73

elle
like a stream of consciousness
in one frosted, december breath
wrapped in a bow
christmas lights, tangled

I’ve never used that name
except only as a writer, I
pen those four letters like poetry
I’m a writer, I say
I’m a whole person using half
my name to truly show
my real self

elle
like one fluid motion
no need to even pick up the pen
because who I am
inked in these lined papers
is as close to me as
I have ever been

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71

Being your very best
is always going to be enough.
Home sweet home:
the ceiling of success
doesn’t knock on
your neighbour’s door
to compare Venetian blinds.

May this be the
anthem of your aspiration:
even if your 100% is someone else’s 75%
you’ve still given everything you had
your progress is still valid
and your worth is as never-ending as
scrolling to the bottom of
the highlight reels
of your friends and family.

So set your phone down
forgive yourself,
do your absolute best,
move onto bigger things,
and decide to always be more
than what a screen ascribes
you should be.

68

I’ve been in pursuit of success
so much that I wouldn’t recognize it
if it were handed to me.

Aspirations that grew into
expectations, malignant
and expanding beyond me
everyday.

I’ve always feared broke billions.
Debt free but benign,
nothing past due and yet
no memories to share.

For all the times I bought tickets
and figured out the details later,
let’s promise to make time for
the things that make us rich
even if they don’t
make us money.

67

Find discomfort in the hem
of your occasion dress
zips on the side–
boys left behind
gawking at the sheer sight
of your lacy best.

Have you ever entered
a room filled,
familiar-faced
but not acquainted enough to
strike the ice?

All dressed up, nowhere to go
you arrive and yet
feel uninvited before
opening your lipstick mouth.

Surface-level small-talk: to
ask questions of others, to
keep conversation alive
I wonder if they sense my
mild polite engagement
as attention nonetheless.

My discomposure
a child nagging at my leg
pulling the sewn thread
and unravelling until I look
as naked as I feel.

66

I’ve watched house plants
both die and return home
time and time again.

What strength it is
to try again every Spring;
jostled back to life
by sheer nature alone
just when I was ready
to bury them.

Oh, the times I have found
myself so forgiving
the very course of how things
were meant to be
my branches flit away
a little lighter than before.

Unburdened by another’s opinion,
trusting in this process
to die and wither and believe
that I’ll spring back
when I’m ready.

 

As 2018 comes to an end, I hope all of you take the time to reflect on all your accomplishments, your hardships, your successes and your shortcomings with equal love and adoration for both the good and the bad that got you here. May your Resolutions be achievable, self-loving, and fulfilling.

Chúc mừng năm mới!

Love,
ELLE

65

Holidays used to horrify
my sanity and sensibility.
The last minute scramble
to be cuffed to a decent man
of decent values to decently
satisfy my family’s questions.

To be presented at the
dinner table, served
as arm candy
dressed to impress.
With or without a man
I’m the appetizer, the entrée, the dessert
I’m not a plus one.

I am a worthy dinner guest
to any evening soiree.
I’m fine on my own, thank you
frankly, I’m wonderful company.