She is broken promises
piled up like plastic takeaway
containers. The bins stink
like hypocrisy and a million
dead fish screaming silently.
Excuses stain apologetic teeth in
shades of lost crimson, I suppose
sometimes the daysblendintonight
followed by another #094183 sunrise.
As green-eyed monster sinks deeper
into orange-pink sulci, she ferments
gram after gram of misdirected
resentment in saliva before swallowing
self whole. Become this dark,
bottomless hole – name it stomach
rather than mind or soul, convince herself
she can quantify abstract problems on
scale and in mirror, feed herself lie on top of lie until it hurts to swallow.
Forget how to hunger, watch young skin stretch
from feigned indifference to
burdensome vanity as weighed
heart learns to falter faster
than it flutters. At least that is
the sous-chef’s choice of the day.
On the cusp of 22, serve up
seasoned afflictions, boiled-down
spiked with low self-esteem,
no guarantee who tomorrow will be.
do you remember
when we were younger
and they told us
we could hear the ocean
if we held a sea shell to our ears
as if those lifeless husks
contained some echo of home?
as a naive & introverted child,
my brown spotted conch shell
became one of my most prized possessions
and I spent hours upon hours
at my auditory beach
close my eyes
so the waves
could drown out reality.
well it turns out
they lied to us
like they did about everything else
(faeries, santa, growing up)
and the sea-like sounds we heard
was just our surrounding environment
resonating within the cavity of the shell
I guess you cannot escape reality
only distort it temporarily
google tells me
it’s a cheap trick
replicable with an empty plastic cup
(by holding it up to your ear
or finishing the liquor inside)
To my ex-best friend: I don’t remember what I did or didn’t do but I’m still sorry I hurt you and I wish I wasn’t the coward that run away from such trivial problems. More than that, I wish that I listened to my own mantra of ‘when the going gets tough the tough gets going.’ I wonder if you’ll remember my name when we’re both 80? p.s. I hope you knew that I love(d) you.
To my ex-boyfriend: They say that children are the most hurtful because they don’t think about what they’re saying or doing and looking back, we were definitely children. I think my favourite memory of us was the first time you took my hand and didn’t let go or maybe one of the numerous times where we’d at the back of KFC, shaking salt off of their (overly seasoned) fries as we talked about nothing in particular. The good thing about children is that eventually we grow up & I really don’t think present day us would have hurt each other so intentionally. p.s. I have yet to write a poem about you and I probably never will, no particular reason why.
To my ex-crush: You. You held my attention for the longest time and to this day, I don’t know how you did it. Did you know that I kept a diary around the time that we met? It’s so embarrassing how your name seems to litter every other page mixed in with excessive praise written in clumsy cursive. Thank you for conversations until 4am, for being the closest thing that I’ll ever have to the one that got away and for being my muse for too many angsty poems that I can’t find anymore. p.s. I am often up until 1am these days, watching rubbish television or writing university essays without noticing when the clock hits 11.11 but if I could have just one more wish, it would be for you to remember us sometimes, when nothing else is on your mind.
I think it’s often the little things we do that speaks volumes and today I heard your love so clearly through a home cooked meal.
I decided to come visit you because it was the weekends and I knew I could squeeze a free lunch out of the trip so, why not, right?
As expected, you were cooking something simply mouthwatering when I arrived – udon noodles stir-fried with chilies, sliced capsicums, carrots and portobello mushrooms. A sprinkle of salt and a dash of sesame oil later, lunch was ready to be served.
I noticed that you had fried an egg earlier and put it on the side and that seemingly insignificant gesture to others reminded me of how thoughtful you are.
It was less than a week ago that I told you about being vegan and you didn’t really understand what I meant at first. Then you completely (but respectfully) disagreed with my views. You then transitioned to becoming concerned for my health and trying to convince me to change my mind.
Despite this, you cooked the egg on the side.
Moreover, you have always been a strong willed woman and you’re well into your forties. That’s more than enough time and personality to be obstinately set in your ways. Ways that include adding eggs to udon noodles because you think it’s healthy and adds flavour to the dish even after everything I’ve said about them.
Despite this, you cooked the egg on the side.
You took the trouble to cook the egg separately and add it to your own plate even if it would have been easier and more enjoyable for you if you just put it into the dish because you knew that it would bother me and that mattered to you.
Thank you mum, that was one of the most delicious and meaningful meals I have ever eaten. Thank you for always trying your best to respect, understand and love me even though you may not always support everything I do.
I haven’t made it easy either, I am definitely not getting an award for being the best daughter of the year any time soon. I think the last time I gave you something for Mother’s Day was before I entered high school (and that was a ‘card’ I wrote on the back of a fake $100 bill I printed on A4 paper and your name stitched onto fabric I claimed could be used as a phone case at that).
Sorry for tuning you out in favour of the arrogant whispers of my ego that I knew better and that I could do everything myself. It has taken me 18 years to figure out that I don’t have to treat you with childhood reverence or teenage contempt. I don’t quite know what this stage entails but I do know that I love you too and it’s about time I start treating you how you’ve always tried to treat me.
It’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and I promise to make yours a happy one in any way I can.