escaprilday 2019 // 1: a fresh start
two Costco bags full of
umma-certified clean clothes,
“unpacking cannot begin with wet clothes”
Taipei humidity is unkind.
white noise revs
drowning out the drizzle
as heart somersaults
to the rhythm of the cycles:
what — tum — am I — ble
doing — tumble — here?
the darks tumble its final spin
as the lights
into a stop.
a whiff into a warm towel
warns me the comforts of home,
of munchies, blankies, and speedy wifi
of cushy floor space where crafting
and writing past midnight can be done in secret
fold — maybe — toss — I changed —
yellow blouse — or gave up too easily —
fold — or could it be —
toss — I’m listening to all the wrong voices? —
red turtleneck — no — flick —
wait, this is so soft now, I guess the washing machine in that guest house in Seoul was indeed really terrible —
fold — yes, this is how it should feel on my skin —
toss – my heart knows, though —
fuzzy sock — maybe home is where I need to be right now —
into basket — there’s nothing wrong with —
grab — starting over again.
escaprilday 2019 // 2: april showers
you said all memorable moments
include an unexpected deluge
I nod and laugh
as the metro ac pierces through
my drenched jacket
I shiver as I feel my clammy socks
cling onto my not-rainproof Docs
(“they’re not?” you ask in shock)
ears ringing still
from speakers booming
throat scratchy from scream-singing
at the top of our lungs.
still, you smile, shiver, and say,
with half-dazed eyes,
all good memories
end in rain.
escaprilday 2019 // 3: incorporate music
“Hope I’m not tired of rebuilding”
at this in-between
this time of heating up lukewarm lattes
and microwaving soggy french fries,
a surrendering of old and new
kindles a familiar tune:
“not what’s easy, what do you want?”
at this in-between,
the seconds between a squat and a jump
or the hours during an endless free fall,
a whisper sings an awakening:
“even a phoenix dies”
so at this in-between
muster up the strength to
and exhale gold.
escaprilday 2019 // 4: anxiety
¡amiga!” he chimes like clockwork
with a sonrisa that has probably charmed plenty of hearts.
my fist bumps his and I walk toward the dark halls
where they tilt their heads forward and say
“안녕하세요” they grin,
some fake, others genuine,
mostly muscle memory.
“哈咯“ she greets as I turn the corner—
a sound of familiarity.
the velcros on my lips finally relax
till we part ways to our stations
“how are you?” their words flow dry
they probably don’t want to find out
my tongue lands on one syllable:
escapril 2019 // 5: back to nature
I’ve a secret spot for seeing stars in Taipei City.
after a day downtown,
blasting my headphones at damaging decibels,
fixing makeup with samples at drugstores,
and chasing after buses,
I skip down the announced “platform two for Taipei Zoo”
and gaze down at the light show stage named Zhongxiao Fuxing.
as the red greens, a rush of headlights streams at me—my eyes
lose focus, my heart
leaps back into my chest just as
the home-bound metro approaches.
I’ll always remember the yard at Tiszavasvári
where we lay to see a starry night drawn by the Creator
after a day of listening to screaming children,
braiding their hairs,
and chasing after the impossible ones,
we stood in awe, jaws dropped, then soon learned
our necks weren’t strong enough
so we lay down, evening breeze
accompanied by the crickets sang a lullaby—
my eyes played a senseless game
of connect-the-dots, my heart skipped several beats
as I let go of the memories of beds and blankets.
escapril 2019 // 6: nostalgia
missing you is easy.
remembering you creeps
up in little mundanities
like a cup of fruit tea
a bottle of Clorox
or an inappropriately loud laughter–
to my consolation, yours is unmatchable.
the sound of your laughter rings
till I can whisper:
escapril 2019 // 7: start with a time of day
for dawn when
we can set yesterday
over this river?
escapril 2019 // 8: love poem
I cannot recall the exact words uttered
but something in my heart fluttered:
our eyes met for a millisecond
we cracked, till our breaths weakened.
our words, lost in the waves
transformed into safes
I open in my heart of hearts
to feel at home within the laughs of your loves.
escapril 2019 // 9: focus on the color
chorok hadn’t found its form in
korean of old. fields of
grass and evergreens,
little plates of herbal banchan,
lush of summers,
and squirming caterpillars
all existed as paran– that same
color ascribed to vast oceans,
and sunny skies
then one lively spring, chorok
creeped its way into our tongues,
demanding to be seen on
the mountain tops, and
cross walk lights
though some still speak “the light
and the incorrigible children’s tune
singing of spring
blossoming into paran,
chorok sprouts an entrance
undeniable to out naked eyes.
escapril 2019 // 10: femininity
back slides down on the uncomfortable bus seat,
fingers stroke through my freshly buzzed head,
while many eyes fixate above my eyes,
“is she a boy or a girl?”
“is she a lesbian?”
“what happened to her… hair?”
eyes read their faces,
mouth struts a big yawn with no reflex system telling me to conceal it.
imagination floats to a stadium,
feet stands on the podium,
I’m still so-very-much a lady–
just not fair like Audrey,
nor dainty like a stereotype,
or as brave as Joan,
and definitely not as attractive than most
but maybe more like
the ones writing history
escapril 2019 // 11: not from your perspective
most of the time I sit beside the maroon sofa
where you watch tv and transform into a potato
I wait and wait for that sweet moment
you grab my handle
travel me to a flat desk
wind me up with thread
hook me up to a pedal
switch my light on
smooth out a piece of fabric
pinned up in zig zag
zoom, crackle, buzz,
your hands sync to my rhythm
you pray I don’t jam
or break your thread
then you announce with pride
escapril 2019 // 12: spring cleaning
it takes two countries
thirty trash bags
and an infinite repetition of
“do we need this?”
for a soul to grasp the spider web line
between a desire and a necessity.
then a decade teaches the
escapril 2019 // 13: celestial bodies
seeing you was as easy as
some nightly glow at your half
a big blazing ball of light on my half
escapril 2019 // 14: make it rhyme
a sonnet-full of embellishments, fake
notions of how lovely you are like some
weather in summer or spring, homemade cake
that tastes like cheap flour and rotten eggs, numb
from clichés, the love songs that never shut
up, posed photos of arms around my waist,
a let-me-take-that gentleness, so what
are you doing? leaving sour aftetaste
in our hearts. no, this sonnet is not for
us. we don’t need guidelines to fall in love,
nor the recipes known to prevent war
(it cannot be all fair in war and love),
so stop. steep in this silence as your hand
finds mine in this complicated quicksand.
escapril 2019 // 15: describe a smell
a dash of prickliness:
prickly, like appa’s beard attacking my forehead as he plants a kiss.
then an overwhelming sense of saltiness:
salty, like that time I accidentally used the spoon side of the seasoning bottle
or tasting my own sweat or tears.
something rotting at slow decay.
fruit flies feast.
my nose shoots me back to
halmoni yelling something in dialect, umma replying.
I stand in the middle of the market square, I’m ten.
they promised me jjajangmyeon,
my nostrils can hold out just a minute more.
escapril 2019 // 16: any dreams?
I was to be a Pokemon trainer by day
and Sailor Moon by night
but adults hung my creativity dry
but music chose me not
draw designs, sew coutures, walk the runway myself
but whispers yelled discouragements
couldn’t care: I was a realistic teen
I tip-toe about my heart
trying my best not to pick on scabs,
unable to answer any questions
albeit an I-don’t-know
has never sounded more
comforting and clear.
hear the wounds heal
to the beat of the unicorn hooves.
escapril 2019 // 17: body as friend or foe
I was born in Guatemala,
but my father’s from Georgia
he’s a musician, he produces
K-pop albums and we travel the world
searching for the next big deal,
my mother paints apples, she’s from Zimbabwe
she also writes Chinese poems.
It’s all true—
my body deceives every bit of reality within me.
escapril 2019 // 18: a happy place
hear nose tickle
with the sound of lavender feathers
eyes will open up to inhale
the golden hours spent
under Your glorious dance
escapril 2019 // 19: without your name, who are you?
if an utterance of a name
can form a heart,
her name has been called by many
if each spoken word forms
a vibration into what we are,
she’s a someone
whispered into a myriad of paradoxes:
she’s an asteroid, crashing fast,
she’s a cup of tea, calm,
idle, ready for nothing.
escapril 2019 // 20: a liminal space
this amorphous ground feels comfortable,
the excruciating humidity,
drowsy rain, busy friends,
false pride, miscalculating time.
Prufrock measures his life in coffee spoons,
but Zeno says nothing ever reaches its destinations.
the Knight holds his tongue
yet his heart flutters a violent beat.
I’m just another contra, letting my feet skip away
as each step echoes heart beating somewhere
escapril 2019 // 21: it’s the end of the world
no zombie apocalypse,
the sun still functions,
stars are still, hearts
unbroken, no one
escaping to Mars,
no fatal goodbyes.
one silent pink noise
a purple glow,
“welcome back home”
escapril 2019 // 22: nourishment
last month, I met a little
I took it back to my little
and named it little
I loved it little
I gave it little
droplets of water,
words of compliment,
took it to my little
the sun peeped through
it grew a little,
I did too.
escapril 2019 // 23: when the party’s over
recollect spilled laughters —
this, for unworthy jokes,
that, for suave comments,
maybe one for someone dreamy —
bottle them up,
keep them fresh
for the next sea of
escapril 2019 // 24: liar, liar
how to be a compulsive liar
one: disregard empathy, embrace despondency, think selfish,
my life doesn’t have to tell truth tales, no one needs to know.
two: rehearse recollections, think practicality, use names they’d never check,
let myself believe in each detail, each sight, smell the scenario
three: speak the perfectly fabricated phrases into existence,
no need to bat an eye, stutter a detail, overthink a loophole.
for example: “yeah, the party was fun. we walked around the park afterwards.
who? oh no, he wasn’t there. he had an important family dinner.”
four: remember the lie, inform reliable partners in crime if necessary,
never bring it back, stick to your guns.
promise yourself: they can’t hurt, they’ll never know.
remember: truths hurt, they’re inconvenient, it’s none of their business.
dig: until your shovel breaks.
drown out: every kindness the world has to offer.
die: in the said dug hole, climb out just to
repeat: until trust is a pair of cracked glasses, refuse to see a redemption until
die again: learn that these walls must go —
invite: the uncomfortableness that is vulnerability
repeat: until system reboots.
escapril 2019 // 25: pick an animal
my giraffe friend
shades me when the sun’s high
and warms me when the wind’s rough,
meeting her eyes pains me with
an aching neck,
she will always stand tall in a room,
there’s no shelf too high for me,
when she’s close by.
escapril 2019 // 26: girlhood, boyhood, childhood
when I was older, I had a pair of
very pink sneakers
they’d glitter in the sun,
glamoured in gemstones for dignity
velcros loud enough to turn heads
when it was time to take them off
I glanced over my neighbors’ shelves:
ugly. blue. brown. ugly. mine trampled over all.
then my eyes stood silent
as I zone in
on her pair of Gundam sneakers
secretly jealous, mostly confused,
extremely frustrated of rule-breaking
girls, defying pink, watching animation
for boys only
now, I wear boring black or white shoes
so do most humans with feet.
escapril 2019 // 27: the state of it all
a harmless push from their arms
my chest thrusts back
limbs under a spell
all bones removed
“catch me if you can”
why don’t you save me
’cause you can?
escapril 2019 // 28: reflection
memories retraces a blur
red dye fading
cigarette between your fingers
standing mostly on your right leg–
you let out a puff as i tell you “i’m imaginary.”
you say you couldn’t have
so i tease you more with a kiss
“that wasn’t real
that was you imagining it all
a manic pixie
the loneliness got to your brains
you flick away the cigarette
eyes reflecting my face
you kiss me back and say
“please don’t do this to my brain
far too real for me i’m not smart like that”
the buzzing bus terminal is real
you and i are real
but i’m not
you’re no more
escapril 2019 // 29: may flowers
she died a few days ago—
flew off the rooftop
fallen against teeming
the most beautiful of flowers
only last a day or two
you said we are beautiful
because we’re ephemeral
but what happens when
fleeting moments like
a crash kilometers away
pain for someone I never knew?
escapril 2019 // 30: catharsis
yesterday, I cleaned out my room
bugs infested each and every corner
I tried to catch them but they
hid away between the nooks and crannies
whispering schemes to each other
learning the dustiest corners I’ve ignored
waiting for a perfect time to kill
so I dusted out the corners
rearranged the furnitures
repainted the scratches
thinking cover-ups should make anew
yesterday, I cleaned out my room
praying for the bug spray to kill,
I felt seventeen, rearranging photographs,
filling up a space with desired personalities,
she would have been proud
there’s nothing I’d tell her, but to say
yesterday, I cleaned my room, for another hundredth time
they say an odyssey is a cycle
ending with a catharsis
where you come clean
but yesterday, I cleaned my room