Hot Pot

I never liked hot pot: I was an impatient kid armed with a surprisingly scroogey sense of humor.

“If I wanted to go to a restaurant, why would I cook?”

Yes, the ingredients are all prepped. All I had to do was to throw them in boiling broths in a specified order that would appease my mother.

Oh no, I must stop myself before I analyze it as a metaphor.

Hell, I wrote this one for a reason. In an attempt to capture those rare winter weekends paired with icy rains and the usual polite indecision, when my family didn’t have the insight to make dinner reservations and opted to wait in line. Then we would be seated, hungry, order and watch as mother insists on throwing in the napa cabbage first and nothing else.

I reached for a meatball to earn a retort I knew coming.

“Don’t touch that, if you eat it, you will get breast cancer or other bad things for women.”

The last part was always added as father proceeded to drop all the toppings she deemed cancerous. And, as I settled with flavorless meat — soy sauce and variations were also forbidden — and piles of vegetables, assuming that my father only continue to throw those things in the pot may kill me anyway because he cared not of me.

Then, one fateful day on a rainy, foggy weekend, my friends made plans for hot pot. Then I noticed that all was already placed in the pot for me. Then I realized that there was no cancer threats for me. But the toppings felt so wrong, like the forbidden fruits of a mother’s threat-laced care.

I ate the whole pot and was satisfied.



I thought purple was the prettiest color,

royal, refined, calm and deep.

It was the color my sister wore to Prom,

and I thought I am so lucky

I looked like her: because, God, she

was beautiful. Her date was lucky.

But now this was the only positive association:

it’s so much nicer that the color is

on silk than a metaphorical broken-heart.

Yet as I write, I press against the

Bruises. I guess, I won’t be able to do

this after all. Just like a blood

clot, the words stuck and wither and die

before I can ever speak of it. Perhaps

when it fades I can remember, no one will

beat me with logic again and break

All that is sweet and pure.



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I write with a fountain pen because it’s easier to see the point,

to get the point across, to be poignant and wring the essence

out of me. Ideas and ideals so low and pointless in the walks

of life, so absent; I imagine what I can be and what I want to

Ink against paper, I read diffusion and try to reverse the

process in the ocean of my mind. To achieve peace, my brain

should care less of others’ pieces of mind, even when their

points and sharper than my fountain pen, I ought to not be

susceptible, unscratchable, uncomparable.


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Despair is Such an Old Song

Despair is such an old song, wrecking every sense of

order beyond repair, sending all to square one. Once upon

a late night’s musings that went wrong: a flicker of

fear that just went so wrong. The world suddenly swirl

and twirl, whirling in a whirlwind of doubts, a maelstrom of

maybes and other filler words of uncertainty, we have so

little faith we simply cry and cul into ourselves and sing of

old tunes to cry ourselves to sleep. Instead, we can

sing a song about rapport. Sing to build and guide and

yield to none but the deepest darkest place, where we

can only see walking hand-in-hand with the ones we trust

most. Life can glow or croak or screech to mediocrity

lying awake, away from the nightmares and visions that

haunt and taunt. Who are we to think we can

just run alone. No one is an island, adrift, so long.

Slow Burn

The philosophers and zealots

explain that the world

is a burning hell, the lot

of us are unrefined gold, whirl


and twirl to the chaos of sins,

“Simmer in the flames so you can

become the gold that is within.”

What if not all of us are fans


of pointless minerals? What if

I realized that I always douse

myself in flames to find motifs

and what-ifs, to rouse


Suspicion and self-loathing. I

am useless, worthless, aimless,

tired of being those things, eyes

staring at cracked mirrors, heartless


As I know my face and heart

are not worth anyone’s

time. There’s no gold, goal, but hurt

and agony. Help. Anyone?

Deceptively Cold

A stroll through campus, oh so

cautious, wrapped in three layers

and raised in the tropics. By Doe

Library, my woes are realized. Prayers

heeded only on the surface: I

begged for a warmth to guide me through

midterms, yet I could only sigh.

We got the clear skies, a bold blue,

yet I still shiver, my teeth

clenched or clattered. I am still

cold, but perhaps beneath,

the heart and skin are both chilled.