Yellow

backlit beautiful blur bright

Fire hydrant
traffic lights
marking paint demarcating two-way traffic
a graduation gown

one thing they have in common is their color
and the girl who is trying to make sense of it all.
Can we ever reach back into time when we were five months old,
only beginning to see past the shades of light and dark?

No one is ever really ready for change,
but still, it comes knocking uninvited.
Now is not the time to fear,
embrace your expanding universe and all the ensuing wonder we will discover.

Yellow screams danger, slow down,
yet it also whispers sunrises and new beginnings.

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Who I am

They will all tell you something different;
My father remembers me the best day I was,
Strings in D-major canonizing the moment I was born.
My mother named me Jehovah Jireh,
after the heavenly providing that formed me in her womb.
My aunts and uncles, I saw me grow up in the church,
I was the good girl who came to all the Friday night Bible studies and Sunday messages,
but couldn’t seem to stay awake through them.
My friends and my siblings will tell you I am from poetry and books.
Felled, I could show you the lines upon lines of unwritten prose ringed in my mind.
My existence is a series of seditious sacrileges.
The English nerd of two math teachers.
The bisexual believer and questioning Christian,
The heavenly providing and the damned of hell.
No one stays the same,
I walk into your dictionary between the dichotomies to dismantle your definitives.
As a child, I used to think I was the antichrist,
all this havoc I wreak must have a meaning.
That is my story, but I want a different one.
Maybe, it does not matter where I’m from or where I’m going or who I am.
Not a daughter. Not an answer to a prayer. Not a sinner. Not a writer. Not a fighter. Not a battleground for you to defend your politics and your religion.
I am just a girl who is young and in love.
A tender gardener whose large loving hands can’t seem to fit her gloves,
who is learning to plant the seeds wisely one by one so she won’t wake up to find a bed full of thorns,
And she dreams of a day where she looks up at the sunset passing print painted patterns on leafy greens;
I could look up at all that liquid honey dripping sweetness before my eyes,
And think only of just how grateful I am to be alive.

(Picture was taken by Ivy Chen)

Shakespearean Anti-Love Sonnet

It is hardest to admit to ourselves,

That we are not always looking for love,

More than someone to fill up empty shelves,

An angel to rescue you from above,

You want someone who can say the right words.

But happiness should not be a person.

People may stay for awhile but like birds

Leave with seasons, your pain only worsens.

But who can blame you for loving wrongly,

When they make the sun rise and fall for you.

Hide your affections in secret calmly.

When the storm passes, the wind never blew.

You could stand there and nobody would know,

All the passions held in your heart that flow.

On loving.

I keep my love for you in my backseat jean pockets,
A good luck charm for those rainy days that have no golden lining.
On the nights I can’t sleep,
Thinking of you puts my mind at ease knowing tomorrow is another day where you will be.
It is good the sun rises and falls, it means I am still alive to be with you.
Loving you is seeing the good in everything and nothing all at once,
Feeling the world through your hands, seeing with your eyes,
And realizing with the bitter crush of disappointment that you are not here.
Love like this should be kept secret,
Because once the cat’s out of the closet there’s no going back.
I’m a tender gardener whose large loving hands can’t seem to fit her gloves,
So I’m learning to plant the seeds wisely one by one.
Otherwise, I find myself in a garden full of thorns.

#TIPS: How enjoy reading more.

Hi! I had an epiphany before bed that I could provide some insight on my experiences as a reader. I hope these tips can help all you busy readers struggling to fit in a good book with your busy schedule. And I hope this can equally apply to nonreaders attempting to find their inner bookworm.

  1. Don’t stress out about it!

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Reading is first and foremost meant to be enjoyable. Don’t read books you don’t like, that will make you hate reading. This is why I have so much beef with the Accelerated Reader system employed in the elementary school. They test your reading level and expect you to adhere to those boundaries. In short, everybody resented this system and I think it explains why many of my peers find reading tiresome. I DIGRESS. But seriously! Find a book that you enjoy and a niche within a genre you love. Snacking on thrillers and comics is nothing to be ashamed of! Any type of reading is good for you and your brain. Reading is proven to improve short-term memory skills and concentration. 😀

2. Bring a book with you EVERYWHERE!!

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If you are crazy busy like me trying to juggle a myriad of extracurriculars with school, then you need to manage your reading time efficiently. So bring a book or two with you everywhere! You might find yourself waiting in line for lunch where you can squeeze in a few pages or in class going over homework questions you answered correctly where you can read in class. In short, READ EVERYWHERE

3. Switch between genres

 

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When I finish a book like The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (fantastic book by the way) I find myself mentally exhausted and craving for a more light-hearted read. So I periodically shift between serious literature and genres that involve more mystery and adventure. I have found this works best for me because I eventually tire out just reading one type of literature.

4. Audiobooks!

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I personally prefer reading over listening, but this is a great option if you are looking for a way to hear a story while you are doing other chores around the house.

5. E-books!

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I own my own kindle and I love how I can carry over a dozen book in a small tablet. It makes it easier for readers like me who sometimes like to switch between books when one gets boring. Another great thing is that Amazon has made all the classics free on Kindle so I read all the original Sherlock Holmes. 🙂

6. Reading before bed!

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This is great because it helps you take your mind off your busy day and relax to fall asleep. It also pushes away the temptation to reach for my phone and look at social media. Screen time before bed can mess up your circadian rhythms! A funny thing is that reading in bed used to be scandalous when books could fall on candles and cause a fire. HEHE.

7. Binge reading

 

 

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Find a Saturday you are free and binge read a book you have been dying to get into. Sometimes this is best at a Starbucks coffee store where they have nice ambient noises and peaceful jazz music which can help you immerse into the narrative. Even better is if you have a gold card and you can keep refilling your tea while you stay there and read. Just thinking about this makes me happy sigh. ❤

 

 

A Hollow Hallow (a villanelle in iambic pentameter)

On Sundays, people kneel in pews hollow.
Each prays silently carrying the weight
of their sins, hoping to be made hallow.

I left the tracks I was meant to follow.
If anyone asks, it was all their hate,
all their words that made religion hollow.

Nobody knows for certain; I wallow
That grey space twixt hell and heaven- my fate.
I face the choice to be damned or hallow.

Dangerous desire is a shadow
that will taunt a father’s righteous irate.
This fear has made a daughter’s love hollow

I find myself drowning in the shallow
of my thoughts; I usurped the Godly fate
Of a future marriage to be hallow.

There is no hope to escape the gallow;
I know the judgment of God and men wait
for me. Seeking love in law is hollow.

Denying the truth brings only sorrow,
Yet I can’t stop the tantalizing bait
of safety in the intimate hollow.
My selfish desire makes all hallow.


Oh gosh this villanelle took two days to write in 4-6 hrs. I finished the rhyme scheme when I discovered that the rhythm was wayyy off. So I rewrote each line with 10 syllables. WHAT A CHORE. But it was worth it. I’m practicing my structured poems to become a better creative writer. I took inspiration from the disjointed lines of Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art. It’s also a villanelle, but it doesn’t strictly follow 10 syllables, she sometimes has 11. #rebel🤯 I love her poem because the subject fits the style of the poem which is the goal of structured poetry. Unfortunately, I’m not at Bishop level 2000, and I’m stuck at level 1 where my structure is forced. My goal is to get better. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this poem and please do comment what you think I am alluding to. 

Comfort Food

I.
Raw-men, stood in food lines starving after a nuclear war and endless months of bombing.
What they say came of it was one of the greatest culinary inventions of all time.
A cup, hot water, 3 minutes to end world hunger.
II.
Sitting in a ramen shop,
I was weary after years of holding my own hate and now the weight of bearing yours was too much.
And as I drank the tonkatsu broth, it filled my insides with an empty sort of warmth;
I couldn’t tell if the saltiness was added by my tears.
You saw the hurt on my face and I think you offered your egg to me as you always do, but I said no.
III.
On special mornings you make ramen for us before school,
but on the worst mornings you can’t even pull yourself out of bed.
It’s simply easier to avoid a war if you never show up.

To my family and friends

When you learn to love a girl who lives in others’ shoes,
You will come to realize that all parts of her will always care too much and hope too strongly.
Please remind her not to forget to love herself,
every soul is like a potted plant and hers she often forgets to water.
Sometimes she will spread herself thinly
almost disappearing and she will need someone to bring her back together.
Please remind her that mistakes make her more human because this girl is always trying to be everyone’s wonder woman when there are times no one can bear life’s struggle alone.
-10/2/17

Kleptomaniac

you snuck in through the windows I hadn’t barred, stealing all the pen and paper in my house.
Next, you came for my dreams.
a talisman filtering my thoughts,
every waking moment I only see you.
I kept warning myself that alarms should be set up before you steal something important, like my heart.
But I can’t help but feel each night a terrified longing,
waiting to see what you steal next.
And before I knew it
there were no fire alarms when you committed arson
and this fire you’ve set a flame inside me won’t stop burning.

The Roads We Have Taken

two paths diverged from a road
you took one and I, the other
when we look back at the roads we traveled
both of us will be sorry for what we had
But I will be the sorrier for not being the friend you wished you had

two paths diverged from a road
I had to find my own way
because you had already been long gone
when my eyes opened to see it was only a ghost of you that I had been loving all along

two paths diverged from a road
I left you unwillingly while you gaily alighted away
and it cleaved my heart in two to see we no longer had common ground

two paths diverged from a road
I hope it has made me braver in choosing my own

a response to Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken