Escapril 2019

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.

coins clink,

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

click —

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

but —

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

inhale blue

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

3 a.m.

why wait

for dawn when

we can set yesterday


in flames

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

street signs,

the mountain tops, and

cross walk lights

though some still speak “the light

turned paran”,

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

the bus,

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,

voice declares:

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

“et voila!”

escapril 2019 // 12: spring cleaning

it takes two countries

few cities

thirteen houses

fifteen boxes

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

same soul


spectrums soften

escapril 2019 // 13: celestial bodies

if only

seeing you was as easy as

some nightly glow at your half

reflecting off

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


a singer-songwriter

but music chose me not


fashion designer,

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

fluttering by

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,

uncontrollable, unexpected.

she’s a cup of tea, calm,

idle, ready for nothing.

escapril 2019 // 20: a liminal space

this amorphous ground feels comfortable,

excuses acceptable:

the excruciating humidity,

drowsy rain, busy friends,

false pride, miscalculating time.

they say:

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”

it said.

escapril 2019 // 22: nourishment

last month, I met a little

potted plant.

I took it back to my little

suffocating room

and named it little

foggy star.

I loved it little

by little

I gave it little

droplets of water,

spoke little

words of compliment,

took it to my little

window sill

the sun peeped through

a little.

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


mutual someone,



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

“you’re it!”

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

crooked smile

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

new school

a manic pixie

the loneliness got to your brains

that’s all”

you flick away the cigarette

eyes reflecting my face

you kiss me back and say

“please don’t do this to my brain

you’re real

far too real for me i’m not smart like that”

i snicker

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

reborn lives

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