A Pair of Poems Without Pictures

i wonder if the charm of mismatched socks transfer to poetry?

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i am a fish
circling his hook
with baited breath
and not enough regrets
(yet)

AU – 79

i choose to be a walking cliche
because actions speak louder than words
and there is nothing wrong
with having a heart of gold
if you have the strength to stand up tall
despite, or perhaps, because of it.

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Tiny Letters I Will Never Send: Part Two

Part 2: Exes 

romantic and otherwise, to strangers that weren’t 

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.

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To ex-maggy (2011): you weren’t as cool as you thought you were, sorry!

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The Combustion Triangle of the Heart

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in a world
without trust,
I will no longer feel the heat of betrayal

in a world
without betrayal,
I will no longer find fuel for hope

in a world
without hope,
I will no longer need to hold my breath

they say fire
needs three elements
to expel the dark

but I’m afraid
that a stray spark
could burn the entire town to the ground

perhaps it is worse,
that nobody can ever wring this wretched heart dry
and I shall drown in this lake named sorrow.

Continue reading “The Combustion Triangle of the Heart”

Tiny Letters I Will Never Send: Part One

Part One: Mum

Dear Mum:

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.

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sadly I didn’t think to take a picture of my own meal at the time (photo credit)

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.


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on letting go & alice in wonderland

I have a confession to make.

Disclaimer: If you know me even moderately well in real life, this won’t be news to you but

I can become slightly very unhealthily obsessed with other people.

Just a few minutes ago, I caught myself a few months deep into an old friend’s Instagram account that I’d just discovered. When I tried to pull myself out of the #valencia rabbit hole, more than a few familiar faces flashed past as my phone painstakingly recreated the tenuous links I followed to find my ‘Alice’, seemingly in an effort to remind me of a fact that I’m well aware of: I’m a little bit mad.

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(C) Maggy Liu

Instead of focusing on how intrinsically creepy my behaviour is, I’ve decided that I’m more bothered by how much ‘Alice’ & I’s paths have diverged and all I know about an ex-friend are some pixels on the screen.

Should I be happy that we live in such a narcissistic and technologically advanced society that I’m able to access her life in this way? If it was back in my parents’ time, I would have nothing but fond memories and a colourful imagination but somehow, this feels sadder. Witnessing what feels like intimate moments of someone’s life whilst being fully aware that they’re broadcasted to an audience including strangers makes the experience decidedly less special. This takes an even more sombre turn when you can’t even recall when you’ve become one of the outsiders too. Continue reading “on letting go & alice in wonderland”

on homesickness & the little mermaid

After moving to a new country for university, I fell sick.

I wonder if it’s because my body is stuck in limbo between newfound unpredictability and missing old routines and that’s why at night these maladjusted bones creak for home…

Loneliness.

It almost feels taboo to say out loud.

Even more so if I add another layer of association:

I am lonely.

Homesickness is insidious. It hides in the shadows before it suddenly swallows you whole, leaving just an empty shell of who you are behind. I noticed its presence as I was pretending to laugh the other day, suddenly continuing the facade of being happy all the time felt so tiring. Continue reading “on homesickness & the little mermaid”

Life: Graduation

Hey, it’s been a while.

I always feel terrible when I take too long of a hiatus without any good excuses but I just haven’t been motivated to write anything, sorry! I don’t really know how other people’s creative processes work, but in my case, I have to wait for ideas to find me, which as you can imagine, limits my output dramatically.

That being said, I am most certainly my own muse when it comes to writing about my life so what better subject to exploit than myself? I guess the biggest (albeit a bit late) update I have is:

 – I am no longer a high school student –

I don’t really remember the exact date of graduation, especially since our emotions were then dragged over the tedious but important final exams for the next month or so. On one hand, I’m completely over it. I’m so glad that I am moving past this part of my life and excited to take on bigger and better things, but on the other hand, I don’t feel ready at all for what’s to come.

Thinking too much about the future fills me with jolts of panic about whether I’ll get into my university of first choice, if I’ll survive moving out of home or be able to make any friends…

Most of the time, I just feel like I don’t deserve to graduate yet with the minuscule amount of knowledge and life experience I have. I mean for heaven’s sake, I don’t even know what price point I should purchase potatoes at to get a bargain, much less how tax return works!

Continue reading “Life: Graduation”

Lenny’s Oranges

This is a true story from when I was a little girl. Although the details have blurred over the years, the feeling of regret that comes along with this recollection has not changed. 

Oranges – Dan Petrov

When I was just five years old, my family migrated from China to New Zealand. We lived in a unit house, because that was the best that my parents could afford. I thought of it as a quirky little place. It was like living in the middle of an evenly sliced chocolate-log-house, everything was so much fun! Thinking back, it must have been a difficult time for my parents, leaving their white-collar jobs behind to become a waitress and butcher in a country where they barely spoke the language. I was too young to understand all they went through, instead, I became enamoured by the orange tree in our backyard.

It was, admittedly, a rather ugly thing. Wrangled limbs reaching for, but not quite touching the sky as droopy leaves clung onto peeling bark. That didn’t matter though, because it bore fruit that tasted like drops of sunshine. I remember being upset during summer when there were far too many oranges to eat and stuffing myself full so they would not be wasted. I loved how my mother carefully peeled back the lumpy, freckled skin and a faint citrus perfume would fill the air. If you concentrated hard enough, you could still smell the remnants of happiness hours later, clinging to the space under her nail bed, my teeth, our hair as the summer fruit stained our hearts with joy. Ah the memory of tangy jewels of succulent juice bursting on our tongues before fading to a uniform sweetness… Continue reading “Lenny’s Oranges”

#3 Ode

definition: a lyric poem, typically one in the form of an address to a particular subject, written in varied or irregular metre (a classical poem of a kind originally meant to be sung)


Mayflies.

Mayflies spend a year awaiting their birth, and then most die after living just one day. Their sole purpose is to pass on their genes.

we all are born
bright eyed like mayflies
on a linear path
to our own demise
no purpose but to 

die 

but that doesn’t mean we won’t
try find meaning to a short lived life
no time to cry
fly towards the light
quickly, before –
good night.


Leaves.

if my hope for humanity
had to be stored somewhere
I would place it
in a seed
planted into the palms of lovers
entwined love
grows a giant oak tree
eve’s apple
bleeds humanity
yet
I see some leaves are caressed by the sun
while others

   a

       l

          l
silently
littering roadsides,
trampled over,
so carelessly
even though the shared roots suggest
we are all children from the same family tree


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#1 Staccato

definition: with each sound or note sharply detached or separated from the others


Map.

no map

no direction 

but surely that means 

anywhere I place my next step

I will be on the right path.


Hope.

hope is in the crowds

in the eyes of those who have the potential

to be wise, to be honest, to be kind

but also the capacity

to hate, to torture, to rape 

I am reflected in their pupils

staring back, I realise

my fate

is mine to create.


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