2.1/8.17 // #41 – pride and shame are two sides of a foreign coin

asians aren’t clear-cut
you say,

“they’re all smart”

“of course you got an A”

“i want your brain”

not knowing that if we don’t
hell will claw from hands
weary with working since birth
in the form of words that
tear down dreams to replace it
with aspirations that don’t belong to us
because we love them and respect them
we have to pay them back, right?
we owe everything to them, huh?
why does it feel like we’re personal
moneymakers and not children?
from the moment we are born we are
destined to make others proud
from the moment we are born we are
fed by their validation (and rice)
and expectations are put on us before
we can speak
and we have to get good grades
and we have to be smart
or else, what use are we
than to be machines?
cut off the circulation to your imagination
and fill your mind with cold calculation
you won’t find casual conversation
and light family affection
the only things in this house are locked doors
our lives are filled with contusions as discipline
and blatant insults meant to be “tough love”
and the omnipresent “not enough” belief
it’s hiding our hurt because they won’t handle it
it’s hiding who we love because they don’t
get it and they won’t want to because
they want generations ( i don’t, can’t, won’t)
and if they do find out, it’s trying again and
again to get them to love you
or at least think you’re worth something
and if love isn’t a problem
it’s the intellect we have to —
must be — born with
we are no different
than others except.
i guess we are.
just don’t hold us to a pedestal
most of us are barely clinging onto
and it’s comparing, comparing,
comparing to everyone else
we have to be “better”
what does that mean?

and, and!
asian women are not women but
small petite things meant to satisfy
your sick fantasies that don’t
meet reality
spoiler: not all asians fit into the
same, tiny size

and, and, and!
asians don’t exist to entertain
you through cartoons
and make you think because of that
you’re qualified in the art of asian culture!
you’re almost as delusional as
the people who think asian girls are
tiny dolls
you don’t see that we’re more than
animations – there’s more
you don’t know a thing
about the culture carved in our heads
you don’t have a clue
about how our suffering is punctuated
with fear-riddled silence
you don’t know one iota
of what it’s like
to be asian

1.29.17 // #39 – it always comes down to the rain

things that are counter-intuitive:

1. worms escaping the pouring rain.
they can’t quite escape
though, can they? if they stay
underground, they wait for
death that seeps into their home.
if they try to escape, they reach a surface to meet death in its
undefined face. they can’t win.
they are left to squirm.

2. glasses in the rain. there’s no
way to see, really. you need your
glasses to see, but the rain sprinkles
blinding water onto lenses that
start to fail when this happens.
you take off your glasses to
avoid the drops and fog, but your
already weary eyes fail. (but you
already knew that).

3. living in a home that isn’t
a home, rather a monsoon.
and you find that you can’t
leave because you risk the
hurricane outside threatening
to drop and crush you; but
is it better than never having
a dry face underneath a roof’d

4. living in a constant storm
with no umbrella
and no interest
in finding one

1.29.17 // #38 – words that don’t quite fit

some words don’t belong in people’s mouths

you know the type;
their mouths curl around
words that coil in the guts
of thousands – maybe (please, no)
millions – and squirm with
the idea of awakening
and lashing out through the tongue

you know the type;
their mouths twitch at the corners at the thought of their violent ideals
and their words of vitriol
and faces full of wrong, all wrong

you know the type;
their frowns tattooed underneath
eyes with dark anvils underwater
their ideas always written with
the same P.S. in fine print
no one reads
and their words laced with
choked, false laughs

you know the type;
they deserve a trillion days
of laughter and jokes and
get bruises and contusions from their head and nails
and sharp teeth
with words that don’t match
their expression

with some words, you want to
steal them from their mouths
and throw them into hell
in a cage with no key

and other words, you want to
steal them from their mouths
and plant them deep underground
and nourish it with “it’s okay”
in the hopes of something better

1.29.17 // #37 – above a belly of broken cocoons

where does validation live?
is it something in the place
under your heart and close
to your belly of cocoons?

or is it an external source
of happiness (is it?)

does it occur when a
mathematician solves a complex
street of letters and numbers
and arbitrary concepts
for a solitary answer?

does it occur when a
scientist who spends years on
research and trial and error and
failures over and over finally
reaches a pinnacle
and a nod and hum of mild approval?

does it occur when a
historian spends hours learning and analyzing
a whole history and culture and
historical context for a “maybe” or
a dismissive “sure”?

does it occur when a
writer pours every scratch inside their mind
into their work with a tug to
never stop, just for a tiny piece
of praise given to so many other works?

what is life without validation?
can people have motivation
without validation?
how much validation relies
on everybody else?
why do i look to validation
like it’s my life source?
why can’t i…validate myself?

1.2.17 // #36 – i rub off the makeup of last year

i wipe away last year’s make-up
rubbing the skin raw
until the crimson from lipstick
stains my fingers with a different kind of red

i pick and choose another hue
with a stranger tone

or at least
i try

because it will always be the same color
the same darkness
because i can’t stand anything else
a spectrum of colors
though it imbues my eyes
with wonder of a billion types
will not chase me
from the circle i have drawn around myself

i can try all the shades i want
they will all end in
frowns imitating a poor facsimile of a rainbow


1.1.17 // #35 – the world doesn’t care so, should i?

do you think of how the world is indifferent?
not the people on it – they could serve to be a bit less emotional, angry
though that’s true too
just the planet
how we destroy the earth and
and how we hold hatred like it fuels us it does
and how we mistreat and disrespect
others with snide contentment
and how people refuse to protect humans and human rights
and how people mourn others
that wormed their way into others’ hearts
and how we laugh too much
and cry too much
and smile too little
and the world doesn’t care
people celebrate something the world has done billions of times
as if it’s a special feat
no one does this for other planets
(though i suppose no one can
for those lonely giants in the sky)
the world can’t care

1.1.17 // #34 – time is abstract

the year of disasters may end
but this is only the beginning
disasters don’t end in one year
the apocalypse doesn’t end with one moment
the world doesn’t end quickly
it burns slowly

everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief
as the world moved on
around the sun
we should all be holding our breaths

the world does not automatically rectify its problems
with one new year
last year, people hoped cheerfully

this year, people cling
to hope
that faded
as the last year
stole it from us with grubby fingers

live the new year
like it’s your last