38

Take what you’re given:
if you wanted to share this poem with your family and friends,
maybe you should’ve
behaved better.

Elementary school science class:
you relish in this universe and build a mobile
of bent metal and styrofoam;
your father swears
it’s the best he’s seen.

I wish this was news you could bring back to your mother
and how proud she would’ve been
of such a modest man.

Truthfully, if I could,
I’d rearrange your solar system,
tuck the sun away somewhere hidden.
You’d look for it under tables
and at least when you found it again,
touched it with your hands,
you might be a bit warmer than before.

Taking on convenient characteristics of
surroundings around,
you’d be red at the playground
and blue on your doorstep.
Intrinsic to me, I forgave you
before you’ve apologized.
Unique to you, I’m just a trinket
in the ballerina box.

Thank you to onewithclay for giving me the word ‘intrinsic’! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout if I use it!

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37

Keep the candle alight
so you can see me
even with less.

Crescent moon:
those going through the hardest times
often seem the softest.
Check on the strong friends
because they’ve learned to glow at night
even with only a quarter of themselves.

If you often find solace
against someone else’s shoulder,
always be sure to leave the floor to them
when your tears are dry.

I’ve felt the helplessness
of losing a friend
who couldn’t tell his story
loud enough so I could hear.
Did we fail each other?

There comes a point where it’s up to us
to open our ears
pour some tea
and listen to the strong ones;
their stories of sadness are just as sad
as the ones they gave advice on
when the words came out of your mouth.

 

Thank you to skycielo for giving me the prompt ‘crescent moon’ and AP Christopher for giving me the word ‘solace’! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout if I use it!

Inspo from you!

Hi everyone!

First, I wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone following along my summer ELLEventure on my Instagram, @elleguyen, as I’ve been in my internship for a full month now. You’ve all been so sweet and asking how it has been going–and I’m happy to report that I LOVE it! It’s so amazing to be surrounded by brilliant marketing and PR minds, I’m learning something new everyday. I’ve even been given the responsibility of launching some campaigns on my own which is such a great experience.

Second, I’m sorry that I haven’t been as responsive as I usually am, but as always, I’m taking the time to leave comments on your blogs when you comment on mine. Everything is about taking and giving! 🙂

The thing with the right campaign is all about the right word choice. And since I’ve been in a bit of a blogging rut, I was hoping to pick your brain and find out what words or phrases you specifically love.

For example, my current writing ‘prompt’ list has some ideas like:

  • illuminate
  • an elementary school solar system styrofoam model
  • a beach and crashing waves
  • quiet defeat
  • addiction vs the real you
  • post-concert depression

Please comment below some words, places, descriptions, quotes, ideas or anything that really gets your creative juices flowing! If I use your prompt in a Sunday post in the upcoming weeks, I will leave a shoutout to your blog at the end of my piece, so you get that exposure too.

Thank you for your help!

Love,

ELLE

36

If you ask me if I’m fluent,
I’d say I’m fluent in a rhetoric that wasn’t
on my mother’s tongue.

This city is filled with immigrant hearts
those in search of kinder faces.
A woman once asked me where the post office was
and in the midst of her broken English, I realized
how smart she must be in Spanish.

I’m sorry that you’ve come from the ends of this earth
in search of softer soil
stayed up late, Rosetta Stone
that now, you can read
an online forum people who don’t want you.
This nation is not a hotel
we’re a home
and you’re welcome here, always.

They can’t teach you resilience in a classroom
a mother leaves her entire life behind
to hope for a better future of her child
(who hasn’t even been born yet)
truly a sacrifice, immeasurable.

If we spend our days closing our borders to our brothers and sisters
if we are all molded of dirt from the same earth
when it rains and we all turn to mud,
will we know, even then, where we each end and begin?

35

Sometimes, loving someone
is about leaving them the way they are.
Not everyone belongs on your to-do list,
not everyone is fit to be fixed.

While we may believe that
we’re meant to leave people
better than we found them,
sometimes, we’re just meant to leave.

If I tried to censor every mouth I met that ever
uttered a nasty word,
I’d be a moth
racing towards every light, enticing,
trying
to kill me.

There is no shame giving up
on someone you just couldn’t save
if it means you save yourself from it, too.
There is courage in continuing to keep the door propped open
even after the bad ones got in.
But there isn’t in sewing yourself up
even when you knew it’d
hurt this much after.

Not everyone can be saved from themselves;
it is not your responsibility to save each one.
Sometimes, loving yourself
is about hearing footsteps enter your home
that already sound like someone leaving
and not take this as a challenge, but knowing it’s
just someone on their way out.

34

If our story came with footnotes,
may we never refer to them.
A spine, crackling
cover to cover overflowing,
documenting everyday:
a weather forecast
a ticket stub

Our first kiss tasted just like
the next decades of my life
flashing before my eyes.

When the sun shines
peeking through, peach tones
that’s the lightness I feel
coming home to you.
You told me once that the freckles on my cheeks
were proof of every time the sun
kissed my face.

When the time comes
and the sky opens up and we’re swallowed whole
I pray I enter empty-handed, with nothing to show.
“I have gifted all the love you afforded me,”
and the universe would laugh,
“While you have none of what I gave you
all those years ago,
you are still adorned
with someone who has offered his
back to you.”

33

Bumblebee
buzzing over mason jar
your mother’s secret recipe
embalmed in glass
a strawberry, macerated
soaked in sugar, honey
in my bloodstream.

Crimson checkered cloth
scratchy grass just a fabric away
a summer of sunburnt complaining
and wearing rose-coloured glasses by fall.

I’m flipping pages of someone else’s story
laying, leisure
the protagonist battles the beast
as I tame my windswept hair

A watermelon in July
the peak of fruit
like the trailhead of a hike,
I come back every summer
to stay in the warmth
just a little bit longer.