sunny.v

United States

she/her | asian | jester of wtw’s court
running off into the sunset with circe
est. april 27, 2020

sword-wielding protector of all minority groups | satire sorceress & heliocentric heroine

prose: sunnyv | ig: sunny.the.wordsmith

Message from Writer

an otherworldly, mystic creature incapable of writing normal footnotes. mwah.
———
wtw’s resident apollo and soft knight in shining armor. wave a hanky to say hello—i’m always eager to converse!
———
can often be seen being overenthusiastic and trying my best to be sweet in comments! or otherwise, wielding daggers.
———
my talent manager is ★ white mountains ★. she’s a sweetheart—go greet her! and i’m the wtw wife of Vinter Vejen (gummy bear marriage) so go say hello as well!
———
pfp by tofuvi, a wonderful artist that you should check out!

Published Work

two hundred followers and the road here (read footnotes!)

“How’s it working out with the writing site?”

“It’s, well,” you chew your lip a bit. “I mean, my most recent piece got six likes.”

She’s silent on the other side of the phone. “Well—“

“But I just started out,” you continue, grimacing to yourself. “Maybe I just need to get the hang of things.”

“Of course,” your friend responds. “Fame awaits you, yeah?”

You hum, refreshing the dashboard another time. Still no red circle in the corner of that black box. “Fame between me and my five followers, yeah.”

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, man,” she shoots back. “Hey, Sunny, I’ve gotta go, but.”

“Oh.”

“But update me, alright?” She’s doing her best to be encouraging, you know. “I know what writing is to you.”

“Okay,” you say. You think: there probably won’t be much to update, anyways. “Thank you.”

///

“You’ve got how many followers?”

“Fifty, dude!”

She lets out an impressed sound. “See? Sunny world domination.”
...

Flash Fiction Competition 2020

Three's a crowd, and so it becomes two

“Is it mine?”

The girl cradles the phone shakily to her ear, fixing her school uniform’s collar. “He couldn’t be anybody’s but yours. I’ve only been with--”

“I’m--we’re too young. What would we tell our parents?” He demands. 
She absently rubs her stomach. “I can’t do this alone.”

“I’m sorry,” he says, sounding frustrated. She squeezes her eyes shut, forcing back tears. He sighs forcefully. “I’ll get a job. Send you money every month.”

“He’ll want to know who you are,” she whispers. “Please, we could be a fami--”

The line goes dead. She stands alone, cradling her stomach.

light through yonder window


the sun the sun the sun bearing down on bare shoulders and spilled rum
i ponder closing my eyes to rid myself of the vision of you and yet
i still see you in my dreams, nonetheless nonetheless nonetheless
if night cannot shield me from your light, then what else shall save me now?

let me burn let me burn let me burn
tilt the glass back and let me yearn
press a chaste kiss to the waning arm’s bend
seek solace as a means to my ends

of highway decay and honesty


i am roadkill; there lies liquid
asphalt beneath my nails.
exhale carbon monoxide and car
exhaust between my parted lips, and i will tell you that
i am carrion; i am the disenfranchised lover.
the vultures know my taste. the jackals nip at the
pulse of my wrist and laugh and laugh and
laugh.
yellow painted lines stretch into hallucinogenics across
dried tar and potholes and intersections and
did you not see me? i think
you did—at least as you drove by. as you drove past.

if you pressed a kiss to my knuckles, i wonder if you would still map out
the speed bumps and laugh, startled. laugh and laugh and
laugh.
there is streetlight red in my ledger that rotted its way between my gums and
i still want to ask you: there were so many signs that told you to stop.
why didn’t you?
so now i’ve become the roadkill, the villain living off vasoline but
i...

all that you are is plastic


you are born with your father’s last name, a lifeless maiden name clutched in your tiny fist. it feels like a brand. the rest of the world decides that it is all that you are.

because you’re a plastic little bimbo. you like smooth mascara and highlight dusted-cheeks. you like the way a polaroid with your friends makes your hair look. you like going to the mall and finding your name in the fitting rooms. you like yourself, maybe a little, and that’s never a good thing for girls like you.

you’re a ditzy attention-seeking airhead that only knows how to slip yourself into ripped jeans and cold-shoulder sweaters. you like crying at the cinema for a poorly made romance movie. you like mainstream songs playing from your earbuds. you like feeling good about the way you look and the way a short dress makes you feel. 

but you’re not smart. not in the slightest. you don’t speak your mind...

the letter to the memory of you, which is all i have left

Dear J,

    you will never read this letter. i made sure of that—there’s not one social media platform that we’re both on where i haven’t blocked you yet. and i’ll tell you a secret: i thought about sending something like this to you just so i could at least pretend that you acknowledged i existed. which wouldn’t be fair, of course, because neither of us seem to acknowledge that we knew each other at all, so why should i expect so from you? maybe it’s because i wanted an apology. gosh, that stupid apology. i wanted (past tense) to forgive you. i wanted you to forgive me. and you know the funny thing? neither of us would know exactly what we were (would be?) apologizing for. for nothing? for everything? for the words we said, or for the ones left unsaid? i don’t know. i don’t know. it’s been three years and i still don’t know. but i need to...

on navigating home from the absentee’s eyes


home holds old spoils of trophies used as cups for may’s drinking games, and if they should collect dust, who am i to beckon for polish?
there is a welcome mat before the door, weary of greeting kisses for fresh faces and young ink. i laid it down once. twice. as many times as it took to keep home warm. 

what does a quick trip from home warrant upon my return? where i feel cobwebs growing heavy under my lashes, home keeps tidy.
home still holds weekend parties, whether or not i am there to enjoy the company. home greets new people through the door everyday, whether or not i am there to open the door.
home carries on: home has a fireplace. i wonder if they remember to poke the logs—i did. i used to.

through a glance through the window, i see my porcelain mug on the counter. 
an old thing, my favorite mug, but in my absence,...

Mad Libs

the magnificent 1/6 of sestina morya

Jade (real name: Sunny) Nguyen is the 15 year-old heiress of a wealthy family-owned company, and a child prodigy, famous in the media for both her fashion trendsetting and her openness to the public about her superhuman abilities. She currently lives in the Moryavale Mansion! Known for having a teasing (read: aggravating) sense of humor, an inability to take conversations seriously and an inability to be transparent, and for walking into rooms dressed much nicer than the occasion calls, she wants nothing more than to feel like she's finally reached her potential and been able to help others in a lasting way.

She pretends to be unbothered and larger than life, when in fact, inside, she really feels like her fellow Sestina Morya members are the first time she's found a family in a while, and she will do anything to keep them safe. Jade’s biggest fear is failure or defeat, or otherwise hurting others inadvertently with her...

the flutter of a butterfly’s wings


last saturday, i poured faucet droplets into a pond so i could watch the ripples and
this week, it caused a tsunami and i swear i’m sorry sorry sorry

there’s a chrysalis of hourglass sand staring right at me and i dare not
try to heat it up and turn it into glass because i know what the shards will do but
there’s a tree in the backyard that i fell from and broke my wrist and i wonder
if the person who planted its seed would give me a splint of apologies

silver caterpillar on the kitchen counter: would you tell me what it means?
when a tornado breaks your heart, does the cocoon help you breathe?
i jumped into converse sneakers, ran out the door with a backpack, and
i sprinted to the eye of the hurricane just so i could use it to see

the wings of a butterfly are paper thin, yet their gentle flutter commands...

hands bound by wedding strings


must you ask me a question before i take this pledge? i already know what belies me. there is a running stream that i will sit besides and lay a blanket by its bed, and i will take her hand and cease to yearn. the end all, be all: shall it be lovelier than what i’ve heard? i have loved fiercely without restraint, and that is, perhaps, what makes me unforgivable. there is a house on a hill; i’ve decorated it in my own liking from inside to out, but i would be amiss to say that i did not decorate the kitchen countertops with peonies in the image of us, for i did, as i always do, in the image of us.

should i wake up in the morning and be greeted by sun-streaks kissing my cheeks through our blinds, accompanied by your arms around me? as they never say: hate the sinner, not the sin. promise to place...

live long enough to see someday


early morning sun-streaks on your fluttering lashes /
raise a shot glass to autonomy /
your house will keep silent, save your bare feet on the tiles /
heat up last night’s takeout for brunch and /
do a one-legged dance in front of the microwave /
someday, you will walk into your living room full of
familiar faces and you will not feel that tears
are letting them win /
nor are they a loss for you /
you will sit on your backyard porch in the chilly afternoon 
and count the stars just because you wanted to /
you might open the blinds in the evening for some friends /
they will be as happy to be with you as you are for them /
the “found family” trope in literature /
mm yes i indulge in reading it quite a bit, what about it? /
well you know it’s a salve salve salve, baby /
but someday,...

come to pity what might be


i drank the contents of a walmart juice box from my mom’s wine glass last friday.
shut my eyes, guzzled the bubbles; you know, i pretended
it was all champagne.
i sat on the driveway some time ago and i
memorized the chalk mosaics and crayola masterpieces i used to make.
in a couple months, i’ll get a license, and i’ll smear them thrice over
in a silver chevrolet.
a while ago, at the mall, a woman’s baby bottle dropped from her stroller,
and i ran after her and told her, “ma’am, you lost this by the café.”
so she took the bottle, smiled, squeezed my shoulder, and said,
“you’re a good girl, dear. when you grow up: stay this way.”
and maybe it’s odd to think about, but since middle school,
my handwriting has never looked the same.
and also, it’s just that, i can’t stop thinking:

when i was younger, it’d felt like every week, i’d have a...

a patriot on the fourth of july


i’ve always had a thing for pretty little lies
and dear Lord, ever since i’ve been born, i’ve been infatuated with the fourth of july

because i bleed red, white, and blue, yes sir i do
but God forbid i bleed black, brown, or yellow
because it’s from sea to shining sea until it
extends to the countries of distant seas and then it turns into
oil greed and apathy and not a shred of basic humanity

because every explosive firework shower sounds like “speak English” and “go back to where you came from”
and the sizzle of the hotdogs on the grill sounds like last saturday’s slurs
because the downtown parade’s marching band sounds like a war drum of skewed history textbooks
and the national anthem from my neighbor’s backyard sounds like a too-little-too-late funeral song

because we are independent, yes we are but for some reason
we needed the indigenous nations’ land and the indigenous people’s help to...

#childofyournation compilation that took me way too long


to everyone that participated: i can’t thank you enough. reading through everyone’s pieces for the challenge was so, so delightful—i’ve been taken through so many worlds and been told so many personal stories. i’ve seen a lot of pride in many writers’ backgrounds, and that just makes me inexplicably pleased. thank you so much for partaking in my challenge :’] it’s an honor, really.

(if anyone still wants to do the challenge, please, feel free! this is just for everyone that participated as of 7/4/2020, but if you still wanna make your own version, i’d love to see it! <3 )

here’s the gallery of pieces for #childofyournation! (in alphabetical order of usernames):

stained daughter of dragons and lions by amaryllis
“i am the stained daughter of dragons and lions / swinging on a pendulum of a dragon’s delicious candy beards / and oily french fries on Friday noons / jasmine reaching to the sun and moon “
...

Dust Jacket

four names to a face, one to embrace


“teresa” is a worn-leather book that collects dust at the bottom of the shelf. teresa is born of a cathedral and water washed over an infant’s forehead. teresa is a tether to stained glass angels and an ave maria. teresa seldom introduces herself first: she waits for an inquiry, and hides between lines of scripture.

“jade” is a timid moleskin journal clutched tightly in a fist behind my back. jade is a dulled blade, clumsy with inexperience. jade is green with envy of those that belong. jade is the american dream: reinvention and acceptance. jade rarely comes to be.

“nhu-ngoc” is a red and gold flag with ink paint strokes scrawled desperately over the canvas. nhu-ngoc is enigmatic and speaks in whispers of incense smoke. nhu-ngoc unfolds over tongues like bamboo splinters and unraveled straw hats. nhu-ngoc is my mother’s voice beckoning from the kitchen. nhu-ngoc is ashamed, but she exists regardless.

“sunny” is an expanse of tan skin covered...

heliocentric wanderer


The ink-stained wanderer held her palms to the sky, and
she parted her lips to beckon for a greeting. The Sun appeased her,
as it seldom did, and answered, “For what do you wish to understand?”

The ink-stained wanderer stood on a stone bench and met
the Sun’s apathetic gaze. To this, she asked, “Should you ask me this
every time, when you yourself know the answer? I want to be you,
dear Sun, admired, loved, understood wholly.”

The Sun grew silent, so the ink-stained wanderer continued, “I wish
to understand. I wish for such with all my being. I wish to understand
others, to intimately recognize their souls, because I so desperately long
to be understood in return. I want to see, and to be seen. Love, and be loved.”

The Sun aptly responded, “There is a stone path that leads to
the shore. You will walk it, and wonder if your radiance is enough
to guide you. Meet me...

150 followers: free reviews, a challenge for you, gratitude | #childofyournation


i’d like to make my thank you as annoyingly and in character-ly sappy as possible, so it’ll be at the end of this post! for now: let’s get down to business :).

1) a challenge for you! 
i genuinely had no clue that people would have so much interest in elegant daughter of asia. it was born out of me thinking: “asian aesthetics/beauty are super bomb. i’ll write about them.” and to my surprise, some friends asked if they could make sequels with their own spins on it writing about their own heritage! 

chrysanthemums&ink’s dirty daughter of the middle kingdom and Vinter Vejen’s striking daughter of eurasia were wonderful spins that utilized some of my lines to show a whole ‘nother world. upon seeing more notions of interest in making their own versions to talk about their heritage: here’s this!

a community challenge (prompt?) that i’m naming #childofyournation. it’s pretty free-will on how to do...

elegant daughter of asia


i am the child of the lotus flowers / raised by condors circling in the mountains / bare feet slapping on the floor of the house / arching red shrines to be revered from afar / kowtow gently to your senior

i am the little girl of the golden dragon / that which holds rain in its scales and thunder in its whiskers / serpentine body commanding a legend / oolong tea poured carefully into a clay cup / an embroidered handheld fan in my hand that i flick to open / be filial, only daughter / your family’s name is all that you are

i am the daughter of uncle tim’s oriental asian seafood market / cherry blossom branches stretched above / fairy pink petals to shower my hair / steam billows, warning, out of the rice cooker / dragonflies of blue and gold answer at my fingertips / iridescent wings beating at the riverbed / why do they...

your childhood lies on the bottom of the hourglass


an hourglass sits on the bottom of a dusty bookshelf / sand spills through, you are powerless to stop it / size 4 rain boots discarded under your bed / there is an old board game that you can’t find the instruction manual to / your mom probably threw it away / or was it you that tossed it out, childish pride and a lack of hindsight? / what’s the use in remembering?

minute by minute / your favorite dress with sequins is now much too tight / but your mother’s shoes fit just right / silly bandz and crayola smeared hands / rewind, rewind, grown girl / the static of the hot playground slide made your hair stick up / you don’t know if it still does / and you probably never will / you wonder if the mulch will miss you

caprisun raids and sweaty soccer games / look in the mirror: see how you’ve changed / follow...

the world still spins, and that can be enough


the world promises that it will still spin tomorrow, and for now, that is enough

for sometimes, the grass in your backyard likes to curl around your ankles in gentle butterfly kisses and
sometimes, the nectarines from the farmer’s market are ripe and plump and ever so sweet

and sometimes, the surface of the lake’s water adores embracing you and soothing your tanned, reddened skin
and sometimes, the stars in the dark bowl of the night sky are close enough for you to reach up and take silver spoonfuls of

and sometimes, the river water is bitingly cold, but flows just right to go tubing in, for tilting your head back and drinking limeade from a plastic cup
and sometimes, the afternoon breeze is a welcome, cooling breath during a picnic with your friend on your feverish stone patio

sometimes, the dragonflies that come to tease you while you sit on your porch are iridescent shades of azure and emerald ...

welcome to the end of eras


Helia’s tongue flicks against her canines. She swallows down the rusty tang of blood, relishing in its flavor. It is a grounding presence, admittedly.

But also, as she knows: always very intimidating to humans. Such as the one standing before her.

“You’re here,” the little boy says, wondrous. Wondrous, but not surprised, nor afraid. They stand at a crossroads—the boy on one side of the train tracks, Helia crouched on the other. He seems so young. Helia thinks he is but a blink of an eye in comparison to her many centuries.

“Salutations,” Helia greets pleasantly, lips curving into a wicked smile. She waits for him to flinch. He does not. 

“Good morning,” he returns, not smiling. He does not hesitate when he says, “I’m here to form a contract.”

Helia isn’t surprised. She’s been through this before—rinse and repeat. Another man seeking wealth, fame, love. Their first mistake begins when they seek it in the arms of a demon,...

america spat on me last weekend


i.
my seventh-grade classmate slapped me with the back of her hand, inked in slurs
and i stood there and let the words become an iron brand on my cheek.
she spits into my food: “sorry to ruin your lunch—wouldn’t want to ruin the taste of dog.”
the words on my face burn hot. i don’t move to rub them away.

ii.
i bet your parents came to america to work in a california nail salon. i bet they probably cleaned my grandaddy’s toes.
actually, my mom arrived in ellis island, and she waved at lady liberty, and i bet she didn’t know that lady liberty’s a filthy snake and a liar
i bet your parents are proud that this great country even allowed them in
yeah, i bet they are. i bet it’s everything my dad imagined when he starved, drifting in the pacific and i bet he really liked being called a yellow gangster and i bet...

Refuge

seek refuge from a tender heart


refuge is found in the gentle scratch of nails against my hairline, in the white noise of conversation pulling me into a trance, in the deft fingers that curl soothingly through my hair
refuge is found in a crushing embrace that pleasantly pushes the air from my lungs, in the comfort of being held for a minuscule pocket of time, in the giddy feeling of swaying back and forth in caring arms
refuge is found in linked fingers and palms pressed effortlessly together, in swinging arms while walking side by side, in soft skin against skin that seeps warmth into my veins
refuge is found in a shoulder to lean my head on, in squealing and squishing friends like pancakes onto their mom’s couch cushions, in tickling each other until a champion is crowned

refuge is found in touch from friends, and missing them is just part of the deal

 

little girl, your lace is a weapon


why does your admiration for me drop with each inch that my neckline plunges?

femininity is a fierce thing, but surely, you’ve spit venom at more formidable women than i
does the fluorescent glint of the light off my bare shoulders blind you so?
does the fabric of my velvet mini-skirt threaten to choke, and do the loose frills of my rose-colored cardigan murmur threats of tangling your neck in a noose?

does skin scare you, sir? and if it does, why dare to whisper to the enemy?
when treading the den of a snake, you fear her poison—do you tell her this, too?

modesty is a weapon held delicately, and to each fighter their own
but like all daggers, it is an interchangeable tool of an arsenal,
and burning pride and bare thighs and blouses that end just below the breasts fare just as well in a fight

sticks and stones may break your bones, but the wardrobe of...

i think i cried for a desert mirage


my dream sucker-punched me ‘till my temples were purple and turned to give me butterfly kisses ‘till my cheeks turned pink

smoking isn’t allowed on cruises
i think people smell nicotine and remember that the water can only gets you so far away. i think it grounds them to reality
and i tell the girl that sits next to me at the pool bar as such, a stub between her fingers
(i think she’s real pretty. i don’t remember her face, but sometimes—you just know.)
she laughs, and uses my glass ice cream bowl as her ash tray

i keep my mouth shut more often than not, i’m not embarrassed about that
but with the way this girl tugs her collar and murmurs how her suite’s too tidy
i think it’s a right shame that i don’t have the nerve to ask for her name
and i think she knows i wonder, too; she gives a juice box to me...

a muse only serves to spin her tales

should you dare to take divine syllables between your lips to utter her name: say them right, and i will tell you the story of the head goddess divine

the goddess divine: who is of an ivory throne and lionesses at its feet, of pomegranate juice sluicing over bare collarbones
who is of peacock feathers tucked into a quill, of a crown adorned in translucent silver opals
who built you bone by bone into what you are, and who could bleed ink ichor from her ears, and you would be blessed to worship the ground it falls on
who is not the type of beautiful you stop to admire on paved roads, but rather the type of beautiful that could press her foot to your throat, and you would ache to breathe, and all you would plead is: please

they will tell you tales of a wife scorned by her lover of lightning, but i will tell you of the...

give me a moment


take tongue between your teeth.
(breathe.)
skin pulled tight. itchy. you’re just here for the ride.

lick sweat from your wrists, dream of a cool pulse. (breathe.)
calm. what is calm? one two three. is it angry with me?
you’ll be alright. (breathe.) linen sheets—they lie a lot. don’t mind me.
do you remember me? sorry. i’m sorry. ligaments, sinews hurt. they don’t sing anymore.

(breathe. breathe.) being upset—it’s a safety net, babe. stay afloat. for me?
tell me to drown myself in something; i filled my lungs with panic
just to know how it’d feel. 
stick an ice cube to the roof of my mouth. second guessing—apologize.

breathe. please. you’d like that, wouldn’t you?

ode to the farewells i dreamt about


    i think i’ll remember you, but i also think you know what i’m going to say next

i think of my hands held in yours, of vanilla embraces and homecoming dances,
    of a happily ever after, and journeys spent together, and a dream that lasts forever, 

    but i also think that it’s time to let the fantasies go by.

and i think that fireworks are beautiful, but only because they don’t last, only in the
        encore, only because there’s a fallout of sparks and smoke
and i think that we were brilliant, but in the way that the dying embers of a campfire
    are adored and cherished and burning “brilliant” before they croak into a puff of ash
    and i think we could’ve had a chance, but only in a world where the ocean turns red, where rain falls from the ground, where whales swim in the sky, where i’m better at
      ...

manila memoirs


you eat dinner under a low yellow light and you think you like the color yellow except     
    you don’t really think it likes you back but there’s
not a lot of other colors that you think you fit into and that’s the tag line of your 
    life, spit and swallow back “alien”, little dark girl, your eyes look funny
there’s a dragon in you, probably, indefinitely, but you don’t think it really likes you all     
    that much since you’ve never really looked good in yellow but again you’re just
a second generation imposter, mỹ trắng, walk a tightrope between two worlds
    
when you’re five you ask your daddy what the vietnamese tattoos on his forearm mean
    papa smiles and papa tells you that he got them because
he loved you so much he wanted the ink to show it but
    papa doesn’t tell you, mama does, ten years later, that...

your judge, jury, executioner


when you are four years old, you are on the path to the executioner

judge
he comes in the form of a guest pastor on chapel day, every thursday, the inevitable
you sit next to your teacher in the church pews and bare your neck to a gospel guillotine
hymns are sung on routine; you can’t help but fidget in some tattered clothes they gave you from the lost and found

(the story goes: your mom’s recovering from her chemotherapy and radiation, she forgot to give you your uniform,
you came in a bright shirt instead of a plain cardigan, and
good little girls never want eyes on them, so why don’t you change into this, dearest?)

you go home, open up your scripture, and look for verses that tell you to love yourself

jury
your best friend never really leaves that school

you let her words fester in your mind like an old sore, but you are nothing...

100 followers: a sunny.v compilation #favlines>favworks

a compilation of my favorite lines from my pieces! my dearest chrysanthemums&ink had the wonderful idea (that she suggested that i do!) to compile her golden lines from her pieces. she’s tentatively calling this #favlines>favworks!

anha said: “this will promote the work that you loved writing and perhaps even inspire other members of the community who look up to you to take those lines as starting points - a prompt if you will - for their own writing.” this would be a dream (my lines giving someone inspiration! wow.) and if such a dreamy thing does happen: do tell me!

actually, my name is
“actually, my real name is of my mother language, of dusty mahjong tiles / and knowing this, you hold my name on your tongue like liquid lead / well: anything that an english-speaker cannot pronounce is fool’s gold”
my prized child, and to this day, my most liked piece! this was so personal to me, and...

​100 followers! aka please help <3

i was initially fearful of coming off as annoying or overly proud when thinking about making this celebration. i don’t wanna seem like i’m, well...you know. but after reading the words of some very wise writers, (chrys, mia, dmoral13) i’d like to say this anyways: thank you. 

thank you for giving my writing a chance, and thank you for giving me that little red notification that lit up my day. you’ve all made this little gremlin immensely happy. 100 minions...whatever am i to do? behave? not be an internet cryptid? finally act normally in my footnotes?

that’d be a bit unrealistic. maybe you can give me some ideas, though:

i did a q&a for 50, would it be too soon to do another? should i do a giveaway? do i take a page out of chrys’ book and make a post with all my favorite lines from my pieces? should i...do anything at all?

it’d be spectacular if you could...

she’s my sugar fantasy

she’s a gumdrop girl, twirl her hair through your fingers
silky as candy floss, oh baby, won’t you be mine?
she’s got that sour sucker smile and luscious licorice lips
you’re a convenience store confectionary
why don’t we find love in the aisles?

i’ve got a sweet tooth, won’t you come my way?
make my heartbeat light up like pop rocks, babe
take your cocoa kisses and ignore my cavities
darling, my chest is aching for a bubblegum burst

i’m running off a sugar high, sweetheart!
no more hard to get, no more jelly bean jealousy
link your sticky fingers through mine, whisper sweet nothings of honey
you’re my only flavor of choice, lovely, you’ve set the chocolate bar too high

gas station gobstopper girl, lay some sweetness on me 

my cheeks starburst pink, can’t you see?
what we have doesn’t have to just be a sugar fantasy
let’s trade kisses between us, and i don’t mean hershey’s
oh, butterscotch...

questions you may have about BLM

the elephant in the room is the pot has officially been stirred. i’ve seen my fair share of reservations, counterarguments, and questions about BLM. i’m going to unpack all of them, gently, so if you find yourself asking some of the questions, i hope i’ve provided a fair explanation for you.

1) “hi, i’m white, and i’m offended. why do you keep saying i have white privilege? white people have problems too.”
you’re correct, you do! white privilege means, though, that the color of your skin will never be one of those problems. you will not fear for your life at a routine traffic stop simply because you are white.

2) “okay, but black lives matter excludes other races. ALL lives matter, why should we ONLY care about black lives? asians/latinx/indigenous experience discrimination as well. i don’t get the point of BLM.”
first, the contrarian has explained this very succinctly, so i suggest reading up on it here!
second...

sunny’s #appreciationpost

my dearest, dearest jun lei started this wonderful challenge! she’s so sweet. it’s adorable. but anyways! i’m much obliged to continue it on, yet mostly...i just really love the idea of rambling abt all the writers on here that i adore.

here it is: in alphabetical order!

A Breath Into Silence
i first come across one of your pieces and was just blown away by your storytelling. are you a professional? is that what this is? no, seriously, i’m so intrigued by barat’s story. your characterization skills are just amazing! writers who can nail dialogue and tell an unspoken story about their characters are really phenomenal, and you’re one of them. seriously, my admiration levels are astronomical when it comes to your plot. i’ll be satisfied if my storytelling is half as amazing as yours. :D

Anha (1/3 of the writers i consider as iconic, cool, no nonsense, older sister vibes)
whew okay so i’ve already said this but...you were...

The Fight for Justice

take your courage and rip off the tape


what does it matter?
what does it matter to you, yeah? all your bravery, all your “make the world a better place”, all your “love to all people”, what does it matter?

tell me, and tell me quickly, because i have worn the shackles of a country that has scorned my people and has scorned my siblings of color and has scorned those who were anything but a different breed than them,
and i am out of patience, and you are out of time.
hide under the guise of “universal love and piece”, oh, wear a muzzle! wear the muzzle that you kept over us, because we will speak now, and you will hear us.

my black siblings, i will not allow you to be silenced for longer, and i will shout your anger, i will shout your pain, i will shout your deliverance, and my voice is raw, but you will choke me out before i am silent. ...

have some pride

identity is a fickle girl
my whole life i’ve never been taught to be proud of her
she’s been scorned by the world, and scorched beyond return
but history shows ashes are what’s left when she’ll burn

and cinders are reborn into the flaming bird
spread your wings across a stonewall just to be heard
be true to yourself, scream your name, scream it loud
not just for a day, nor a month, look at yourself, and be proud

no matter what anyone says, you are valid as you
the end of the tunnel isn’t a “where”, it’s a “who”
share the weight of the world with your siblings by your side
and with that parting note, i’ll say: have some pride

an open letter from the immigrants’ daughter

i am not what you make me out to be.

just know there are people across the sea,
people, my people, who look like me,
who get by alright, but cannot speak free,
because the government won’t give them the opportunity.

and yes, we’re in the U.S., our pride? free speech!
but we cannot give hate crimes immunity,
ignorance is the virus, and there is no vaccine:
you spread the infection when you call COVID “Chinese”.

we’re in this together, despite quarantine,
this is our enemy: COVID-nineteen,
take part in compassion, not idiocy:
your hatred and intolerance are the real disease.

asians are not your enemy,
in the midst of hate crimes, listen to me:
lend a helping hand, don’t just “let it be”—

because how you treat us? this will be history.

everyone loves a fighter

i am all bloody knuckles and rusty-stained teeth and splinted, jagged edges
so in hindsight, and i’ve always spit my excuses back at you like the iron liquid that pools in my mouth, you should have known much, much better

you know: you used to say you were a lover, not a fighter, and you said it through a smile, your teeth flashing with how clean they were, and i was smitten with them then, so i believed you
you’re such a liar, such a silver tongued devil, and the worse part is that i knew it, i saw through you
but you licked my wounds until they were nothing but bruises, so who was i to speak up?

all is fair in love and war, but dear Lord, who ever said they were mutually exclusive?
venus and mars are in an affair, and no one bothers to recognize it but me
not even all the cloth bandages and antiseptic...

bow to the titans of old


i.
people still pray to their titans
deities of far-reaching flora and nereids of sweet reefs are exalted
miracles are not taken from gaia, but they are offered as sacrifices to mother earth 
her womb is mount olympus, and the people sing her name in glory
the gods still breathe life in green and blue, kissing their elysium

ii.
people stop praying to their titans
ichor blackens into tar and oil and drips into gulfs, it suffocates the realm
instead of burning sacrifices to gaia, fossil fuels and car exhaust are offered at the altars
the beasts are slaughtered to the point of no return, and even artemis cries out
dryads weep, gaia’s lungs catch in the fire of their new rituals
the gods grow silent, breathing in the chars of tartarus

iii.
people begin to remember the titans of old
when the ash has fallen and there are no beasts left to burn
when temples of acid and togas...

you won’t look away

sunrise was the beginning of us; evidently, it was nearly the end of me

don’t pity me, like you didn’t like the way i grasped for you as if it was the only way i could feel the morning light wash over my face
i was just a girl who wanted the sun-rays, so you fit your fingers into mine and burnt them red with a promise

at noon, i have enough with your phony ultraviolet smiles and the way you bring down the shutters and pretend like i appreciate the shade
you are nothing like the mellow sunbeams you swear you are
after i leave, i know that you think that i can’t hope to be any brighter

i will prove you wrong.
i will scream it to the sky until the clouds part and let me see what i have always desired, and you will be so, so wrong
i will become stronger, and i will be light...

wings, once broken, eternally clipped

it’s just so comical, isn’t it, how easily a bird’s wing will break

take those feathers between your fingers, ignore how hope is pressed between the tufts, and tighten until the ligaments will snap
desperation is a fluttering thing, and it nearly shoved me out of mother’s nest before i properly learned to fly
and i was aching to soar, i was! i was a starling flirting with the wind, and the sky was my wingman

it’s just so comical, isn’t it, how easily a dream never quite gets to roost

my bones are hollow; they barely made a sound when they were crushed
ironically, they groaned a funeral song when i became a flightless thing, a lifeless taxidermy trophy

and wounds will heal, and feathers will regrow, but a bird once broken is a bird that never flies quite as high
a bird once broken never soars quite the same, quite so prettily in the sky
and a...

calypso: myth of the nymph and the lies

Nymphs cannot lie—they’re physically unable to, or they’re just poor liars. At least, that’s what the legends say.

Calypso thinks of this as she finds the limp body of a man washed up on her shores.

It is a sign, almost definitely. An omen. Nothing that raised the slightest bit of suspicion ever occurred that wasn’t an omen. The gods were funny like that, throwing down circling eagles and lightning bolts until these dull mortals got the message.

The man is toned, muscles stretching across his back, sun-kissed tan skin telling of time spent outside. Scars also mar him in numerous places, but that is common, after all, in most parts. 

Undoubtedly, he was a hero. And the gods wanted Calypso to save him.

She could leave him to die on the sand, couldn’t she? Pretend that she doesn’t see him? But then again, Calypso is a nymph, and nymphs are poor liars, and the gods ask so, so many...

to dance and to die alone

solitude is a wonderful dance partner, much more graceful than clumsy, unpredictable white noise

loneliness is a waltz that i have learned to perfect
i use the count of my heartbeat, slowing with isolation, to bring myself to its rhythm

the dance floor always looks much more daunting when you are the only one on it

should i apologize for stepping on your toes?
is it my fault, when you picked me out of the crowd and decided the disoriented stumbler should be the one to sway to a foreign tune?
the spotlight mingled with an unsteady tempo is second nature to you, but all that i can feel is an unfamiliar routine

solo dances never feel right, but at the very least, they do not pull my skin tight with unease
maybe i should apologize: for trying to tango on my own as you stood there, and for ignoring your cues when you moved to spin me

i do...

love letter to the necromancers

it’s the kind of bone deep, to the marrow, seeps into your blood, type of exhaustion
and i guess i think, more often than i should: sleep cures a wandering mind
perhaps the dreams of earthen soil, of six feet under, of a box lying horizontal
perhaps those will do, and perhaps i am just tired, and perhaps i am more than the corpse who managed to become warm

the gravedigger begs to differ (“then beg,” i will murmur, breath rotten with decay)
and his word is law, and he is king of the castle, and he rules over a domain of moody earthworms and melodramatic coffins
i can hardly find myself to protest, to insist that rigor mortis has not yet set in, that i have a heart that beats, and open eyes that long to see life for how it sings
yet as i barely lift a finger, putrid air from the topsoil washing over me, i...

what clears us of this deed?

A little water clears us of this deed
Blood is but a speck of the night, gone with the embrace of day
Begone, your cowardice, and let your ambitions be freed

Guilt-ridden night terrors, away, away, I plead
Your most compelling fires shan’t convince this sinner to pray
A little water clears us of this deed

Those of sanguine royalty accompanied by iron will are a dying breed
Cast away your doubts, become the apex predator, ‘stead the prey
Begone, your cowardice, and let your ambitions be freed

I refuse to regret planting the forbidden fruit’s seed
Not when, despite my sleep’s tortures, it shall produce a most sweet bouquet
A little water clears us of this deed

The memory of their corpses—they trouble me, I concede
But if their lives were worth more than an infant’s, for our glory, who’s to say?
Begone, your cowardice, and let your ambitions be freed

My dearest, a clear conscience is what no...

q&a answers for my beloveds #askthewriter

 welcome back to my dungeon, naughty ones. seriously, you guys are just so sweet! everyone's comment left me flustered from your congrats, and because i'm an air sign i wheezed and flapped my arms. so again, thank you all so much <3. now begin the interrogation.

Anha (i'm not sure if you'll read this, but miss anha you're my wtw idol! the amount of respect and admiration i have for your writing is unreal, ever since i first joined, so i can't tell you how much it means to wake up one day and see that you followed me!)

what do you want people to say about you most? that i was special to them in some way, and that i left an impression that they'll remember
there is a holy sword hanging on your wall that you found on the street last week. describe it. foot long chicago style hot dog.
you are a world-renowned author. what is...

we can rule the streets

who’s more of a fool: you, who digs desperately through alleyway puddles of murky rain-gutter water, looking for crowns of gold
or me, who decides that she fits best at your side, following your fantasies despite it all?

i don’t understand how you can look at the world and think that it has anything to offer us more than grimy dimes and charcoal-dusted palms
we are children raised from dust, and in dust shall we remain, and to dust shall we return

but not you, sweetheart, no, you don’t believe me, do you?
you’ve only ever wanted thrones drawn away from the dirt, wanted to taste the touch of a queen’s ease draped in crimson velvet
you look at the ground like you have king midas’ touch, you know that, babe?

i press together sheets of manila paper and crude staples to make us paper crowns
isn’t it enough to put them on and pretend that we command more than...

​q&a for 50+ followers!! #askthewriter

all 50+ of you are getting married to me! kidding, that’s not what you signed up for (unless?). 

wow. FIFTY. not to get sappy but each and every one of your “__ is following you” notifications lit up my day. your support means the world to me. <3

i joined (really, technically) on april 27th 2020 (despite my oldest pieces. it’s a long story) and i was just a girl recovering from a big surgery that had her down in the dumps for a long time. writing always helped me escape from poor mental states, so i tried that, and had no idea 50 people would help me feel just the tiniest bit better. truly, merci.

so: please drop some questions for me below in the comments! don’t be a stranger, any question will do! whether it be burning questions about the deepest secrets of mysterious user sunny.v, or just how tall i am/my favorite hobby, anything!

someday, you will kill me

the most charming thing about your lips is that i know someday they will kill me

it’s funny how temptress, seductress, wretched witch sounds like venom on their tongues
in the daze of the night, the same titles taste like wine and nectar on mine

sheer satin drapes over your delicate fingers, the same ones that have pulled the air out of men’s lungs like prayers to their titans
you hum as you draw circles into my skin, and i let my eyes flutter shut at the feeling of the velvet falling from your hands
a different type of prayer tumbles from my lips, and you give a different type of deliverance as you bite down on them to hush me

your hair ornaments always catch on my fingers when i run them through your hair
they are jewels of adventurers long fallen, sapphires adorned in dazzled bones of prophetic warriors with much less wit than i, and they are...

actually, my name is

i offer my name to you as my crown jewel
wrapped up in simple english syllables and tied up in familiar sounds
it is my name and it is what you will call me
and you will accept it, and you will savor how it fits so easily in your mouth

actually, my real name is of my mother language, of dusty mahjong tiles
and knowing this, you hold my name on your tongue like liquid lead
well: anything that an english-speaker cannot pronounce is fool’s gold
so i will smile and i will tell you my american moniker and i will apologize and admit that my real name is nothing but pyrite

actually, my name is nhu-ngoc, and it is an ugly, ugly gem
you will laugh at the way i present it, so i will cover it up and translate it into english to suit your palette
please stop laughing, in english it is “jade”, and jade is...

of crowns and wings and horns

i want to tear them off

horns sprouting from my skull, twisting like charred ivory branches, look at me now
or don’t—don’t, actually, i’ve done my fair share of sneering at my reflection, teeth bared, eyes bloodshot and wild

i’m a monster; i want to tear them off
want to growl any miracle word, abracadabra, anything to stop this visceral loneliness

but you’re my one in a million, and i don’t understand
you stand before me like my salvation, and
i want to believe that you are, but it’s just been so long
your eyes trace over the horns on my head, and mine snag on the wings on your back

why don’t you walk like me, head held low, like they’re a burden?

you tell me you like my crown
i respond that we’re the only ones that might think that
and wings fanning out, chrysanthemum petals falling from the tufts, you reason: that’s what makes us destined

you...

teenage fantasies

they say this generation’s too loud
say we’re a rebel crowd
say we’re made of snowflakes
brewing up a white haze

they say we’re too young
ask, “what have today’s youth done?”
wrapped up in a teen fantasy
hey, how’s social security?

well since you know
how it is to be a teen
don’t take us seriously
pleased to be, and courtesy, of Gen Z

teenage fantasies, you and i, they say
but we’re just trying to live
in a world that won’t give
us the time of day

so i guess we’re delinquents
we know that they think it
equality is our graffiti
give us death or give us liberty

and in a country that silences the teens
a so called democracy
one day, they’ll get to see what we can be
hindsight’s only twenty-twenty

(for our teenage fantasies)

chapter i. azaleas

(this is the second part after the prologue of be my mirror, my sword, my shield, please read that first!)

A few months into her military service, Jade finds herself thinking of home on the back of a white horse.

She gently strokes its mane, being mindful not to let too wide of a smile slip. The horse continues its rhythmic clip-clop along the dirt math, and Jade lets herself get lost as she’s gently swayed side to side.

“Like horses, Lee?” Commander Zheng asks her from his own horse, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. He’s about as old as her father, his voice firm, yet with a polite easygoing tone to it.

Jade looks at him sheepishly. She gives a jerky nod, then, remembering herself, “Sir, I—yes. Sir. I do.”

He hums, a light rumble from his chest. “My daughter does, too. You’re 16, yes? She’s your age, actually. Did you ride a lot...

be my mirror, my sword, my shield

“They question your approval,” her lieutenant begins. He looks like he’s treading over bear traps as he says, “Given your history. And all.”

Jade snorts. “And all? I was her family’s personally prized warrior since the two of us were children. Approval is due.”

“Yes, Commander,” the lieutenant keeps his head low. “That’s what the Court questions.”

“Elaborate, please.”

“Lihua was second in line to the throne when you served her,” he continues, looking more tense by the second. “Everyone in the kingdom and their mother knows that…well—“

“That Lihua and I were close friends during my service as a warrior to her family, yes,” Jade finishes. She wants to massage her temples, but that would send the wrong message to her subordinate. “Soul companions, whatever you must call it. I hardly see how this is relevant.”

The lieutenant shifts on the balls of his feet. He hesitates a bit, this time. “With all due respect, Commander. It’s been 7...

some child of the ocean

my mother told me a tale
that Vietnam was made of 
children of fairies and children of dragons:
children who were born of the ocean,
who were nursed on sweet saltwater
and breathed tides onto the shores
and teethed on vibrant corals.

yet as i pick at my lunch and am barely able to pronounce its name
as i am the imposter, barely able to claim the so called culture
that i should taste, yet is of a distant tongue:
i feel the small currents within me furl back, ashamed.

i think the legends were wrong—i cannot be of the sea
not when i flush, ashamed, broken Vietnamese awkwardly
pouring out of my mouth like sand
i am just an intruder, a lost girl of the land.

yet actually: i remember (or so i am told)
that sometimes, i do not have to bleed red and gold—
it is enough to love my people, and take pride in who i...

we brought this garden #ephkrasis2

the first time i saw you 
was through rows of timid lilac.
coy stalks of lavender spirals framed your cheeks,
and i, entranced with the way sunbeams illuminated the sheen of sweat on your neck, held out a flowering orchid.
your laugh bristles through your whole body,
shaking, like the wind teases the garden flowers,
and the earth cakes your knees, clings to your elbows,
so when i brush a speck of soil from the corner of your lips, forgive my eyes for lingering.
our garden bursts to life, humming to the melody
of azure petals, dipped into playful purples, and
your hands stained blue, you grin, and you tell me, “gardens, they’re all sown for a reason—some purpose.”
and as you tuck a blossom behind my ear, delicate fingers digging up roots in my chest,
i cannot help but think that my heart (that traitorous flower, a daring sprout in an ever-blooming field) 
was sown solely to love you.

through your seasons

fall is the start of the new cycle:

it is burning orange skies, it is a warm, vibrant palette,
it is chilling breezes, creeping timidly through woolen threads,
and it is the beginning of promises, the opportunity for something born anew—

and you will feel it: for fall is counting raindrops on your window,
it is a whisper, just near the shell of your ear: 
“we’ll see each other again; when we have time.”
you think of what could be and what might be.

fall is your hushed whispers and your quiet before a storm,
weary silence and peaceful radio static,
it is: “i’m ready for this, i guess.”
you guess, you guess, you wonder when you will stop to breathe.

winter is the thick of it all.

you lose yourself in the cold
for it is dull and muted, yet mockingly biting,
you wonder: what could have been different? why this doesn’t feel right? where did everyone go?
...

we brought this garden #ephkrasis2

the first time i saw you 
was through rows of timid lilac.
coy stalks of lavender spirals framed your cheeks,
and i, entranced with the way sunbeams illuminated the sheen of sweat on your neck, held out a flowering orchid.
your laugh bristles through your whole body,
shaking, like the wind teases the garden flowers,
and the earth cakes your knees, clings to your elbows,
so when i brush a speck of soil from the corner of your lips, forgive my eyes for lingering.
our garden bursts to life, humming to the melody
of azure petals, dipped into playful purples, and
your hands stained blue, you grin, and you tell me, “gardens, they’re all sown for a reason—some purpose.”
and as you tuck a blossom behind my ear, delicate fingers digging up roots in my chest,
i cannot help but think that my heart (that traitorous flower, a daring sprout in an ever-blooming field) 
was sown solely to love you.

the water lilies bring us

we met over the bridge
your face flush with a peony pink,
and though the wood was bright with mellow moss,
your smile made it more alive than anything I’ve seen.
 cherry blossom petals tucked into your hair,
your hands folded neatly in your lap, bashful as the lily pads,
your laughter started in your chest, and in the river of affection,
it rippled over to me.
i pluck a flower from your lips (a kiss!)
my dear, the spring envies how you bloom.
breathing in the sweet scent of budding blossoms,
the water lily pond reflects the bright image of us, hands intertwined like delicate stems, 
as we laugh: over the bridge.

Writing for Children Competition 2020

The Knight Princess and the Tower Princess


In the far, fabled land of fantasy and magic, there exists exactly what you would imagine! Dragons breathing fire, trolls guarding bridges, and valiant knights saving kingdoms. Every character plays one role.

Well, then there’s Princess Jade.

“So let me get this straight,” says King Quartz. “You want to become a knight?”

“Yes,” answers Jade, confused. “I’m a respected warrior, anyways.”

“But you’re a princess.”

“Well, I can be a princess and a knight!”

King Quartz sighs, leaning his head back on his throne. Finally, he says to his daughter, “Alright, Jade. Complete this quest for me, and I will knight you as the bravest of all the lands.”

So that is how Jade ends up on a dirt road, happily riding her horse Buttercup with her sword at her side and a quest map in her hands.

“Hold, girl!” Jade whoops, tugging on Buttercup’s reins. She looks at the map. After days of tiring travel, she reaches the first...

My December Competition 2019

Two Realms of December

It doesn’t snow in Houston. Not even in the dead of winter. That doesn’t mean you can’t feel the cold, even inside the bustling segments of Hong Kong City Mall. Every few moments, the automatic doors will open, welcoming a breath of frigid wind into the complex, and everyone shivers as one.

My family and I dodge shopping carts pushed by people who hurry to toss rau muống into a plastic bag. I just laugh with my younger cousins as we run up and down the halls, counting the red lanterns strung up in front of each store. We play with dancing yellow dragons with bobbing heads and bow delicately to the Buddhist monks before slipping dollars into the buckets at their feet.

I look at each store in the mall, labeled in Vietnamese words that I struggle to read. I flush, ashamed of barely being able to grasp my mother country’s tongue even as I am wholly surrounded by...