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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shades of blue

city_of_poison_by_bearsforpresident-dca8o6q.jpg
Image courtesy of: BearsForPresident

she is jetting off to another adventure,
all those escapades across the waters,
while I sit at home, piecing together
snippets of her life, play them like a
pirated movie, drowning slowly in a
second-hand experience of her.

forget wild parties or listening to
the unfamiliar beats of foreign hearts,
she has done it all. that girl bleeds
art and probably drinks it too, I wonder
if my life could be like hers if I liked
grapes less than I did wine?

don’t lie to yourself, sober fool,
it was never about you. even this,
I almost gave to her, happy to be
a little parrot, rolling scraps of her
sunshine across the tongue because
I thought I could never light my own darkness,
bright plumage hiding a tepid fear of existence,
latching onto her in order to anchor my life.

alas, today, why not let the winds of fate
carry away the map to her as I am no
longer seeking to follow her path,
tales of greater adventures
shall be written yet.

She knows that, I am sure. This is
not for her, or you, it’s for me and now.
There is enough ocean for all of us
to find what we are looking for,
if we have enough spirit to go searching,
traversing separately but never alone towards
the horizon, through our own shades of blue.

an unknown else

balloon-1111368_1280

I am helium, at times invisible,
otherwise filling entire rooms with
giggles, little bursts of sound
bouncing off ceilings before
fading into shrill silence.

I am dispersed thoughts, scattered
stars, supergiant speckles of light
dusting the unfamiliar shapes of
our universe, wishing upon self to find
home on humble earth, even if it is in
a cheap red balloon from a party bag mix.

At least it will help me comprehend
where I begin and everything else ends, give
body to existence and meaning to freedom
through loss. Shape me if you can catch me,
trap me and I shall love you until my last breath
or at least until I grow tired of your name.

For my true colours seep clear and intangible,
and I am bound by the eventual, inevitable call
of an unknown else.

Existence (a poem for a tattoo)

Hi friends,

I got my first tattoo in January 2018 and it was designed by the amazing & talented Zeze who is based in Auckland, New Zealand.

It is based off a Chinese fable called 猴子捞月 (the monkeys saving the moon) – if anyone is interested in what the story is about, I’m happy to provide a translated version.

I’ve been trying to write a poem inspired by the fable, but it just wasn’t working, I think it was a tad too restrictive. Instead,  I wrote a little something very loosely inspired by Zeze’s artwork alone.

I think that’s one of the best things about art, how it can be re-discovered, re-imagined and re-mixed to produce unexpected results and then interpreted every which way too.

Either way, a life update & a poem, I hope you like it.

Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 3.10.35 pm.png
Image courtesy of: Zeze

Continue reading “Existence (a poem for a tattoo)”

forest

I hate the dichotomy that controls me –
spending every day with
the paralysing fear of death and
inability to commit to life

I find myself lost in the woods,
searching for a purpose to my existence.
filled with envy towards those that cling to the highest branches,
holding onto the hope that
perhaps trees grow towards the sky
to be closer to something just outside our line of vision
something better than
humanity’s nihilistic tendencies

meanwhile, I stumble blindly into the clearing
collapsing onto the ground
with a heart that has
no confidence in a soul

scattered thoughts about identity
fills my mind
spilling from my hair
as I open my palms
to the possibility of catching
principles to guide me
they slip through my fingers
(like how they often slip my mind)
and stain the grass
with shades of my hypocrisy

always holding people up to standards built on their actions
yet judging myself merely on my intentions
ephemeral thoughts do not construct reality
– only who you want to be –
so I vow to the sun in that moment
to live with more integrity
I stop talking to the birds
and start walking

I wake up besides the enchanted lake.
spending days,
trying to find some semblance of meaning
in the face that stared back at me,
I realised too much self-reflection
only resulted in less clarity.
vague shapes and lines
ultimately paints no more
than my indulgence in vanity.

after all,
your perspective from your limited capacity
is not a path to true discovery.
journey instead on the road less taken.
overturn every rock,
and discover the unexpected.
keep companions that will set fire to fallen leaves
because only when your world is up in flames,
will you realise all that’s vital
burns the heart.

I will never find my way out of the forest,
and I still fear for what lies beyond the trees,
but my bruised and battered body holds substance
in the knowledge that I will keep walking.

Judge and Conclude

An offhand comment triggered my desire to just post a quick rant so here you have it, unstructured, unedited and unfiltered.

The story is, someone that I hardly knew called me ‘sheltered’ and I found that incredibly insulting not only because I don’t think it’s true to the degree they believe it, but also because I think it’s so pretentious for anyone to pass hasty judgements on someone else.

When I first heard that someone saw me that way, I couldn’t stop laughing because I didn’t have a logical response to said comment. I know that we’re all human and we inevitably all judge each other but I have always been convinced that the only thing you can be certain of is your own subjective view on the external world. Therefore, your opinion is your opinion, no more and no less and that’s the standard I have been holding myself and others to.

I concede that we are all a part of the world therefore we are influenced and shaped by events out of our control but ultimately they’re coloured by our ethics, upbringing, relationships etc. and that’s something you can’t ever tell from looking at someone and for someone to have the audacity to not only judge but conclude about me, in such confident terms, elevating their opinion to ‘truth’ is astounding.

Although I will admit I am almost obsessively interested in how other people view me in order to adjust how I want to be portrayed accordingly, it has always been on my own terms. As an interesting and helpful exercise in order for me to do the best I can in life, I have never had issue with people’s judgements but their conclusions. Continue reading “Judge and Conclude”