sounds like poetry
Too often, I have found myself skimming over once-loved songs and still-memorised lyrics.
Too often, I have sighed at sheet music that I once longed to play by heart.
I would never have imagined myself tiring of Billy Joel and Vance Joy,
but lately there have been days when even Vienna doesn’t comfort me.
When nothing can satisfy my ears.
When I have to scroll down Facebook for hours
just to experience the feeling of liking again.
I can measure my restlessness by the searches on my Google Chrome history.
How each entry sounds wistful and just a bit nostalgic—
When added together, they almost sound like poetry.
Yesterday, I was worried that it would always be this way.
That I would never dance to Brown Eyed Girl or Twist and Shout ever again.
Yesterday, it was even difficult for me to appreciate the sound of rain,
the hum of city buses,
the static on my boyfriend’s alarm clock radio.
But today, miraculously, comes relief.
Today, I haven’t pressed the skip button once.
The sun is shining for the fourth day in a row
Originally published in The Georgetown Anthem, Fall 2017. 7 Dec. 2017
because the old metaphors don’t work anymore.
Your eyes are your eyes are your eyes.
I have stared into them long enough to know
there is nothing like them on earth.
I am going to be honest here.
It’s not that I no longer believe in forest fire hearts
or the way hands trace constellations out of freckles.
It’s that there are no words (worlds) in existence
that explain what you mean to me
(how I’m more at home with you than anyone else).
I used to write poems about sunrises and ocean floors
but now I can hardly say your name
without it sounding like a wonder of the world
(of the solar system, of the milky way).
In another life I’d have penned a stanza about burrowing owls
or the fact that mockingbirds mate for life
but I know better now:
all I’d really be saying
(what everything comes down to)
is that I love you.
Originally published in The Georgetown Anthem, Spring 2017. 20 Apr. 2017
my fingers are trying
Not for your hair, or your teeth,
but for the way you hold yourself like a castle.
The way others want to climb up your tower.
I am the fortress no one wants to claim.
There is ivy growing on my limbs
and my corridors are so hollow
that thoughts echo inside of them for days.
Your chambers are full of trombones.
There is light streaming into your windows,
and laughter tickling your chandeliers.
There are knights knocking at your door.
Your walls are made from the finest glass
so that anyone can look into your navigable heart.
I have trouble merely unlocking my front gates.
I swear my fingers are trying.
Most days they are earthquakes,
but sometimes they seem to tremble less.
It’ll take time to clear all the debris from my lawn,
but eventually I will sweep my floors.
I will mend my pillars
and learn how to stand straight.
I am beginning with simple fixes.
Hanging banners in the drawing room,
and tending to the fire.
One day, my breath will be used for kindling.
People will come over for supper.
My palace has always overlooked yours,
but soon I will not be resentful.
I must be patient with myself.
Originally published in Glass Kite Anthology Issue 6: Spring. 20 Apr. 2017
in the afterlife
That my soul is an anchor to your fleeting ship.
I am learning not to apologise every time I weigh someone down.
Reminding myself that bones are calcium
and skin is bronze,
so I have every right to be massive.
That doesn’t make me cumbersome.
What it means is that I sink easily.
It’ll take me twice as long to figure out how to float,
and maybe at first I’ll start off slow.
But I am sturdy.
In fact, I am so far from empty that some days,
my body feels like it can’t even fit inside the Milky Way.
Like there are stars going supernova on my skin.
Like the only way I can continue to exist is by collapsing.
I will not be surprised when Ammit devours me whole.
I’ll say here, go ahead.
Take my falsehoods.
Chew on my mistakes.
I already know how many contradictions live inside my ribcage.
Gnaw on my skeleton,
and taste the air trapped inside of me.
The afterlife is for the faint of heart,
but I am made to hold mountains.
There are lions being born inside my chest.
Swallow me like a lover.
I am certain that I will survive it.
Originally published in Persephone's Daughters, Issue 2. 13 Mar. 2016.
and now, you no longer know how to be left alone
without wanting to crawl out of your own body
You are helter-skelter on the floor
and I’m trying to salvage your shoulders:
darling, let me take this moment to remind you
that you’ve always been swimming
in the water that you’re made of
so know that this cannot drown you
Soon, seagulls will start returning to your hairline
and nightingales will flock at your shore
you will listen to how the flightless earth
is crooning you a love song
and join in
Originally published in Alexandria Quartlery Mag, Volume 2, Issue 2: Autumn. 10 Nov. 2015.
but right now sadness is pressing upon your belly
and all the butterflies are gone.
Know that I would carry this cross for you if I could.
I would baptise you in salt water until every bruise
is banished from your skin.
I would rebuild you with hope
and christen you Esperanza.
Know that I still consider you a saint.
I would cradle your body like a blessing
if only you’d let me.
And when you decide to button up your beauty,
know that I will hand you a cherry blossom
to show you that some things cannot be buried.
I will cherish your loveliness for eternity.
Do not ever think about blaming yourself.
Remember that you are a relic
and his touch cannot tarnish your holiness.
Find comfort in the fact that you will conquer this burden.
Slowly, you will discover yourself amidst the ruin.
It might take more than suturing to put yourself back together,
but know that I will cheer for every part you patch up.
You will laugh at the reunion.
Originally published in Persephone's Daughters, Issue 1. 16 Sept. 2015.
midas & medusa
every one of my cells turned gold
for once, I felt wealthy
like I was no longer a hollow body
but something to be opened
his kiss was fire whiskey
on Sunday morning
his lips were twin suns
fuelling my neck
his affluent hands shaped me into a treasure box
but now I think it’s killing me
When I look at him,
I am afraid of staring too long
because I know that he is too much fossil
and not enough diamond
and it will not be quick:
he will petrify like an hourglass
if I let him
he will turn paleolithic
as I toss him like stone over water
he is becoming all too comfortable with being heavy
and maybe it’s my fault
Originally published in Scrittura Magazine, Issue 1, page 52. 14 Sept. 2015.
a lesson in thermodynamics
Four billion years from now,
the sun will devastate the earth so badly she will beg to be salvaged
our sun, turned russet with god-like rage,
will begin ravaging the cosmos by swallowing her quintessence
he will consume her like a lover:
seduce earth’s saline curves with his sun-kissed edges
this red giant makes love fiercely;
his is a passion of blistering sunburn and blazing starlight
everything he does is deliberate
he knows his slaughter of earth is inevitable,
but he also knows that it is the only way to save her
Originally published in Hooligan Magazine, Issue 10, page 31. 31 Jul. 2015.
the person I am now
and the person I’m trying to be;
this is for everyone who has ever tried to understand me
There are a few things you need to know:
1. I fall in love too easily, too desperately, and much too quickly
I write too many poems about unlimited possibilities
2. I have always been a little cold-blooded
sometimes, you’ll have to take me out into the sun
and wait for me to warm up
3. I am quite nostalgic
on sentimental days, I’m prone to seek out old Polaroids
and purchase expensive typewriters
4. There must be a reason why I’m overly sensitive
but I’m too delicate to search for it
5. I am homesick for places I have never been;
in other words, I’m missing your breath against my skin
6. I don’t really listen to music
so much as promise myself to it
7. Sometimes I wish that my bones were static
because then more people might cling to me
8. One day, I want to plant rosebushes in a garden
without being afraid of thorns
9. In case you were wondering,
I’m an expert at fitting entire futures into just a few days
and fluent in the subsequent heartache
10. I still use a thesaurus
even though I know plenty of words
and I think that sums me up pretty well
Originally published on WNQ Writers Blog, Tumblr, 7 Jun. 2015.
I want you to know that Atlas is not so much a prisoner as he is a road map.
your sky-holding body will shift into a sea-faring vessel,
and you’ll sail toward smoother waters
do not consider yourself a shipwreck
For too long
you have suffocated from lack of salt;
now, start swimming to safer harbours
you were settling for the inlet
when you could have been submerged in the sea
I hope you wake up with the sun at your shoulder
and the stars upon your brow
It is time to remember
that the North Star resides within your skin;
stop being afraid to navigate it
Originally published in Live Poets Society: Of Faith and Inspiration. Spring 2015. (Print only)