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.

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43

Silent auction:
all the parts of my body
touched without consent.
Highest bidder
my currency in
all the words
I didn’t say.

Pawned off, no password
no security question that
this was something I wanted;
unauthorized login, unknown server—
are my terms and conditions in such small font
they lay, unadhered?
How do I make Arial
louder?

If only I smiled more, I’d be
grateful
degraded
an arm, grabbed
crowded bar
a leg, grazed
lonely apartment.

I didn’t welcome you here—
didn’t your mother teach you
to never overstay?
Or did your father teach you
it was my fault
for letting you in?
Which is an easier pill to swallow?

If you have liquid courage in your glass,
what do I have
in mine?

 

Thanks to varjakBaby for the prompt, “The handy-dandy computer programmer’s pocket reference”! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout!

41

Everything I am
and everything I will become
is already within me.
All the tools I’ll need to cultivate internal growth
are hip-holstered, at my disposal.

I find comfort in that
there is nothing new that will become of me
but the fate that was decided
the day I was born.

Like an abandoned backyard set,
I thanked everyone who entered my life
for all they taught me
as I looked at that empty swing
nostalgic and grateful
for the way they’d leave.

“Everyone you meet has a story to tell you,”
forces us to take those coming and going
as gifts
of shaping us;
that they can’t resist leaving because
that’s what they were meant to do.

The lesson of leaving is not in the longing
clinging to the memory of a back, receding.
The lesson is in dusting off your jeans
and reaching to your hip
to find out what to do next.

 

Thanks to skycielo for the prompt “empty swing set”! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout!

39

Confetti filled vault
anecdotally filled with
all the lies you’ve ever told.
Would it hurt you to read
as much as it wouldn’t have hurt
all the people you lied to
to spare their feelings?

“I didn’t mean to say that”
“No, I wasn’t”
“I promise”
“I’m sorry.”

This reciprocity of intimacy
we’ve all feigned to protect
praying they’ll never find out
falling prey to knowing better
than tell the truth.

Are we all keepers of vaults?
are they all just as full as the next?
Are we protecting each other
fibbers
bitter
from all the truths we wish
we could’ve saved ourselves from?

 

Thanks to wordslikebreath for the prompt “vault” and to A.P. Christopher for the word “reciprocity”! If I use a prompt you’ve left for me, I’ll give you a shoutout! 

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!

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