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

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80

envision ambitions that are so loud
everyone can hear them

you’ve come all this way
everything that is ahead
is yours

 

 

I’ve had a crazy week launching ZED, a marketing agency run by 16-24 year olds across the country. I thought I’d share the pick-me-up I wrote to get me through this thrilling (and exhausting week).

Also, are you doing #NationalPoetryMonth? I am! Connect with me on Twitter to see my posts every night.

Love,
ELLE

79

of the love and lack thereof
I’ve cried over and ached upon
I can’t seem to will myself
to go back and wipe up those tears
erase those scars-in-the-making;
because everyday since,
poetry has melted off my skin
and onto pages and pages and pages.

 

 

A year and half since my launch on October 1, 2017, I hope you enjoy this refreshed look to the blog. I started this blog with no intention of where it is today–and I’m taking this 18-month mark to declare that it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Thank you for your support on this whirlwind.

Love,
ELLE

78

I’ve dreamt of starting over
and this time, doing
everything just right
as if my failures
were wrong

in the airport
loaded with families greeting hello
lovers saying goodbye,
travellers unravelling maps

terminal gates waiting to be
pulled apart
the sound of wheels taking off,
wheels landing,
and luggage wheeled from
one country to the next
I realize I’m actually all these things:
the baggage I carry,
I’m arriving and leaving
all at once.

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.

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!