In Stress

I can’t be stressed: I give too much

of a damn for the condemned,

demand too much for a dame

whose father told her to shut her trap.

But her mother told her to build a damn

for those tears and cut the crap.

Thoughts messier than tree’s roots, sappier

than a politician’s toots. I am happier

than the rich men. Greet the day, growing greyer

with teeth borned to be gritted, brows

made to knitted.

“Daddy didn’t teach ya how to smile?” He called.

I sneered, I don’t need to smile, I smite.

I am no damsel in distress.

*******

Inspired by finals stresses and caffeine.

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The Last Straw

All around me were the bemoanings, though truly thinly

disguised recounts to friends of the events from the night before.

A wink, a sling, a one-time fling.

I laugh inwardly and clutched at my backpack

strap: It grew heavier in a blink. When I got back

to my room, the slim figure in the mirror on my left greeted.

I forgot to close my cabinet, and the plain face smiled, sneered.

How funny, that my friends should brush off hook-ups,

while I wonder what it feels like to have my hand cradled in

another’s, my cheeks pecked

by a gentle, innocent kiss. Perhaps I am out

of my depth tackling topics as ambitious as “fate” and “love,”

when my mind tumble and tangle at the cup in my hand.

The straw, flattened by my habitual

biting while drinking boba was where he had tried the drink.

Curiosity, he said, with those glimmering eyes and smirk.

I suppose I am the only college girl who blush at the notion

of an indirect kiss. But now, the idea was forever

etched into my writer’s mind.

Each sip of boba now

sweetened by a new bling

that the face in the mirror blushed at.

Change

I am spitting words on paper bags, they beg

For change.

I have no power but words and phrases, right now, maybe only coins, some cents.

I give, the clatter of lonely quarters against plastic containers.

She came, dropping bills by carelessness, no shame.

Itching about her problems, void of friends or senses as she see them.

“Why can’t they look for a job?”

Ah, a modern Marie Antoinette, a marionette

Of Chinese parents who berate those born without a pair of golden chopsticks shoved in between their fat lips.

“You are making us look bad.”

Some of us have to stick for ourselves, and her words will get her head chopped off from her chubby neck.

But I am no Robespierre, before I shoot myself in the jaw, I’ll write,

Capture how wrong it is to see a squirrel and smile

While deeming men deprived of dignity and home vermin, vile

Is the one who defile characters and stories,

profiles waiting for change.

Alley of College Life

You’ll be taking daily abuses.

They counting stars, but you tracing bruises.

You see how the rich kids cruises

Down their boulevard of life while you got

Your dark alley to climb

Alone

Up the valley of death, though no sin to confess

Through these words to digress, digest the pests

Of angst and thanks, collide.

You heard an accolade accumulated to last, of voices and choices you don’t regret.

So you come before Him, naked, shaken

and forsaking the notions, grammar-buried emotions to function

At this junction of life, riddled by examinations.

The only thing not examined was the time, heart, soul, the moment.

A simple panick, a crumpled nick of time, and you’re gone

Stumbling in the alley towards light.

What is this blight?

The Silent Gulf

She was stabbing at the drowned brisket — the culprit is…school dining halls and BBQ sauce — with a viking’s viciousness and a mastery of table manners to match: I was contemplating if I should offer her my knife as the lengthy table shook with each anxious saw of her spoon.

Really, a fucking spoon?

This whole time her eyes were glued to her phone, I tried to make eye contact and be friendly but she darted me a glare. Can she be self-conscious about her manners or lack of? As she clenched her teeth about her fork and wrenched off the smothered chunk of pasta I cringed internally as the sound lead me to a recent memory of a chapter just published, where my heroine may or may not have broken someone’s finger. Or two.

I cringed not at the imagined pain or visual, but the strange, unintentional parallel I drew between this ill-mannered stranger who chose the seat opposite to me as supposed to the large expanses of open tables literally anywhere else and my beloved character.

That’s besides the point.

My attention was ripped away from one loud-chewer to another faster than the girl could rip another string of ruined pork apart. The boy sitting diagonal to me, two empty seats away from the girl, gave up on angling his phone with the phone-case-stand and just held it in his spare hand, the other mirroring his neighbor’s murder-spree-style of eating.

I wasn’t hungry, disgusted. The only question is with which of the three.

The general addictions to small screens that help us evade the bigger picture, the lack of manners, my rush to judgement.

I watch my offering a knife fall into the dark abyss between yet another stranger breathes away from me. Just another night with realizations only a dosage of loneliness could reveal.

Fool, again

I can’t believe my own stupidity.

The propensity to forget and sail on, for wounds to heal and not scar.

Reach far and fall short, flat on the ground as false hopes of one too many hangouts wove a tapestry of a narrative that turns out to only be a rug ripped out from under my feet.

Face defeat, love is not my strong suit.

My wrongs doomed me to simply imagine, smile and pretend that I was never involved in the first place.

Halloween

This past

season, I came

to dress. For once I found a character for my skin and eyes.

I don’t know how I didn’t think of it

before, but No Face I was a mask strapped to

the back of my head. My black hair, black

dress; people cried out, chuckled in nostalgic

delight. Spirited Away, they were, in midterm

season. Hollowed, were the hearts. Hollowed

leaning, the image of students. On the day of

Halloween, it felt hard to be anything but

hollowed, though I felt

the win

with each

chuckle.