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

 

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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

Fuck You | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I’m back, but angrier and more raw than ever!

Fuck You

To the ones who told me I couldn’t do it,
here’s the biggest fuck you.
You bought down my self-esteem and crushed all the dreams I had.
I rummaged through my junk drawer
in hopes that I would find a plan B, plan C or a plan at all.
In reality, a dream started to form to prove you wrong.

You gave me your pitied smile and turned back and looked at your past
through your trampled past filled with
unlearned failures and rotting dreams
and told me,
“It will be for your own good.”

To the ones who told me that I needed to speak up and that I’m too quiet,
here’s the biggest fuck you.
Do you hear me now? Loud and clear?
You silenced me even more to the point where I wished for a broken arm
so that I could prove to you that I am hurting.
I wanted to be blind, so I didn’t have to bear the burden of seeing myself fade to pieces.
I wanted to be formally diagnosed, named and wrapped up in a box all because you suppressed a growing beauty within me.

Each time the words, “Shy girl” leaves your mouth, with each letter and each breath, glass shards entered my wondering soul and forced me to mold to
a false sense of confidence —
shaking uncontrollably with confidence,
crying every night with my shrieks soaking the pillow with full confidence,
becoming obsessed over a single ounce of love with confidence,
losing all sense of myself
with confidence.

To the ones who took advantage of my high morals,
here’s the biggest and loudest fuck you.
Fuck you! You stole the second chances I gave you!
And you come back to me asking for third, fourth and fifth chances.
Honey, I didn’t win that character award for nothing.
I didn’t build resilience for nothing.
I didn’t grow taller and stronger just so you can beat me down again.
Fuck you! You stole my kind heart and my laughter!
Then, you come back and tell me to stop being so ruthless.
Honey, I didn’t ask you to wipe away my tears.
I didn’t ask for your help.
Without you, I can soar until the tip of my wings grazes Mount Everest.
Without you, I am able to run faster than Usain Bolt.
Without you, I can swim through the Pacific and continue through the Atlantic.

To the ones who still loved me,
thank you.

This poem is my response to everyone who has ever told me to be someone I wasn’t and people who took advantage of me. It starts with those who told me that it wouldn’t be a good idea if I was going to pursue writing as a career. When I was little, I’ve always heard two phrases surrounding me. “Follow your dreams and do what you love.” and “Be practical and make money.” You can clearly see what which path I’ve decided to take. It’ll be a tough one, but worth it.

In the next couple of stanzas, I write about those people who constantly tell me that I’m too quiet. There have obviously been moments when people literally couldn’t hear me, so those instances are fair. Otherwise, I would be sitting and observing as I would, but people would tell me to talk more. What if I didn’t have anything to say? I’m a quiet person and that’s who I am. I hate it when people shut down attributes of someone’s individuality just to conform to societal standards. It’s ridiculous!

In the final “Fuck you…” I write about people who like to take advantage of my kindness and how they view me as someone who just hands out second chances like flyers on the street. I cannot tolerate people who do that to me and to others and they have no part in my life.

All throughout the piece, I’ve weaved in my coping mechanisms and how I dealt with each seemingly innocent remarks. If you call a child ugly, those comments are going to stay with them forever. I was doubted and shut down, so now is my chance to truly shine as who I am and I’m not going to say sorry.

Finally, through the thick and thin, I owe practically my life to those who have never failed to stand by me. They have taught me lessons and helped me gain the strength that I have now.

I hope you enjoyed this angry piece!

Alice

Pet Peeve | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope all is well with you! The stresses and chaos hasn’t really settled down, so I’m on the verge of exploding. That probably explains the tone of this poem, but I’ll suffer through this. It’s what I like to call, being a student.

Pet Peeve

There’s a quiet rumble in the back.
An irritating one, if you want the specifics.
You wonder what they’re even talking about,
what they hell they’re muttering about, even though
it’s in a language we can’t understand,
it’s in a sound that we cannot bear to stand
in a classroom.

Last week, I told them to shut up
in a hiss as fierce as I could muster
“Can you stop talking? I can’t hear.”
And they would continue sneaking their conversations
between my glares as if I couldn’t understand
when I perfectly can.

Meanwhile, I’m getting more irritated
while they’re carrying away the conversation as if they’re at home.
“你做功课吗?”
And I wanted to shout to the class and professor,
“These shitheads won’t shut their pie holes, can you kick them out?”
I couldn’t say such a thing.
I don’t know their stories
or why they chose to irritate my ears.

So, I sit and continue to seethe
until the day finally passes me by.

Yes, I wrote this in class and yes, it’s inspired by real life events. I’m pretty confident that whoever I’m mentioning in this poem won’t find my blog, but if they do, I hope they get the message.

I have quite a few pet peeves. For example, I hate it when people scrape their forks/spoons across their plates since it makes an awful sound like nails on a chalkboard. I also hate it when my hair tickles my neck when I’m trying to sleep. Yet, one of my main pet peeves is when people talk to themselves in class or at a movie, a location where it’s inappropriate to have your own conversation.

[Alice rant begin]

In my class, two people who thought they were getting away with having a conversation in the back, irritated me to no end. I’m trying to hear my professor, but they wouldn’t shut up, so I told them off. The next week, I sat a little closer to the front, but I could still hear them. Do they even want to do well? From what I understood, all they did was complain. I honestly, don’t understand why they dedicated 80 minutes chatting about who knows what. It’s fine if you mention something to someone briefly, but not for 80 minutes, damn.

[Alice rant end]

I wrote this poem to control my temper. It’s more of a narrative poem since it tells a small story. I definitely romanticized it to the sense that I made it a little more nasty, although is true. In the third stanza, I put some Chinese characters to put some personality and background into the two people. “你做功课吗?” (Nǐ zuò gōngkè ma?) means “Have you done your homework yet? ” I wanted to give some sense of contrast with the two languages and how they purposely set themselves apart despite it being their culture and mother-tongue.

I guess the moral of this poem would be to not be that shithead in the back and if you ever encounter those kinds of people, don’t let them get the best from you. They aren’t worth your time.

Hope you have a good day!

Alice

Satiated | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope all is well with you! Sorry about posting this a day later — things got pretty hectic yesterday.

 

Satiated

It’s quite strange how in textbooks and scholarly articles,
everything feels like they’re solved.
Dirt no longer cakes the many crevices in the hands
nor is there any constant worry about if my kids have enough to eat
more or less if they’re getting vitamin A, B or C.

I come from a humble background of farmers
who strain their backs, but strengthen their souls
as nothing is more satisfying than knowing that what is sown
will always fulfill the inner most needs of those who are closest to you.
For those who are lucky to escape the brutality of physical labor,
walking onto a shining campus is a gift.

Tuesday morning, the professor lectures through 50 PowerPoint slides,
discussing how workers would rather lose limbs
than lose the ability to provide.
I grimace as I imagine long lines of meat needing to be cut, but with only half the
strength that I used to have.
My classmates cringe as they try to brainstorm ways things could be changed
but all they could say is “we need to address certain policies.”

The world has been shouting about the benefits of kale, quinoa and avocados,
how you’ll look younger,
live longer and
have greater strength than you had yesterday.
People flex, smile brightly and preach,
“I feel better than I did before!”

The lights dim and my eyes are drawn to the screen where
my classmates and I watch a video clarifying what in actuality a food desert is.
And I see the strain in the mother’s face as she pleads to us
that she’s trying her best to feed her children
that she’s aware of the harmful effects that cheap food can bring
but she has no choice

My eyes refocus back to the professor and he prompts us,
“How does this make you feel?”
which is translated into,
“What can we do?”
The room falls silent as the obvious rings through our ears and as we stare at the food wrappers littering our desks.
The usual responses pop up,
“We need to change certain policies.”
“We should volunteer at the food shelter.”
Yet as we squirm in our seats, all we can think about are when we can get out of class rather than the necessary provisions and steps needed to take
in order to be
truly satiated.

As some of you may know, I study food studies at my university, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be a chef or a food critic. In fact, food studies has a lot to deal with food justice, sustainability and how food fits into various cultures. It’s quite interesting and on the rise right now. I’ve been in the major since I was a sophomore after switching out of Nutrition. This seemed like a better fit for me due to it not being as heavy handed in science. The classes that I sit in focus mostly on the ethics of food and expanding our knowledge of the issues that arise in the food system and the small things that we can do to help. We don’t carry a lot of power, but as they say, it adds up.

I wrote this piece for internship I was with this summer called NAFSN (North American Food Systems Network) and since I had a double major with Writing & Rhetoric and Food Studies, I got to incorporate both and write pieces, edit a newsletter and help with some organizational processes in my internship. To be honest, it was pretty fun to incorporate seemingly different majors together.

This piece is mostly about a heavy juxtaposition between being in the classroom and hearing all the issues as well as having the knowledge to enforce changes, but feeling slightly powerless. The point of view I take sympathizes mostly with the laborers within the food system, the farm workers, the people we don’t usually hear about. But then, the view point shifts to the student with the helplessness and feeling stuck of not knowing what to do even though the information has been granted to you.

The rest of the poem is pretty straightforward. I tried to make it linear, like a story. If you have any questions about something I’ve mentioned, then feel free to email me. It would be a win-win where I can review my studies and you can learn more!

Thanks for reading!

Have a good day!

Alice

 

An Every Day Thing | Poetry Breakdown

Hello everyone,

I hope all is well with you!

An Every Day Thing

I carry them in my hand
their jingling and clinking
their weight, pulling and jerking —
just a casual sound.

Look at my keys
I swing them in front of me, threatening to hurt really bad.
Look at their weight, so many keys
I toss them from my right to my left, feeling each groove press into my palm.
I am so responsible
I think to myself as the keys jingle across the quiet conversation.

The door swings open and I pull out the key,
they dangle and dance together,
the truest testament to all the open occurrences in my life.
The weight upon my shoulders echoes in the weight
of the keychain, but it’s only an every day thing.

They clatter as they meet the table, the sharp sound
resounding just as each groove on each key
unlocks a singular door leading to bedrooms,
houses and secrets.
Look at my keys
as I start swinging them again,
my eyes follow and the weight
follows the weight of gravity
until I’m nearly weightless.

This poem was inspired by a bad habit of mine. Whenever I have my keys in my hand, I tend to fiddle with them and I end up swinging them around since they’re attached to a lanyard. It becomes quite dangerous when you realize that people are within the “danger zone”, the circumference of my keys. That’s why, I try not to keep my keys in my hands. But, being the dramatic poet that I am, I tend to take mundane things and spin them into my dramatics to make it into art.  Oftentimes, I think about if I weren’t a writer, what would I be doing? I’d still have my overreactive mind and thoughts, but they would still be too contained. I’d just be a weird person without any justification. 🙂

When it comes to writing apiece about an object, it’s important to take it back to the five sense, so you can fully relate and understand. Everyone knows what keys are, so I described my set of keys. And with keys, comes a locked door that could also allude to closed opportunities as well as the weighted responsibility that comes with having keys because you don’t want to lose them or else the locked door will stay closed for a while/your possessions will have a greater chance of getting stolen.

I’d like to think of each key as a different story. One could lead to a house while another could lead to a bedroom. There could be a set of keys that lead to a restaurant or the White House. With each key that you have, it’s like a long piece of thread holds you accountable to that lock that’s paired with the key.

These responsibilities may end up being opportunities and a small sense of empowerment because I am able to do such things or it can be a burden because of the sheer amount of responsibilities that might become unbearable. It all depends on the person and situation, but every single day, you’d have something to do and something to behold whether big or small.

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading! And please don’t wack people with your swinging keys.

Alice