell the ocean
and its biting salty winds.
I don't remember the faces,
just the sensations
and the world around me.

The emotions stick with me the hardest.
I can still feel my heart accelerando
Sep 15

Disenchantment

We fell out of love.
Or rather, I did,
because in the foggy haze
of infatuation
and romanticism,
I wandered aimlessly
and never truly settled in one place.
I convinced myself that in your arms
was happiness,
was joy,
and the strength to face anything and everything.

I remember how you gently urged me to change,
told me to soften myself
and to float,
not to remain stony
and solid.
You refused to let me sit.
For awhile, that was okay.

I remember how we sat in a friend's car,
driving home quietly,
my hand in yours
and a twinge of pain
in my shoulder
as I twisted my arm so you could 
grip me by the fingers
and run a thumb across my knuckles sloppily.
It was a warm burn,
gentle but present,
and it ached.

The car rolled to a stop
and I was staring blankly ahead.
You said goodbye,
grabbed me by the jaw,
Sep 09

I Found My Voice (Again)

I loved my voice.
I know it wasn't the best,
or the most melodic,
but it was mine.
Much like me,
it remained raw
and rough around the edges,
jagged and in some ways crooked,
but I always knew the pitches,
and stayed centered.

I loved singing,
loved it with my whole body,
felt the music settle in my cracks
and patch me up,
and slowly,
the musical scores built up
and left small messy bits
across me.
I internalized it,
learned it by the fistful
and always craved more.

You told me it wasn't enough.
Classically speaking,
I couldn't disagree,
but you said it wasn't worth it.
You grabbed the melody lines
and the fragile harmonies
with hungry hands
and ripped them from me,
clenched them tightly
and threw them away.

I stopped
because of you.

I stopped for a year.
Told myself singing wasn't fun,
Sep 04

No History

There's a lot I'm still coming to terms with.  Similarly, I'm sure there are things I will never truly understand.  There is a multitude of nuances and subtle details that I couldn't begin to delve into or remotely understand, even if I tried because quite simply, I straddle a line of the east and west.  China courses through every single capillary, vein, and artery in my body, and I still imagine what could have been, but I live and breathe for the United States.  There is a strange mixture that media doesn't address, we talk about people born half Asian and half white, or American born Chinese children, but we largely ignore a very finite population: the adoptees that came about as a result of the one-child policy.
Sep 02

Faded Wanderer

I told myself I wanted to be
an old memory,
forgotten and worn in nature.
I wanted to be a shapeless thought,
a face in old photos
that was familiar and warm,
but a foreign body nonetheless.
I told myself to become a dream,
a face that came and went at will
so, in the end,
my goodbyes and tears
would be quicker
and wear away sooner.

I wanted the wounds to close quickly,
to leave faint scars
like old thorny bushes
biting at children's legs.
I wanted it superficial
but real
and present enough
to raise questions as to when
and as to how.

I told myself to accept the world
and how it would continue along without me,
because I wasn't here for the attention
and I wasn't here for the recognition.
I hated the spotlight
and the praise
and the words.
I begged everyone's worlds to carry on
with or without me.
And they did.
Aug 28

Thoughts of a 17 Year Old College Freshman

I thought the rite of passage
to growing up
was the big 18
and the college acceptance letters
and the flurries of friends
cloaked in LED light lit parties
and the tears
and the laughs.

I thought growing up
meant the diploma
and the love of my life,
a story where I waved a hand
with a big grin
as my parents drove away
from college,
where the work was easy enough
and the friends flocked
and the world would be shiny and new.

It wasn't.
I'm okay with that.

Growing up meant
college letters
and the diploma
and the friends.
There were tears
and there were laughs,
and then more tears.
I wasn't smiling when my parents drove away.
I study for long hours
and speak to a few people.
The world is worn and foreign.

Growing up meant my first trip to the ER,
the girl just as young as me
Aug 28

Old Flame

I've stared myself in the face,
dark eyes to dark eyes,
and the same tightly pressed frown.

She's proclaimed her love
of the arts
to me,
musical scores
tattooed across her skin
and callused fingertips
with steel string guitars
a part of her.
She is wild
and loud
and full of life.

She has told me
that without my music
and my theatre
that I am nothing,
as they built me from the ground up
and let me stand I stand today.

She firmly reminds me
of the hours
I spent
and the tears I spilled
and the agonizing nights of memorization
and hot stage lights
and asks if they were all for nothing.

I still don't know how to explain
that I've fallen out of love
yet again,
and that those days
were another notch
carved into a beat up bed post
and old crumpled librettos.
Aug 24

Sorry

I never felt secure in my own skin,
which led to the constant apologies
because I didn't feel worthy
to take up space,
to occupy and exist.
I told myself
that I wasn't worth it.

I apologize to him a lot,
for answering his questions
or babbling on
about cardiac cells
and decellularized spinach leaves.
I say "sorry" because my mouth
opened
and the truth fell out.

He gently reassures,
asks me every time what I'm sorry for,
and stays beside me,
patient and kind.

I apologize again,
and he got straight to the point.

correct me if im wrong but
sounds a little like youre being
sorry for who you are


I don't know what to say
without getting awkward
and I stumble for the words,
reach out for a lie
or some joke.
And I know I can't hide.

You caught me, haha
Guilty as charged my dude

Aug 22

And Then I Miss Home

I forgot the tea bags,
the ones I need for loose leaf tea.
Of course,
the tea I want
is the loose leaf,
taunting me in its neon pink tin
and its berry lemonade flavors
and I'm reminded of the empty bags at home
and the infusers
and the small contraption that does the work for me.

And then I miss home.

I forgot my sneakers,
which makes marching band rough.
Of course,
I went to the gym
in torn up Walmart shoes,
the knockoff Vans build
ripped at its edges
and they're not the supportive gray sneakers.
There was no other option for the pristine
dance studio floors.

And then I miss home.

I forgot my tea mug at home,
baby pink
and emblazoned with "Drama queen"
because of my years in theatre.
I see roommates with their collection of ceramic mugs
while I use a bowl
and hope for the best.
Aug 21

College Dorm

There's dust in the cracks
and on the windowsills.
Lofted beds with dented ceilings
and broken curtain pulls.
I've strung colorful flags
given to me by family
and my roommate's pride flag
underneath the bed
and in front of the desk.

I prop the door open
with a painted rock
and hope someone comes in
to sheepishly say hi.

I never experienced growing pains
growing up
but here I am,
feeling my joints grind and turn
as my head spins
in hopes of expanding
to fill this empty space.

Guitars are strumming
and speakers crooning.
There's distant chatter
and lazy footfalls.
I hear halfhearted knocks
and half baked hellos.

It's not glamorous,
but this is home now.