88

the sun never hid its light
because someone else
feared its brilliance

never dim your success
for the sake
of another person’s insecurity;
it’s not your responsibility
to make them feel
bigger than you.

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87

spring cleaning
what am I meant to do
with all this love I have for you?
tucked away in scribbled journals
pressed old flowers
I know what clean looks like –
maybe that’s why
scrubbing you off my skin
feel so dirty.

This summer, I swear I’ll…

Dedicate time to be a better me!

As the weather gets warmer, I’m feeling productive. I’ve created a summer bucket list of things I’d like to accomplish by September to keep myself continuously improving, creating and being me, more often, and I wanted to share it with you all. Feel free to take it for your own!

  1. Write and compose a song (This one terrifies me because I know I can write lyrics but I’m not sure I can compose. Any advice, PLEASE sound off below!)
  2. Write for Medium
  3. Write for Globe and Mail
  4. Go swimming!
  5. Write for ten minutes about the Word Of The Day, everyday
  6. Buy a bike
  7. Go to two concerts
  8. Learn how to and bake macrons
  9. Go to Canada’s Wonderland (I haven’t been in years, and I LOVE roller coasters)
  10. Have three picnics (High Park, Toronto islands, Trinity Bellwoods)
  11. Go to a kickboxing class
  12. Save $4,000 (not including tuition)

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What are some things on your list? Do you have any advice for songwriting? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Love,
ELLE

86

I spent a lot of time trying
to fit into another skin tone –
dyeing my hair lighter
wearing muted clothing
pretending to dread the lunches my mother packed
that my friends always made fun of

Today, my jet-black hair requires no comb
I pack delicate, complex meals
speak three languages and
languish, knowing
what an honour it is
to just be asian.

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! I’m dedicating a few poems to my family this May. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below.

Love,
ELLE

85

I used to bastardize my name
so it’d fit more conveniently
in a western mouth.

I’m convinced that cultural names
are uttered like spells
magic only we possess –
why bother making it easy on others, when
they should be grateful we’ve
blessed them in the first place?

I’ve heard the music in
a tonal language,
tasted the sweetness of coconuts
that ripen in the Vietnamese sun
how dare I leave a bitter taste on
the surname that surpassed
generations

 

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! I’m dedicating a few poems to my family this May. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below.

Love,
ELLE

 

84

My mother cleaned the houses of
retired rich white women
so she could put food on the table.
My father worked 30 years at a company
that let him go in a blink
2008 collateral damage

I sit in lecture halls and
learn about the placement of stars
the French Revolution, the
abolition of slavery and yet I’ve never
learned to live with this guilt.

My mother has never seen
the inside of a lecture hall
(I skip tutorials all the time)
I sit behind a desk and craft ideas
while my mother is elbows-deep in citrus soap

The thing I’ve learned the most is
that maybe being an immigrant’s daughter is
to live a life of guilt
because I know
that this future of success ahead
is nothing short of
the plan my parents so carefully
and lovingly
worked so tirelessly for me to achieve.

 

Happy Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. I’m dedicating a few poems to my family this May. Please feel free to share your immigrant stories in the comments below.

Love,
ELLE

83

you’re light pouring through stained glass
I’m waiting to see a shadow, but
all there is
is dozens of refracted, coloured light
showing me all the ways I’m different
and that there’s nothing wrong with me
even when I’m looking for it