United States

est. 9/19/2020

write like you're running out of time

Message from Writer

"never dim the light that shines from within." - maya angelou
"never fear the shadows, they simply mean there's a light somewhere nearby." - winnie the pooh
"aren't we all waiting to be read by someone, praying that they'll tell us that we make sense?" - rudy francisco

Published Work

to teach my heart to beat;

some days i hear myself repeating
"i'm okay; it's okay; it's gonna be okay"
under my breath when the world
spins beyond my fingertips and i
am left breathless, unable to shout
the words to the sky as though
i believe them;

as though i'm trying to
replace the oxygen in the room
with the exhale of my words
until i inhale them again and
my heart beats in "it's all okay."

heart-thoughts on the railroad

one. single raindrop slides down the glass train window and i find a reflection of myself in her solitude. two. perhaps the thought of a day unseen, a time unknown beyond the train wheels is the reason my heart seeks to keep going, an underlying throb matching steady pulse of the vibrations below. three. i wish to move on with the same certainty of the railroad tracks and discover a new destination. four. spruce and birch and cedar blur beneath my fingertips as i try to trace their outlines. i can't help but imagine my memories of you disappearing in the same way. five. i'd admit i'm lonely without you if i could. the truth is stapled to the roof of my mouth. six. i whispered my heart-thoughts into the sunset. the wind braided my words and whisked them away into the horizon. seven. i swear you can hear an echo of them in the distant whistling of the train...

program: howToSurviveFirstDayOfSchool (footnotes!)

public class year2024
    public static void howToBeAlone()  //excited chatter in the school quad and lockers and hallways grates at my ears like static from the car radio as we drive into the mountains but i find space no void of sound
    { || bathroom || backCornerBehindTree); //anywhere to find some semblance of solitude away from the crowd

        if (person==familiarFace)
            System.out.action(lookDown || typeOnPhone || appearEngrossedInObject); //type on a black screen to pretend like you have friends to text; you can't make a conversation awkward with the tree; whatever is studied, avoid eye contact at all costs
        else if (spokenTo)
            System.out.speak(howWasYourSummer || whatClassesAreYouTaking); //mama once taught me to deflect questions about yourself by asking questions about them; with this you won't seem too unfriendly or awkward
            System.out.action(disappear); //into...

broken promises & lost infinities & burnt memories

one. i hate cleaning my room.
two. i hate finding memories of you tucked away between books untouched since 7th grade, covered in a fine layer of dust hidden beneath a mountain of travel souvenirs, under the mound of birthday cards in my desk that i've collected since 6th grade.
(it hurts too much to remember what it was like to smile with you by my side.)
three. i found a scrapbook you gave me two years ago for christmas, filled with photos of hand-hearts framing the fallen autumn leaves and after school laughs in the library when we should have been finishing our homework and post-it notes you left in my locker so i'd smile and for a moment i knew everything would be alright.
(beneath the ink stains and creases, i swear they still smell of you.)
four. i ripped out my still-beating heart from behind my ribs and trusted you--no, begged you--to hold on to it the...

time is a thief

sometimes i find myself pulsing the back arrow on my computer screen instead of pushing the home button. like for some reason i need to subconsciously rewind the past minute on the film reel scratched with unruly handwriting in all caps labelling it as "TIME." only it is a kleptomaniac, a thief and a madman and it takes and it never feels remorse and consumes the ticking seconds as its own until i am left with nothing but a search history to be cleared in 30 days.

mama first taught me nothing lasts forever when i let go of my pink helium balloon from the fair and i watched it fly higher towards the blue sky on the edge of pink until it became one with the clouds and i was no longer concerned about the balloon. i wanted to be the balloon, twirl on cotton-candy clouds until i fell into the embrace of the horizon.

i dreamed of this...

a summer night

summer nights in california are warm with a cool breeze sweeping in from the bay. some days i imagine i can taste the salted tang of seawater on the tip of my tongue. the sky is a deep midnight blue, not quite black. perhaps the sky has decided to be gracious, figured that there is something worth saving in the dark. a full moon is out tonight. her light outlines the suburban chimneys and casts a shadow over the street, beautifully ominous. it is hard to see the stars in the suburbs; the city lights drown them out and only the brightest are able to shine, an unforeseen competition leaving the sky hazy with silver fog.

i close my eyes, listening to my block, my home. out in the distance a car speeds by on the highway; the sprinklers from across the street hums gently; a dog barks; a plane flies overhead. then, for a second all is silent. it...

colored lies

i wonder if you package your lies deep in your lungs
before you reach into your throat; claw the pristine
white words out, the color of four blank walls
in an empty room, innocent; i wonder if you realize
that your white lies are marbled, streaked black
with dishonesty and leaking its deception through
the wrapping paper so it lingers inside your lungs
and stains the air with each breath you take.

i wonder if your red lies are the color of the devil's tongue
as he asked adam to eat of the forbidden tree; it flicked around
the emptiness (perhaps testing for a greater being's presence?) 
or are they the color of your apple-red lipstick, from the time
you snuck out in a gown of the same shade at midnight, asked
him to kiss you, promised you wouldn't bite; i wonder if his lips
tasted sweet, like apples; i wonder if you could taste adam's apple
still lodged...

may 35, 1989 (see message board!)

to erase history from the past is to cover up a still-bleeding wound with a blood-drenched bandage and call it healed. it is a patch on the timeline so people will trace their fingers over the stick-straight line often enough to forget why the patch was ever there. it is to disregard one’s story in favor of your own because sometimes saving face is more important than honesty and it is a tragedy.

it had begun as a peaceful hunger strike as students flooded tiananmen square, vying for a path towards democracy, free speech, and free press. fear and panic descended at 1 am, june 4th 1989, when bullets rained into the crowd.
        the screams, the fleeing of already-weak students in an attempt to escape. others fighting back. chaos. 

western media records hundreds to thousands protesters killed; another ten thousand arrested. still they are forgotten, nothing more than a glitch in the memory of a few in the population of...

to say "i miss you"

last night i was sinking into the piercing silence of darkness / and before the shadows swallowed me whole / i unblocked you from my memory for the first time in weeks //
    for fear of missing you forever; but

one day i'll probably be nothing but a stray yearbook signature / a cheery HAGS scribbled on the page / nothing more than an ancient remnant of your past //
you'd trace my haphazard handwriting / flip through the pages until you find the picture of my tired smile / staring up at you from the still-stiff pages /
you're always tired, you remind me as we stroll the halls / when coherent sentences fail to form / and i fall back into silence // slept late last night, i respond / because i don't know how to tell you / i didn't go to bed late / but i'm scared of the nightmares that continue to haunt me come...

last week of school (alternately titled: in which friendships shatter but i'm too tired to pick up the broken pieces)

i've always preferred sitting on the ground to at the tables. maybe it's because it reminds me to stay grounded, to forever be drawn to looking up towards the sky. perhaps it's because it forces me to always stay a little lower than others so i cannot look down upon anyone, to somehow subconsciously teach myself humility. it also subjects me to be the one looked down on. i just never knew it.

you always sat at the tables. i guess i never thought that it'd be easy to forget the girl sitting criss-cross on the dirty asphalt when you're higher than them.

but one day you turned your back on me. why bother straining your neck to speak to someone lower than you when there was another at your level? on that day, i faded from sight, from mind, into the shadows of the rustling bushes behind me.

i walked away from the tables and you never noticed.

it was...


loneliness is a funny thing;
it follows me around like a shadow,
like the way i follow you around--
silent and ignored, but very much present.
it’s as though the longing to live;
to laugh, to talk, to simply be
has left me and i don’t know where
i’ll ever find that again. my soul
feels empty without people i call
friends but recently i don’t know
who you are and you don’t know
who i am. honestly i don’t think i know
who i am either.
i’ve built up glass walls around my heart
but i’m scared they’re turning to stone;
impenetrable, and weighing me down.

remember when

remember when we would play on the rusty swing set in our backyard?
we always raced to the seats; you won every time.

from the second our feet pushed off the soft rubber mulch
the world fell away;
we'd swing higher, faster
the wind weaving in and out of our hair
adrenaline pulsing through our veins
until the line between the trees and the ground became a blur;
until there was nothing else between us
and the sky.

we had always believed we could catch the passing clouds
just another swing away, just a little higher;
we tried every time to touch the endless blue soaring above our heads. 

for a moment we were weightless
escaping the unrelenting clutch of gravity--
only, we didn't know it; rather, didn't know it.
back then, it didn't make sense to stay grounded.

you knew, so you wanted to be an astronaut for the longest time;
i never understood why but i imagine it's...

Forward Backward

hopelessly reversed

and i know the sun will rise--
i hear you say "keep hoping,"

but my hope is a candle; extinguished--

i would be lying to excuse my despair and say
the stars have not lost their brilliance
among the night sky;

darkness has fallen but
the new moon knows
a day will come to learn the art of reflecting the sun.

yet still, i know amidst this darkness,
no one cares.

so i can no longer pretend that
shining will not weigh me down forever;
just keep going.

i await the day when i can
become some girl
whose nimble feet that sidestep the light--
i am lonelier than a shadow;

i had almost believed
that i am beautiful, and i have worth.
but in truth i know

i am a shy glitch that flickers and fades,
that cannot exist without light,
for darkness is an unescapable abyss--

but deep down, i pray this is just a confused dream...

write about hope

write a poem, they said

write a poem about how the trees sway to the wind, how the wind carries a dandelion seed, how the dandelion seed bears a wish made by a girl 43.6 miles across the state, how the girl had dreamed for her life to take flight. if only she knew her wish was in flight. write about the stars in the night, about the sun which has retired for the day, about the sun's reflection found in the lantern hung amidst the darkness that dares to light a path, about the forks in that path which can only leave one hoping this is the right way forward. write about the skimmed knees while wandering the road, about the tears the hurt brings which water the earth, about the crumbling earth beneath your feet, about the feet that for so long have carried you, about the emotions you must carry, about the way you conceal them and...

when people ask me if i'm tired

when people ask me if i’m tired:
i want to say insomnia has a really enchanting way
of cradling me beneath the warm moon glow
peeking in from behind my wooden shutters;
i want to say i’m not scared of the dark
so i’d rather watch the shadows dance around my room
for i, too, enjoy sidestepping the light;
i want to say i’ve tried to close my eyes
but i fear the monsters behind my eyelids--
past mistakes returning to haunt me;
i want to say i’ve tried to inhale deeply
but the air that flows into my shallow lungs
only remind me how much my world suffocates;
i want to say my nightmares often follow me
into the day so i’m scared to sleep at night
scared of what will arise in my mind when morning comes;
i want to say yes, i’m tired--
tired of holding back tears
and tired of...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition: 2021

dear society,

dear society,

hi. we need no introduction; you've been watching me since childhood--
once too young to understand, too small in a world so grand, too quiet to take a stand;
you were the first home i knew so i grew up believing home was never safe
for how can one be safe from your judging eyes?

you are a dictionary with messed-up definitions
where "cool" matters more than "kind," "trendy" more than "trusted,"
somehow i've lost myself in your maze of weighted words
pressing in on me from all sides so sometimes it's hard to breathe;

i've scoured your pages for the meaning of me:
there's a page on how you view me as though i'm some op-ed column
belonging on the back of the paper, scribbled with everyone's opinion except my own
stop pretending like you know me;

because i say whoever gave you the right to write my story was wrong--
i hold the pen, you may be...

for how can one describe nature?

i. the tree

    stubbornly stands tall and proud
though forest fire has denied its being,
        scorching its lower branches and still
    the tree wears a glowing green crown
for beauty should not be controlled by flames
    attempting to tear one down;

ii. the stars

    continue to glitter in the night
though darkness tells them to hide
    and still the pinpricks of brightness shine
to paint the sky into so much more
        than what the dark could ever be;

iii. the waterfall

    sings its deafening melody
composed of snowstorms and hailstorms
        performed by thunderous rain clouds
but i believe one day i will learn the language
    of the rain, and on that day i will sing to the sky;

vi. like the stellar jay

    who flits around the trees 
and chases the sun's golden rays
        kisses the branches and lifts its voice
to the clouds, so the...

of late night conversations and vulnerability ii.

somedays i think i'm scared of myself ;
scared of my broken pieces and scared of my heart ; 
scared of looking in the mirror and scared of finding a stranger ;
scared of seeing and scared of being seen ;
scared being hurt and scared of hurting you ;
just / scared because i’m scared of myself ;
broken in far to many places and its ugly and i can't even look ;
i need to cover myself up because i'm far too shattered
and somedays i think i'm a monster / out of control ;
and if i can't deal with myself how can i expect the world to deal with me /
and not run away? 

you teach me acceptance and / accepting myself means being able to look at myself and smile // but do you know how hard it is to lift my eyes to the sight i call me / and even if somewhere...

of late night conversations and vulnerability i.

i. positivity
i've always been taught that positivity makes a good day
but i’m positive that i’m down right now ;
i'm positive i want to lay on the ground so at least i can catch my breath
but then i'm positive people will trample me and i’m already hurting ; 
but i'm positive i can’t show that because positivity positivity positivity ;
i'm positive that i need slap a smile on face and act like i'm happy / just act like i'm happy ;
but i'm positive it hurts and i'm positive that inside i'm completely broken /
every last bit is shattered but go on; keep acting like you're whole, shelli
because i'm positive no one will notice, so at least someone will think you're positive.

ii. joy
amidst the deepest trials, the deepest joy can be found, they said
so maybe this trial isn't deep enough even though it feels like i've hit rock bottom ; 


some mornings i'd like to lose myself to my dreams
where strange meets sane and they form an interlocking mess
of experiences and emotions; of colors and sights
and i think some mornings i don't need to understand my dream
to understand that the dream was more beautiful than senseless
'cause in my dream the colors come alive
behind my eyelids they dance to music i didn't know i had in me
waltz on thoughts and mold them into a shimmering dance floor
they trip over my overthinking but always right themselves;
some mornings i just wanna go back to the movie behind my eyelids
where everything seems possible and if i dared i could reach out
and pluck a star from the sky; and this dream, this longing
i dare to remember every morning is abruptly cut short
when my eyes open to the lifeless dark room and believe me
when i say that waking up has never been easy...


/frend/ (noun)
a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection

but i'd say to you you're so much more than a mere definition
because i know you cannot be packaged into 15 words;
trust me when i tell you that no world can contain you
without bursting at its seams with laughter and delightful insanity
wrapped up with a sea-foam green ribbon and tied into a bow;
for you have been by my side when i am whole but more importantly
when i am broken, shattered on the ground and it is you
who picks up the pieces and glues me back together into a masterpiece
that can only be described as handcrafted, and in doing so
you teach me that whoever i was yesterday is no longer me
so there's no use in looking back and drowning in my past mistakes;
for i know you have seen the best of me and...

i don't think i can describe my emotions any other way

i was told once that disappointment fades as one gets better
so i guess that must make me a no one
for i've never slipped from your glaring grasp of displeasure
no matter how many hours i spend struggling to slip from your view

i've always known clumsiness like i have an old friend
but today i tripped over your words and fell
i shattered my self esteem like an iphone with a broken screen
and cut myself on the minuscule shards of glass every time i tried to call for help

i think there's pain shooting up my heart but i'm too tired to care
i think i'd like to lay down in the grave i never knew i dug
in my quest for the discovery of my self worth
one day you keep saying but it's been 5217 days and my arms are sore

i wonder if you know how hard it is to...

when you walked away

i don't know when the first tear fell but i know it formed while my head was in the clouds ; 
lost in some misty dream that you'd always be by my side ; before the droplets condensed and wiped 
remnants of the sunbeam smile away from my face ; disappearing into the abyss of sadness /
i never knew how much i leaned on you until you walked away ;
probably a good thing for me to learn independence but loneliness takes over 
which is to say there is no difference between the two / 
i guess i have learned that when all else seems lost there will only ever be a few things by my side 
they are my shadow            and my tears        and my hurt feelings
 / i've never really questioned my shadow but now i wonder
    what part of me makes me worth following ?
yet now i realize it is only to remind...

achromatically intertwined || footnotes & link in message board

Too often, we forget that life isn’t a black-and-white photograph:
It’s colored by “dream[s]… with [their] dreamer[s],”
Painted by the “patience, and… passion” of those who dared to “reach for the stars to change the world;”
Our lives are blanketed by the bright blue sky, so we forget we’ve been blessed by its chroma,
We turn a blind eye towards color but forget we’re not color blind; we’ve merely chosen to ignore it.
We know “our flag is red, white and blue,” but fail to realize “our nation is a rainbow,” 
Built on the ideals of democracy and equality, but on the backs of slaves
Chained to property, yet sold as property.
Our nation was created by those who struggled and fought for freedom, 
Their hearts of gold glimmers of hope in the darkest days, painting a brilliant legacy to illuminate our lives
These souls gave slaves a song to sing, while sowing sugarcane and seeds of sorrow,
Through labor...


today i was lost / among thoughts / or emotions / or both /
    i do not know which ;
if brokenness is an illness / i have contracted it for far too long / tell me there is a cure ;
        please /
    spoon me the bitter medicine / if it means / i can stop wrapping my wounds / with a weary smile ;
for today i am lost / in a maze of i dont know's / and today ;
    today felt like every step was a wrong turn / 
 today felt like the clothes haphazardly strewn / across my room floor / today ;
        today felt like being shoved underwater / immediately after exhaling / and never surfacing for air / 
today i fell ;
    today i shattered and today / today i learned who the personification of failure is
        me ; 
    today i found out...

Song Writing Competition 2021

moments made memories

I miss the days when you were here,
I never thought you’d leave,
I couldn't accept that you'd be gone,
Perhaps I've been naive
But now you've moved and now I see
That all that's left are memories.
Days that seemed to fly away
So now I wish time would’ve stayed.

Yesterday you were right here,
Always by my side,
Now suddenly I’m left alone
To take this wild ride. 
Why our time must pass so quick,
I do not have a clue.
Oh, how I wish pause the clock,
‘Cause now you’re out of view.

To try to catch a passing cloud,
Or hold a beam of light,
Impossible to package time,
That disappears from sight.
How do I reverse the clock,
To days that now are gone,
Uncherished days of the past
That fleeted with the dawn.

It’s strange how one will never see
The value in a moment
Until it’s gone,...

i. the stranger in the mirror

one day i'd like the meet the stranger i see in the mirror:

she seems kind enough, and walks with perfect posture, poised proudly. she imagines she owns the earth, and she sings as though she drank in the sunlight and merely wants to share the warmth with everyone else. she allows others to ladle from her confidence. she shares her joy when she finds others with none. she helps others carry their burdens on their backs, even though her own is weighing her down and only seems to get heavier. see, she acts like she's strong, and refuses to let others see her falter,

but she pretends as though i can't find her solar-powered smile and remote-controlled self-esteem. mama once told her that practice makes perfect, so for 4 years she's been practicing her laughter, the chime of bells though she feels more like she's trembling against another part of herself, a shaken vibration. she walks as though she's afraid...

midnight blue

if you were a color, you'd be midnight blue:

the color of the sky when the sun dips below the horizon / her light having succumbed to the darkness which trails her golden rays
        because life never really goes as planned and somedays the light fades / and i'm lost wandering through an entangled pathway of worried thoughts / but then you're there around me
handcrafted stardust tossed into existence made visible by your appearance / falling gently as glitter does, gracefully emerging into your never-ending embrace
        and you have taught me that hope can be found even troubled times / because you too are struggling / have struggled / but through it you stand strong / and are made even stronger
        and so i look up to you / the way one looks up to the sky / the midnight blue sky


the thing about falling

the thing about falling / is that the fall never hurts more / than getting back up
because for a moment / you succumb to gravity's unrelenting clutches / and simply let go /
in those seconds / pause the time and you will find / yourself floating with nothing between you and the clouds

until you hit the ground and / you are slammed back into reality
and you are forced to stand up again / with the prospect of falling / looming over your head / but you grit your teeth / blink past tears clouding your eyes / push away the pain/
because no one stays on the ground forever / and perhaps the key to to flying / is falling

title ideas?? (also see footnotes thanks)

[The lockers of the school, in the hallway]
ALEX: [does a “secret handshake” with MARKUS] Dude hey! I haven’t seen you in, like, forever! What’s up? Anything new?
MARKUS: Not much [shrugging as he slams his locker shut] What about you?
ALEX: Nope. C’mon, you’ve got to see! Football tryouts are next week! [pulling MARKUS’ arm, they leave.]
[Pan over to RUTA, who’s reading a book as she makes her way to her locker]
ROXY : [Lockers next to RUTA, whispering to SOPHIA, loud enough so that RUTA can hear] Ugh...every year I get stuck with a nerd next to me. And I thought I would get lucky since last year’s kid said he was moving away, but apparently not! Literally, how many nerdy kids have last names that start with S? Like, all of them? [walks off]
[RUTA sighs as she shoves a few things into her backpack, picks up her book, and continues to read. Following RUTA, who...

missing melody

"a friend is someone who knows / the song of your heart / and can sing it back to you when you / forget the words"
but both lyrics and melody have slipped from my grasp / and you have not hummed the first note to me / every chord i so meticulously drafted / forgotten as an outdated fairytale / perhaps because a main character /
no / because you /
have faded into the wind / disappearing into a thick mist / that cannot be navigated / no matter the compass that i cling on to / my last lifeline / how am i to find you / when you are no longer my north / and i have lost your guiding light / your footprints on the sand washed away by the incoming waves /

i stand on the shoreline / an ocean away from you / but you have turned your back on me. 

tidal thoughts

waves gently kiss the shoreline,
their love story masterminded by the moon
pulling on the waves with silver strings; 
may i have this dance with you?
hands clasp together as they waltz
the world, their audience;
the coastline, their stage;
and the moon smiles down upon this pair of lovers.

colors which paint my world | #januarygifting

if you were a color, you'd be:

i. emerald green
        inviting and calming
        an enchanted meadow that coaxes even the most shy
        to stop, sit down, inhale deeply, and pause from the whirlwind that is life
        your constant friendliness is a reminder that there is joy to be discovered in everything.
ii. soft lilac
        warm and welcoming
        your sweet fragrance travels to all who pass by
        and even the stone-faced will find the hint of a smile creeping upon their faces
        every time you speak, your infectious kindness brings delight to everyone who finds it.

iii. cobalt blue
        strong yet gentle
        a vortex where those who enter never want to leave
        mystified by the way you grip the brush, and transform a blank canvas into a masterpiece
        you create magic with words and those who see are left...

now a tightrope

i've never known friendship the way i did with you:
individual strands cannot be identified but
perhaps that is not the point -- our footpath crossed,
lives woven together with such intricacy 
that only God would have the ability to entwine
forming the beginnings of a never-ending friendship bracelet
containing elasticity beyond our most untamed imaginations
we told each other that this would be the secret to our friendship:
it would never falter, for it would never snap

though we tread on different trails
our lives lay connected through this cord
now wide enough to serve as a rope bridge
that we hastened across whenever we needed each other --
and isn't that enough of a reason to stabilize our wobbling walkway?

i guess we never got the chance
perhaps you pulled too far, perhaps i did
but when our bridge was stretched across an ocean
its strength was evaluated; our trust in our friendship
died, and with it, the...

Bread and Light


    (n) the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition

i. your smile which fuels my every movement
        it shines like the sun creeping up beyond the horizon
        you drink in her golden rays and she paints
        the sky, her canvas, you, the subject
        perhaps this is why you light my path in the night:
        like the moon, you mirror the sun's luminosity

ii. words which flow from my pen scribbled hastily onto a page
        it bleeds from my wounds yet i feel no pain
        my blood is the ink, my thoughts the hand to guide my quill 
        emotions tangled in haphazard letters, illogical
        but it is my story and perhaps that is enough:
        i write not to be heard, only to make sense of my life

iii. friends which never leave my side

fraying friendship (republish for peer reviews!)

words were whispered across the wind, wistfully wishing for them to reach you
i still don't know if they did; you left no reply
two years ago today we promised that distance wouldn't separate us
i can't tell if it was a broken promise or a broken dream
the fragments still litter my path and prick my bare feet
i have tried to brush them aside; they still linger
shards of you rip open my flesh and cause me to bleed memories of us
i have heard that time heals all wounds but this one never mends
sew it shut and the thread will be soaked in glistening red
i have felt it fraying, just like our friendship
remove these frayed ends and the string will no longer stretch across the ocean
i feel it pulled taut and i don't know how to continue on without you
tangled around me is our friendship but it's snapping
you can't seem to...

“All Alive”

my house is forever silent

daddy despises noise/ thus my house is forever silent/
it is like a canyon/ each footstep pounding across the house/
is amplified by the house/ learning to use its voice/
echoing the only sounds it has heard/
as though the house wishes to feel words/ crawling up its throat/
when it can muster the courage to do so/ the sounds bounce against its walls/
which enclose us/ i have always longed to be a free spirit/
wandering in nature/ where silence reigns/ but not the sickly silence/
that is in my house/ no/ i wish to hear my footsteps/
rustle the leaves/ to feel the soft earth/ between my toes/
i wish for my steps/ to act like a rhythm/ it will accompany the gentle breeze/
that weaves through my hair/ it sings a deep hum/ a constant tenor/
the birds chirp a tremolo/ the melody line/ of nature's song/
but that is not my reality/ for/
my house is...

i have planted a garden

i have planted a garden sown with seeds/ of sorrow/ watered with bitter tears/ they say "something good comes out of every trial"/ but the flowers never bloom/ i have cultivated a minefield/ tread softly/ one wrong step/ and the ground beneath/ will quake/ long buried emotions/ and pent-up feelings/ that i had tried for so long/ to forget/ surfacing/ and suddenly/ i do not know/ if i have planted a garden/ or a graveyard.

a letter to myself

breathe, shell/ it hurts/ i know it hurts/ breathe./ you're okay./ one bad grade won't kill you/ yes it will it's the last test before the final and unless i do well on this one my grade will never go up and/ breathe./ you're fine./ it's not the end of the world, shell/ yes it is i could've done so much better i— i studied for at least 4 hours i wasn't underprepared i knew the material i don't know how i screwed up like that getting a good grade now is impossible and i/ i know what happened/ breathe./ just breathe./ i'm trying/ okay/ look you are so much more that this grade/ okay?/ 5 years later i swear you won't even remember what this is/ your life does not depend on this test/ yes it does it will affect my overall and colleges might not accept me now and/ shell/ you can't let this letter define you/ you...

darkness & light

you mustn't fear, little one/ darkness and light come hand-in-hand/
it is only in the night sky/ where you will find the twinkling stars/ they defy the black surrounding/
do not fear the shadows, child/ they are only reminding you that light is nearby/ darling, find the light/
it will always triumph in the darkness/
and when you have passed through the dark/ remember how beautiful the light was/

cling onto that, little one/ light is only ever appreciated when placed in darkness/

Pandemic Memoir

i cannot breathe

                    p a n i c

she's the sort of person

    she's the sort of person who laughs everything off but/ inside she's crying/    she'll tell herself she's too sensitive/ but it still hurts/   
    she's the type who knows the answer but/ she's too scared to raise her hand/    when she's called on she speaks quietly/ she hates it when the teacher asks her to "repeat that please"/ they act like she doesn't know it's code for/ "talk louder so the room can hear"/    but she's scared for the room to hear her/   
    she hates the sound of her voice/ and hums quietly along in the car when her favorite song plays/    when her sister looks over/ she immediately clams up/ fear of judgement, she blames it on/   
    she only ever lets herself cry when no one's looking/    in the shower where tears mingle with warm water rushing down/ she acts like that will wash all the pain away/    it doesn't/    or she'll...

every throb in my chest tells me/ you are still alive

and i responded "that's okay i have all year to figure it out"/ the second the words came forward i took a step back/
and realized/ i assume all year is going to be there for me/ assume that i will see the sun's rays again/
beams of liquid gold/ kissing the clouds/ the sweet sound of a bird-call/ carried away by the gentle wind/ into a far-off land
but/ what if it's not?/ because every day thousands of people/pass on from this earth/
i bet some of them thought tomorrow/ was waiting for them/ bet they had planned to do something/ and couldn't/
today my friends all wished me "happy birthday"/ and in a ploy to act stupid i responded/ "why do we celebrate birthdays?"/
and she responded/ "because it's a miracle that you're healthy and well"/ at first i merely laughed/ but upon further consideration/ she's right/
because at any moment/ life could escape my grasp/ and what...

lonely vs. alone

lonely is defined as "sad because one has no friends or company"/ alone is defined as "having no one else present"/ but the dictionary got it wrong/
how do i explain that being surrounded by people/ isn't a tonic that erases loneliness/ perhaps in a crowd/ is when i am most lonely/ it feels if i have lost my footing/ while everyone around me/ has surged ahead on the mountain and left me hanging/
how do i say that perhaps when i'm alone/ i'm really not/ imaginary friends/ i never outgrew/ still whisper to me/ no matter the childish notion/ perhaps these friends/ i have created/ were only ever built/ so i would never be alone/ it is in solitude/ where words float above my head/ like stars circling above me/ somehow they are intertwined/ in a bundle of words/ appearing on the page
i don't need to be alone to be lonely/ and i certainly don't need to be...

when i was little i dared to dream

when i was little i dared to dream/ dared to touch every star/ that seemed within reach/ i never feared climbing higher and higher/ never knew the dangers of falling/ you would always be there/ to catch me/ you said/ i knew i wanted to catch a falling star/ i would bring it in to show-and-tell/ this glittering orb of firey light/ i never knew this light could blind me/ from reality staring back at me/ when i was little i dared to dream/ but i never knew dreams often fall short/ never imagined they wouldn't come true/ never felt disappointment because/ when i was little/ i dreamed because i thought/ dreaming/ would make it/ a reality/ now/ it seems/ i dream/ only to escape/ reality.

silent shudders

mother tells me to stop crying/ stop crying/ stop crying/ stopcrying/ stopcryingstopcryingstopcrying/
                        stop crying
and with each bitter word/ she spits out in disgust and disappointment/ my sobs turn silent/ and yet they quicken/ my shoulders shudder/ each breath/ each shallow gasp for air/ does not fill my lungs/ i continue to shudder/ i dare not take a deep breath/ for fear of a miniature earthquake/ wrecking my body/ 
    stop crying
        stop crying
            stop crying

eventually i no longer hear her words/ tears reduced to silent shudders/ yet they are amplified in my thoughts/ echoing in my mind/ with deafening loudness/ you are a failure/ you are a failure/
    you are a failure
        you are a failure

my sobs continue to wreck my body/ i can no...

random writing prompts

basically last night i was suffering from writer's block, and told my friend, who promptly came up with...uh...30? prompts? something like that either way i thought i would share a couple and hopefully it helps you get started with writing! (p.s. none of these prompts are from my brain. all credit to her <3)

  • someone is in a haunted house and they hear music playing even though they're alone and they enter a spooky giant empty room and in the middle of it is a floating saxophone
  • it's the apocalypse so resources are scarce and all of a sudden jackets start constantly falling from the sky so the few survivors use those to eventually create a jacket themed society
  • someone finally finds the tomb of a famous pharaoh and finds a cave full of precious treasures and then they open the coffin to see the body and it's a mummy but the bandages are toilet paper
  • someone falls into a...

i speak with silence

i speak with silence/ my voice may be quiet/ but it is the loudest silence you'll hear/
mozart said music is not the notes/ but the rests in between/ so why/ why do you tell me to/
speak up/ i have been taught/ to remain silent/ because i did not deserve to be heard/
now suddenly you tell me to speak/ and i do not know how/ i am accustomed to swallowing my words/
shoving them back down/ though they clawed at my throat/ and struggled to escape/
i didn't let them/ i tell you/ that i speak with silence/ because i cannot raise my voice/
above yours/ it will never be heard/ i know they will be drowned/ by the waves of your words/
crashing onto the shore of language/ and it will wash mine away/ don't tell me that it won't happen/
i have seen it happen already/ but my silence/ my silence will never be taken away/ ...

my best friend (footnotes!)

my best friend wakes up every morning and stares at the mirror with a feigned smile,
she can hardly recognize who's staring back at her but that's how she survives the day,
she brushes her hair before her eyes so others can't see the pain that's hidden there—
my best friend hates acting but does it everyday, so well that she no longer knows who she is anymore.

my best friend walks the hallways glancing at the floor, she never dares to look up,
she studies every crack, every imperfection on these concrete floors,
she admires how it bravely shows its ruptures without shying away, though it remains stable,
at least it is not just her who is slowly shattering beneath the weight of pretending.

my best friend laughs with others but forgets what the punchline is,
she's afraid of people seeing her as weak, she knows she is stronger than she feels,
she assures herself that tomorrow she'll be...

“Take Off Your Shoes, This is My House”

the world in my view

"better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world." —george bernard shaw

and so i scrub, take hold of the coarsest brush
and scrub, i want to remove these dirt stains
these scars which litter my body, evidence
that life has not been kind, yes, life may be short
but i know there is no shortage of battle wounds
for the longest time they bled, they stained my hands
and my soul and obscured my view of the world
eventually i can no longer see, i have tried to keep my window
clean but how do i if my hands are splattered with my own
blood, handprints imprinting everything i touch

i have learned that scars do not leave/ the same way
stains do not leave/ the same way my shadow will not leave
so i strain to stare through my window, the world in my view
is still drenched with evidence...

To the Squirrels in my Backyard

To the squirrels in my backyard:
You are responsible for
My stubbed toes at 6 AM in the morning
My heavy-breathing as I log in for class
My struggle in controlling a dog larger than I.

You stare atop the telephone pole,
Clutching it for dear life but you
You deserve the fear 'cause it's
It's 6:30 and I've got to rush to class
Yet here I am, wriggling dog inside my arms
Trying to calm her as she fights
Ready to dash off and start barking at you
But I mustn't let that happen
I fear the neighbors complaints about being woken
And yet it's all your fault.

You sit on the fence,
Stolen apple in hand as you nibble
You're supposed to reap what you sow, and yet
Here you are, taking a few bites of the fruit of our labor
The fruit that we nurtured all throughout the summer,
Before tossing it back down into our backyard, ...

Why I Write

i write

i write because i must/ ink courses through my veins and spills onto the page/
my popped blisters leave my fingerprints all over/ they are the evidence/
that i was here/ i write to let you know that i am here/
i am here, do not ignore me/ i am not a mere voice carried away by the wind/
but if i am i will have travelled farther than you can imagine/
my blood trails my travels/ memories traced back along the word-filled path/
when i return my stains will remain/ they serve as markers in my mind/
they use sweat and tears to reach where they are/ i, with my blood/
cut me open and i will bleed words/ stain your clean hands with stories/
they begged to be told and now you/ you can never scrub them off

Speechwriting Competition 2020



We all have this conversation. It sounds something like this: 
    "Hey! How are you?" 
    "Good. What about you?" 
    "Doing well. Thanks for asking." 
Then we all continue on with our lives, conversing about whatever we started this interaction for: start of class, greeting neighbors, saying "hi" to our friends that we haven't seen in a long time, and so on.

I can't really speak for everyone, but I know that personally, I say these exact words at least once a day—probably more. They flow out my mouth so readily that I don't even give them a second thought. But can you really blame me? If I were to respond honestly, it would sound something like this: 
    "Heck I'm so stressed for this week, I mean like, a math test on Wednesday and a bio test this Friday, a Spanish oral exam next Monday which I'm so screwed for since my pronunciation sounds like crap; on top of that I...

Dandelion Girl

When Dandelion Girl woke up
She was blinded by the sun, its rays welcome streams of light
And she soaked up the warmth
Dandelion Girl stretched her roots as far as she could reach
Fumbling for every last grain in the soil
That she could use to grow
And grow she did,
And she was bright and kind, 
Always there to extend a petal to anyone in need.

But the other flowers didn’t like her generosity,
And every kind act fueled their animosity
‘Cause with every kind act her petals beamed a bit brighter
And she began to outshine them all.
So the orchids called her a nuisance and a weed, 
With no purpose or no need
And laughed at her jagged leaves.
They told her how they grew in rich soil,
And were pampered every day
While Dandelion Girl grew on the edge out of the way, 
Where she was left ignored, tucked away.
And though Dandelion Girl was...

stars can shine without darkness

they tell me that stars can't shine without darkness
but in third grade i learned that the sun was a star
it gives us life, allows our hearts to beat,
lets us thrive.

they speak of trees taking deeper roots in storms
but the strongest trees are not the ones 
who are pelted by water, but the ones
deprived of the one thing they must need to survive.

they remind me to be a palm tree, to bend and never break,
but how does one not break when the wind hits
and suddenly i'm off balance, maybe not breaking, as they say
but definitely snapping during the bend. 

see, they say diamonds are just coal under pressure
but they forget that diamonds are also made
from the bark that gives us life, but in return
they kill it, place it under pressure, and tell me
that pressure is good for me.


they tell me to drift along

they tell me to drift along
say it's an easy ride down the river of Life
but i can't help but find that
its currents are dragging me down, i can't just
float because when i try to relax the rapids
cover head and suddenly i'm flailing
my arms, i'm kicking my legs, i'm
i'm going to be swept away because
i'm too weak against the raging power of the river
but suddenly i'm gasping for breath
when i break through the surface, it
feels like a miracle that i've survived but truth is
i've only been under for less than a minute
they say that the rapids are there to make me
"stronger" but instead i'm left panting
i'm soaked and terrified of this river but
i can't get out, i'm shaking and cold but i must
keep going.

the dandelion (edited)

she skips across the pavement, it's a steady

mommy catches up to her, scolds her that she's
already muddied her perfectly white socks, she
doesn't care, it's her first day of kindergarten
and she can't wait, but as she nears the
school she slows
palms sweat, she starts to think
the other kids might not
like her, she feels so small next to these
tall buildings, she sees that they're
old and cracked and she's scared they'll
fall but mommy
pushes her though the gate
she's inside this monochromatic
courtyard, she's all alone, she's
but then she spots a flash of yellow, she spies a
flower and suddenly it's all okay because if no one will
be her friend at least this dandelion will.

earbuds in and music sings, it's a constant

keeps her eyes down, it's an unspoken
rule to avoid eye...