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Published Work

In Defense of Pancakes

1. FLUFFY PANCAKES. That's my whole first point.

2. Waffles may be more textually palatable, but they cannot win when it comes to toppings - I mean, on a waffle there is no room for topping absorption. It'll get crushed in the mold, and you can't get a surprise blueberry like you can with pancakes. And if you try something like chocolate chips, they'll just fall pathetically into the square divots. Meanwhile, while you're making pancakes, the very nature of the batter allows you to preserve the wholeness of individual toppings, thereby enhancing texture beyond what a waffle could begin to dream of.

3. Perhaps the reason waffles appeal to us youth so is because of their social implications. You're probably more friendly with the waffle - it has accompanied you during late nights, the light of the freezer leading you to that signature yellow box and your fail-safe 2 AM dinner. But what does this say about you as...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition: 2021


They call me a dandelion.

They call me a dandelion because I used to have a golden nest of petals, nectar rich as the culture on a pedestal beneath my skin.

There was a time when each casual phrase was worth praise from my Chinese kin because “wow, your speaking is great for a foreigner!”

I used to have a world to myself, glowing with secrets in scarlet lanterns - I’d make people’s heads turn with the bright red thread in my veins while Mom complained that Chun Jie Wan Hui ran way past my bedtime.

I used to hold in the blood of my hand this bright red thread that wound across the Atlantic like a successful immigrant story, but tectonic plates are shifting, and every morning I’m finding “Oh Canada” remind me there’s a lot that can go wrong with a distance as wide as an ocean.

I used to embrace the smell of people smoking, I...

The Last Chocolate Cake

The end of the world fell on Piya’s birthday.

“I want to bake a chocolate cake with you and nanna,” she had told me—doe-eyed, earnest.

"We can’t, silly. Flour and eggs have all been shipped off to Mars. Asteroid Doomsday, remember?"

The Martian colony would keep things going, not that it mattered. No one cared about the future if they weren’t going to be a part of it. Even the news networks had gone silent three days ago—Earth was a ghost town that hadn’t yet been evacuated.

She'd nodded then, not meeting my eyes as she continued to set the table. It was a daily ritual. Nanna prepared the cutlery, I loaded the plates, and Piya served them, even though we substituted maple-glazed salmon with those meal-replacement crackers provisioned to the remaining households.

Now, I scrubbed the meal’s remnants away into the sink, the airborne dust particles around my head soaking in the last rays of sunlight.

The door burst...

three AM

the kind of silence you can't imagine,
where the window grate is off because even errant moths sleep
so you can strain your eyes for stars (you see some, others are just beyond suburban light pollution)
and think about how it's
funny how neither wind nor trees make noise by themselves

you won't remember standing here in the morning,
torso half-out skinny window catching cool reprieve from your stifling bedroom
challenging the outside to hear your singing on tiptoes

but the sun has not yet risen
and you have never felt more awake.

Mid-March Grab Bag

threads of 3:37 PM

grab bag prompt: write about what you imagine people across the world are doing at the exact time you’re writing this piece (ex: 2:35 on a Tuesday). (by almost flora kane)
It's 3:37 PM on a Friday and an opposite hemisphere tucks someone into bed, moonlight beaming in through a shaft in the window, a patch of their dozing head caught in the spotlight.

It's 3:37 PM on a Friday and the shadowy corners of the pub offer no solace to someone hunched over an Old Fashioned, the bartender pretending not to judge as he cleans the same row of glasses over again.

It's 3:37 PM on a Friday and stale air hugs someone tighter than their blankets, hiding from the afternoon with curtains drawn and door locked, distracting themselves from their responsibilities with a comedy sitcom.

It's 3:37 PM on a Friday and Zoom class accidentally unmutes itself as someone brainstorms with their friends on Discord about...

March Grab Bag

emotional stability

grab bag prompt: an acrostic poem (in which each letter spells out a word or phrase) with your username (by BriRiley)

show them only once you've pondered
every last detail
to near perfection, the gloss 
of lamination worth suppressing
need for validation - 
ink smudges, hold my hand and guide me through the
nooks and crannies of this fragile artistry.

Friendship Tweet

friendship tweet

friendship is "ah, fuck it" confessions that you know you won't regret - 4 AM nervous laughter at our collective poor decision-making - attempts at philosophical discourse no one is smart enough for - warm antidotes to loneliness pushing the boundaries of platonic love.

Song Writing Competition 2021



[verse 1]
Once upon a simpler time
I sipped warm bubble tea
Palms wrapped around a sharpie-scribbled name
Riding to the end of the line
A bus of empty seats
Head gently rattling on the windowpane

We grow up, grow up
We try on our wings
And I know, I know what
A beautiful thing

To be fifteen
To learn to fly
Make dumb mistakes
With our heads held high

Not think too much
'Bout what's in store
Our only job
Is to keep moving forward
When we're fifteen

Oh to be fifteen


[verse 2]
Plague's the new thing on TV
I sympathize and joke
How Dad's hometown is finally on the map
They promise that our break is brief
Remind us to use soap
But I get restless as a promise drags

Day passing, days
That I'll never get back
I'm suffocating
In blue cotton masks

Let me be fifteen
And laugh out...

Writing Streak Challenge -- Week 5

Challenge Completed

day 1: love

Fern curtains sweep the floor, embracing the ground as their own.

Perhaps she is a little misguided - perhaps she, too, should be reaching for a sky that she will never touch, weaving a thousand different routes to a collective goal.

But patience is a virtue that her branches do not have. So she does not claim a new cloud each day, does not hold her comrades' spindly limbs and chant empty promises.

Her leaves grow thin, light enough to let gravity bend her towards a tangible end. The wind tickles (the others are resolute on up, and would not know this). 

She comes to peace with the fact that she will succumb to time, and does not try to be what she cannot. Instead, she watches lovers stargaze. She guards tombstones. She offers shade to the hiding boy (hiding from what, he has never told her). She accommodates treehouses, and when they are long abandoned...

McGinley Refuted

Thirteen is an experiment - has no customs, is no curse;
Thirteen is careful.
It tests effects of rebellion on universe,
With self-acceptance as dependent variable;

Thirteen's a journey beyond building-block awakening,
A yellow brick road, a maze;
Throws temper tantrums, but worth silly mistakenings
To find a turn of phrase.

Half hundred masks add depth to choice
Of which disguise to grace its entity,
Wants the world, yet demands no voice,
Carving paths for Fourteen's destiny.

Letter Writing Competition 2020

hi, thank you, and so much more

Dear Ms Bach,

I don't know how to address you. I realize that I don't remember ever saying your name to your face in all six years we knew each other. It was only used in discussion of you - and even then I'd alternate between your personal and formal titles, having trouble deciding whether you were a friend or an acquaintance. I won't disclose your first name here, since I am only pretending to write to you. You will not read these words, since I can't gauge your reaction to something like this. One day, when I am more conscientious of how to say hi without rambling, we will speak again for real.

Anyway. Leave it up to me to make something so simple serious and awkward. The point is, social isolation has made me nostalgic, and this blog came out with a letter-writing contest, so here we are. Hi. Hello. How have you been? When you retired from...