Autobiographical Alphabet: Part 1

Hi friends,

For those of you who have been following me on Instagram for the last little while, you may know that I’ve recently released a series of micro-poems there.

If not, the collection is called Autobiographical Alphabet: Life After Nineteen.

The poems were written in 2017, after I turned twenty. In New Zealand & Australia where I’m from, 18 and 21 are considered ceremonious years. Personally, I feel like the transition between 19 to 20 is, linguistically at least, just as important because it marks one’s departure from the ‘-teen’ years (13-19).

With the set structure of the alphabet and the challenge of keeping to only a sentence or two per poem, I wanted to use this series to explore more broadly who I am and what I observe & feel in this awkward phase when I am no longer a child but don’t quite feel like a proper adult.

I’ll be delving into some of the circumstances and intentions surrounding the pieces below. In all honesty, I think that to a large degree, an author’s intent is irrelevant to a reading and it’s important for you to take away what you will from the standalone poems. With that being said, I selfishly wanted to explain them a bit more so I can pour over these memories & experiences yet again. I’m sure there are some people who are curious about it too, so this is for me & you :—)


I wrote this poem for a friend who I’ve known since intermediate (middle school). She is an absolute angel – beautiful, kind, perfect. I don’t think I’ve met more than a handful of other people who are genuinely as soft and pure.

Though sometimes in private I’d wonder if she was a bit too perfect. Maybe it makes me a bad person (I’d never argue to the contrary) but I kept waiting for the day when the image would crack and something mean or unreasonable will spill out…but it never did. When a boy broke her heart, she mourned so gently and with so much poise that it left me unsettled.

I didn’t put my finger on it until recently. Perhaps it’s just me overthinking but it was almost like she couldn’t allow herself to hold onto an ounce of bitterness, even when she had every right to, in case it stained her with something that was too dark and too real. Ugly.

This poem is for her and women in general who were taught that they had to hide their pain. For women who are expected to shirk their own needs forever and always so they can be so good and generous to everyone else with their seemingly endless love and comfort.

What are your thoughts on nature vs nurture? Either way, I was a shy and introverted child. Mum always pushed me to speak to strangers and make new friends. A word she always wanted me to strive for was “bubbly”.

Bright, light, fun, harmless, palpable. Her friend’s child was like this, why couldn’t I be? Over a decade later, I would say that I feel like a carefully pruned bonsai tree who has gotten closer and closer to her ideal. I would say “bubbly” is one of the top 5 words most of my friends would use to describe me.

I still don’t like that word. I think it’s because it feels like an act, even now. It’s so tiring to be friendly and happy, it doesn’t really leave room for much of a personality. I don’t know if it’s who I am or who I’ve been taught I should be and being around strangers acting “bubbly” leaves me so flat and empty. Scariest of all though is that the formative years are over, the shape is set, I truly don’t know how else I can present to and exist in this world.

Continue reading “Autobiographical Alphabet: Part 1”

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Unequal Halves (Audio)

Say, do you remember when
we pressed our palms together
and our lifelines intertwined –

I wonder how many millimeters
of time can be measuring in
these tangled memories.

get lost in frayed thoughts,
set tears on fire so cooled hearts
remember what numb is not,
even if the burn is less passion and
more pain, feel it from femur to fingertips.

sometimes I wake up from dreams
that have more vibrancy than reality,
haven’t we all lied in bed for what could
have been a moment or stretched by shadow
into days, into a daze, eyes closed,
trying to slot scrambled scenes into a movie
where we get the happy ending we deserve
before the light turns back on?

when boredom creeps in,
I hold my breath and watch the clock
tick down just so emptiness gains form
and I can be reminded that this body,
gasping for air, wants to be alive.

Tonight, the sky is black.
Fire is calm, heart obsidian, cuts
life in unequal halves.


mentioned: to be unnamed

可惜不是你 – If only it was you

I was in a long distance relationship when I heard this song live in late 2016. I instantly felt a pang in my chest, and it was in that moment that I consciously came to terms with the end of the relationship. There’s really no coming back from mourning a break up that hasn’t happened yet, so that’s why this is a really special song for me.

I tried to remain faithful in my translation but I’ve prioritised capturing the essence of the song first and foremost. I hope it makes you feel something. 


Suddenly, this moment fills with familiarity,
yesterday’s memories playing over reality.
The way I speak is more like you than me,
evidence of the love that used to be.

Almost believed my own lies,
and maybe fooled you too.
loving and being loved don’t always
balance to the same degree.

Being in someone else’s thoughts
is a type of luck, I agree, but I don’t know
how to give myself over completely.

Tried my best to change but I can’t
shift these pre-set boundaries.
I thought being by your side
could be the start of eternity,
but it feels like yesterday,
and yesterday feels so very far away.
Yet when I close my eyes, I can still see –
If only it was you, by my side until the end.
Don’t you remember when we walked and
our shoulders would collide?

But we lost our way, parted at fork-roads,
thank you for being there and holding
my hand, even now your gentleness
lingers on my palms.

That time when our hearts beat as one,
I wish I’m still allowed to care for you.
except you are now part of someone else’s
scenery, I hope in her world you can see
the shadows of night stars stars.

Tried my best to change but I can’t
shift these pre-set boundaries.
I thought being by your side
could be the start of eternity,
but it feels like yesterday,
and yesterday feels so very far away.
Yet when I close my eyes, I can still see –
If only it was you, by my side until the end.
Don’t you remember when we walked and
our shoulders would collide?

But we lost our way, parted at fork-roads,
thank you for being there and holding
my hand, even now your gentleness
lingers on my palms.

Thank you for being there and holding
my hand in yours, I can still feel your
warmth burning in my chest.

Continue reading “可惜不是你 – If only it was you”