It’s All Human | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

Here’s a fun fact about squids: A giant squid’s eyeball is about the same size as a basketball.

It’s All Human

My dear, don’t think about the amount of toothpaste you use in your lifetime.
How the plastic tubes sit in landfills.
How the chemicals accidently make their way
around your digestive system.
How you have to make a difficult decision
between the $3 toothpaste and $1.00 toothpaste.
How you somehow know that these statistics are recorded
and put into world record books, just for kids to wonder
and for adults to fall into an existential crisis each time they throw out the trash.

It’s hard being a human.
Remembering to put on chapstick so your lips don’t peel.
Remembering to wash your clothes, so you have underwear for tomorrow.
Remembering to eat your greens, so your bowels don’t cease on you.

We create cringe compilations of those beyond the spectrum of normality
as a laughing stock or perhaps as a lesson to learn, a lesson to conceal.
We hide from any remark of racism and avoid all topics of ethics
because it’s “not our problem” and “it’s not going to do anything anyways”.
We twist and turn beliefs until they’re completely distorted
and not even a single plea will be properly translated without being manipulated.

It’s so hard being human.
Worrying about human trafficking
or if I could pay next month’s bills.
Worrying about my children’s education,
if they can get out of the system so they won’t have to suffer.
Worrying about rapists, bigots and, albeits
or if I could have enough time to buy groceries.

It’s hard being human –
why be indifferent or
why weigh one heavier than the other
when it’s all human.

This poem took 2 weeks to write. It started with a trip to Trader Joe’s and I was looking for a better alternative for toothpaste, but when I got to using it, it tasted really bad and didn’t seem to whiten my teeth. As much as I wanted to be more sustainable and try to make decisions that are better for my body, there are some things that you can’t sacrifice. For me, toothpaste must always whiten, clean and prevent my teeth from developing cavities. You can’t really find natural toothpaste that does those jobs, but if you know of some, let me know. 😉

On a more serious note, this poem is about most of the injustices that occur on a daily basis mixed with the responsibilities that come with being human. Using the word, human, sounds a little indifferent to the fact that each individual is unique with a wide variety of backgrounds, but you get what I’m saying.

You’ve been through a tough time and someone is counseling you. They say, “You should be grateful that you don’t have it as bad. There are people out there suffering things that are a lot worse than you.” Honestly, I hate it when people give me sympathy like that. It just sounds like they’re putting down what you’ve been through and not valuing your pain. Yes, there are people who go through worse, but everyone has their own journey, so how could you compare them? Just like how there are many issues in the world right now and I covered a few in my poem, but there are also the “less important” issues in your personal life. While paying for rent isn’t as “weighted” as surviving a war, they’re both necessary for survival.

Although this doesn’t mean that worldwide issues should be diluted to receiving the same attention as daily issues. I’m calling for an equal treatment that’s deemed respectable for each unique situation. That’s why it’s hard being a human because you need to know how to properly discern how to respond to an issue. We are the humans, the most complex creatures and how we react will determine its worth, so why not react better?

Thanks for reading & I hope you have a great day!

Alice

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It Can’t Be Helped | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

It seems like April showers came early this year. Hope you’re staying dry!

It Can’t Be Helped

I’ve been having so much anxiety lately.
Blood-thirsty craving for a stop,
instead of just pushing through.
I’m a student and I’m not allowed to stop.
If I do, then I’ll fail, causing a larger pause within itself.

Fill me up with medications.
Give me all the holistic remedies.
Lay your hands on me.
Hold me tight and promise to never leave.
Everything eventually fades,
it just can’t be helped.

Spill out onto words,
carry around lists and lists of half-dreams,
incomplete-dreams.
Let the world see your struggles
boldly and truly,
but you’re just a pile of words
constructed together to match and make sense.

Listen to my rhetoric,
feel my moist cheeks.
Understand the word choice,
feel my rapid heart rate.
Hear the rhythm, the steady counting,
feel my non-linear thoughts.

I suffer from your problems
and mine as well.
I carry them on my back, secured with a zip tie.
With each step I take,
I crumble further into the ground.
It can’t be helped.
If I fail, a larger pause will carve a deeper hole.
It can’t be helped.

It’s tough being a student. More or less, things are tough. This poem is about a small push towards hope and perseverance. Usually these more hopeful poems are more dramatic with an introduction of deep failure and then rising up to soar in the skies. There’s nothing wrong with those poems. Sometimes they can be a little unrealistic especially if each day is difficult for you, you might as well celebrate the small things. Good job you got out of bed! Congrats you brushed your teeth! That’s amazing, you went outside! From there, you’d have the courage to do larger things. 🙂

There are a bunch of layers and voices in this poem. I like to look at it like they’re all stacked on top of each other until it fizzles out into, “It can’t be helped.” When you’re hurting there’s always a need to find remedy whether from ingesting something into your body or helping others. This poems mostly focuses on writing with emphasis on releasing the piece and the styles in the piece and how it relates with the overall emotion of the narrator.

In my case, I write to help myself control my emotions, but sometimes when I publish my work, I get a little self-conscious or even the opposite, left out in the open. I learn to deal with my own critic, but I’m an artist, so my work is never good enough especially if it’s a dumping of my emotion.

Anyways, keep pushing through.

Thanks for reading!

Alice

Sound of Silence | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re enjoying this weird weather change because one day it’s snowing and the next day it’s spring.

Sound of Silence

Among the rushing cars and quick gossip conversations,
you don’t really notice the drippy faucet
or the chirping early-birds.
You won’t care if Katie is engaged
or this lady is pregnant
or why that man is wearing his hat like that
or why we’re required to pay for education
or if your worries are weighted to your own life.

Isn’t it terribly heavy? To be constantly wondering
if your hair looks like hers with “easy waves”
or if your nails are the right matte millennial pink
or if you’re supposed to graduate at 22 and get married at 26.
Doesn’t it get so noisy when all your thoughts dance around
finding the right shower jams
if the juice cleanse you’re doing is actually working
if your neighbors are jumping on the bed or if they’re having noisy sex
if they like you, like like you or think you’re a worthless human being
or if the sadness you’re feeling is depression and not because you’re having a bad day.

“Can’t you just…you know…shut up every once in a while?”
Those words sting, but they’re true.
Your nostrils flare up to rebuttal my poignantly blunt statement
but you would just prove the point.
But you can’t let me win.
So you wait 4 minutes before you start protesting again.

If you would just take a second and just be.
Allow the noise to drain away
and take off the weight,
you’ll realize how wonderful
silence sounds.

This poem was inspired by my constant need to fill the silence with the constant buzz of social media. I decided that I would just stop…with the help of an app that threatens to kill a little graphic tree if you use your phone. That threat was enough to keep me away from my phone. I noticed a lot of change since I noticed more sounds that I don’t really hear. I also didn’t feel that on edge, so I’m going to keep it up until I don’t feel attached to my phone anymore.

I really wanted this poem to give the feeling of a rushed and overwhelmed feeling. I piled on the storytelling instances and tried to relate it as much as possible to your life. I know in my life, a lot of my peers are getting engaged, Kylie Jenner was (or was not) pregnant and people were shocked out of their minds when she gave birth, students were getting exhausted over work and everything continued to pile on. It gets pretty noisy.

In the following stanza, I sympathized with you and asked, “Isn’t it terribly heavy?” and piled on more thoughts that could’ve been flowing in your mind. Those thoughts started with little mundane thoughts like “if your nails are the right millennial pink” all the way to trying to identify depression over a “bad day”. It’s like a domino effect, snowball effect – things just get out of control.

The third stanza transitioned to a one-on-one conversation between me and you. It’s like all your thoughts spilled out and I told you to shut up. And the blow was rough, but it was exactly what you needed, although you pretend that nothing happened and continue to create more noise. And the last stanza was supposed to imitate silence and calmness. How is silence supposed to sound? Isn’t that kind of a paradox? And I was hopefully able to grant that answer after this poem.

Thanks for reading & I hope you enjoyed!

Alice

Snowflakes | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

It’s been a while since I was inspired to write a poem, so here it is!

Snowflakes

A soft fluttering of snow,
gently brushing my eyelashes
and forcing me to look at the dusty sidewalk
and the small bushes gaining a little icing.
Finding solitude in the earliest mornings
occupied by a couple steps and tiny thoughts,
without any traces left by the end of the day.

A loud crunch beneath my feet
as I search for steady footing.
Scarves, hats and gloves block all intrusion
from the sub-zero wind and pelting ice.
Maintaining unseen strength through the uncertain
is ensuring that all will be safe at the end of the day.

A blinding sight with no intention to venture out
except feeble attempts to clear the roads
even when it’ll be covered within a matter of minuets.
Warmth in the presence of abounding chaos and
recognizing the need to rest and wait
until the sky is no longer grey
and when the roads are no longer slippery.

A miniscule snowflake, conjoined with every other one
to form a part of a whole, but still maintaining its uniqueness.

When I was in middle school, I started writing poetry. I would usually write poems talking about “love” (basically my infatuations with a guy saying, “What’s up?”) but I would oftentimes write about nature. Surprisingly enough, my poems about nature were usually a hit. I decided to give nature a whirl again since my other poems have been quite angsty.

The poem is built up with four stages starting with a gentle snow fall, going to the build up of snow under your feet, a chaotic blizzard and a single snowflake. I wanted this poem to carry the idea of “powers of ten” where it would focus on an individual thing and quickly zoom out by increments. I kind of did it backwards by ending on the individual snowflake, which I think is pretty beautiful.

I wanted to write this poem to emphasize the human uniqueness and our determination. Things suck. For example: Today I tried to go grocery shopping because I had almost had no more food and today was the only day that it wasn’t snowing. When I got to the car through a student rental service, the tire pressure was low, which caused me to swerve uncontrollably along the road. No groceries for me. (I got back safe.) Despite all that, I sucked it up and booked a new car for tomorrow. After a terrible day, you put yourself back together and try again. Individually, we could’ve reacted differently, but as a whole, we learn to push forward. I think that’s a wonderful thing.

Thanks for reading & I hope you enjoyed!

Alice

Choices, choices | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I say this every year, but I’m going to try my best to create and post more. School will be peaking and then starting to bittersweetly wind down. By then, I’ll hopefully be starting a job or getting close, so I’ll have more time to write more. If I start slacking off, just yell at me!

Choices, choices

“Which one would it be?”
you say, a voice full of emotion and confusion.
You proposed a future coupled where falling in love
was something you took as a supplement
not as a main course.
My voice, silent and you asked,
“Why should I be there for you?”

Through the dark hallways, seeing the light shining down
and illuminating unusual crevices,
I make my way to your office.
“You have to either try harder or drop out.”
your beady eyes stare at me and I feel my heart rate increase
as each second passes by.
“You don’t want to have to drop out, right?”
she says smugly.
My fist quietly balls up and my eyes well up
where only the bathroom at the end of the hall
hear my sobs.

The air conditioning yells at me and a headache starts to ball up
under my neck.
“What would you do if I kissed you right now?
eyes straight ahead, but voice full of curiosity.
I think to myself,
Either I force this affection onto myself or I play dumb.
“If you kissed me right now, then I would say ‘why?’”
I was being honest, but you took it as a flirty notion.

I want to wake up from those nightmares
pinch myself as hard as I could
and step out of my body, so I didn’t have to be there
when I made the deciding choice.
One step and I could be dead on the side of the road.
Another step and I’ll be known as the impulsive and indifferent bitch.

Which would it be?

The first three stanzas were about three scenarios where it caused my heart to stop in its track, jump into my head and start racing like a madman. I’ve been offered to be an alternate love track, been given lousy advice from my academic advisor and someone mistook my honesty as if I was flirting. I used to shrivel up within myself and refused to make the decision. During these moments, I was forced to make a decision and realized that there were more than 2 decisions. Through trial and error, I finally was able to discern what would be best for me while fully knowing that there will be consequences either way.

This goes to the final stanza where I address the reality of all these choices. Most of the time, it’s really unpleasant. It sucks to have to make such important decisions since it’s obvious that someone is going to be affected. The thing is, we can’t go around living life full of fear of affecting someone. Instead, we should just embrace it! It’s a lot better to be moving progressively than stagnant.

I feel like this poem was very appropriate for the dry (and freezing) season of winter where it seems like after the holiday season, everything feels lackluster. It might be because of the holiday hangover, the fact that the sun sets at 5pm or there isn’t a holiday around the corner for a while. Maybe it’s all of the above. For me, a new school semester is starting and it’ll be my final semester as an undergrad. It’s a pretty crucial semester since I’m wrapping up my credits and program while looking for jobs at the same time. It can put a great deal of pressure on my back. My friends, family and random people ask, “What are you going to do after you graduate?” These questions make it really hard to stay optimistic since I always answer (too) honestly, “I have no idea! Maybe copy editing, maybe anything!” And my mind goes to the GoogleDoc I have of a record of everywhere I’ve applied to and a reminder of an empty email inbox.

All in all, you can’t avoid these choices because it’s like taking a step back. Take a bold step and see where it takes you! Let me know if any of you are going through a period of great changes.

Thanks for reading!

Alice

 

The Shape of Today | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful and warm Christmas!

The Shape of Today

I think about your past a lot, mainly about
the ones you’ve held in your arms and whispered
precious secrets into their ears.
Their breaths would catch and they would vow,
“I will never be like that.”
Lo and behold, years later you hold broken vows
and a shattered conscience.

I think about my past a lot, mainly about my primitive years
and my yearning for the comfort and the extravagant at the same time.
I would happily say “I’m doing well!”
when I wonder how much pain I can give to myself before I disappear.
I’ve felt the wounds, the sharp stabbing pain and I vowed,
“No one shall ever feel this again.”

All around us, people are loudly declaring their love for one another
with long, scrolling paragraphs on Instagram and a shining ring
nestled inside a velvet box.
Singers belt out a catchy tune about the sexy bod they saw at the club
and the desire to feel all the curves and edges.
But the next thing we know, relationship statuses rock and roll
and papers start getting signed.
Now singers’ top charts are the ones warning about people
who will only toss you a lure and nothing else.

I think about our future a lot and whether or not we even deserve
to be conjoined in our or together.
Would our hands continue to be clasped or am I going to join the list of broken vows?
As much as I long for a title to swaddle myself in,
we would only end up falling away into a void
of more brokenness because of
the very things that broke us
now shape us today.

This poem is about a relationship I’m involved in. Talking about my life isn’t something I’m comfortable with, but I love still to write. To me, writing helps guide me through the challenging points in my life, especially with organizing my thoughts. I’m perfectly capable of writing a piece that romanticizes all the wonderful moments of my life, but I prefer to be honest with you and myself. And this relationship is a challenging one not because of the person, but because of the circumstances that surround us.

I had originally titled this piece to be “Letters to my lover” because I wanted it to seem like I was speaking directly to him. Yes, I don’t talk very flowery, but it was supposed to contain nuances where only we would understand, but still be relatable to you (the reader). The first stanza is about his past relationships and the second stanza is about my past with all my doubts.

The third stanza is a change in pace, like a step backwards. It’s supposed to have an envious tone in it because in my complicated situation, people are having idealistic relationships, which is something that we crave for, but we know what we’re doing is for the best of us as individuals and us as a whole. And the fourth stanza is going back and wondering about the future, but having an understanding where you can’t change the past, but you just move forward with it.

Let me know if you’re in a similar situation!

Thanks for reading!

Alice

The Temple | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope all has been well with you! It’s the time in the semester where everything piles up on me (again), but instead of it being during my finals week, it’s the week before. This means that I have no time!

The Temple

Cocking my head up
just to see you clearer,
so that my ears can hear you better
but instead, I look like I’m peering down at you
with no regard for your morals.
My vision fades from me with skewed angles dipping in and out
just like how your perception of me turns foul.
Maybe I’m imagining it.

A whisper of my heart, not the dream they say
but a small, dangerous malfunction.
It drums out a syncopated rhythm and I skip along the sidewalk
matching my footsteps with the beat
to bring up my spirits and not fall into an endless pit of worry.

Scaly skin and brown splattered blotches
seeming like the child used the wrong canvas to draw
and used my skin instead.
A gentle touch turns into a scratch and I shield myself away
and bury myself deep into solving issues that doesn’t pertain myself.

If my body is a temple, then why does it feel so skewed sometimes?
With all it’s bumps and nervous ticks
and threats of a lifetime filled with medicine,
I see others like me with their fragile skin and strength in their steps.
I hear the cries of confusion and wishes to be cared for rather than inspected.
I watched dark circles emerge under my peers’ eyes but a smile glows from underneath.

Holding myself together despite it all,
I inhale and exhale knowing that it will be okay.

This poem is about most of the medical issues that I have. I don’t really feel comfortable specifying exactly what I have because this blog isn’t a medical diagnosis site, but a place of free expression. If you really tried, you can probably figure it out, but what I have isn’t the point of the poem. The point of the poem is about my physical flaws and finding the calamity in the chaos. Sometimes we have our invisible physical ailments that would hold us back and in order to conquer them, we need to accept them.

I tried really hard to write this poem in a way that doesn’t romanticizes the illnesses. I don’t want to have these issues nor would I ever wish them on anyone. They are simply artistic expression of what I have personally been experiencing. Each stanza highlights a different illness that I have experienced or am currently experiencing at the moment at varying spectrums of stress, pain and fear. Yet with the final stanza, I wanted to highlight all of the imperfections that the human body has and write as a norm.

It’s like the flowers that we see everyday and love. They have their imperfections such as blotchy petals, uneven flowers and bent stems. They are still wonderful.

We are all unique in different ways whether you speak this language or you have this culture embedded in you or maybe you have six toes. The most beautiful thing is that we are able to celebrate our differences and we can also celebrate our similarities. Right now, we’re struggling especially with the political drama. Wouldn’t it be ideal if we could find the right moments to simplify and stop complicating things? Wouldn’t it be nice to sit together and have a meal with good and healthy intentions?

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my poem!

Alice