Quandaries and Queries

Once, after I read my poetry out loud
A friend congratulated me
Said the cadence of my murmurs
Was meant for spoken-word
And essentially

I have

“The Voice.”

I wanted to say back,
“Maybe, but I don’t have

“The Words.”


Every time I sit down and
Press my fingers into the grooves of the keyboard
I feel like I’m writing my first poem
Over and
Over and
Over again

And that I’m actually writing an essay
With misplaced line breaks
Or that I’m stringing together pretentious metaphors
That don’t really have any meaning
And then, because I’m an English student
I try to reverse analyze
And there’s writing
And deleting
And wondering how other people do it
And “Crap,

“How am I ever going to finish this?”


My longest poem took me three months to finish
And was essentially the Bat Mitzvah of my poetry writing.
To this day, I don’t know if I’ll ever create anything
That will amount to the way I felt
When I read it for the first time.
Is it all downhill from here?

I could just be trying to sound intelligent
By using language that doesn’t quite add up—
Math was never my strong suit.

I was hoping words could be.


Some poetry sings you to sleep
And some prepares you for war
And I want to write both.
But I’m still just figuring out
How to convey whirlwind thoughts,
Tornado ideas and tempestuous designs
So that they do not appear like the limp air
You feel on dreary Tuesday afternoons
When you’re trying to find your car
In a supermarket parking lot.

Maybe it’s good I have a car alarm heart.


Another friend tells me
“Words can be written by anyone,
“But voices cannot be replicated.”

My teacher notes on my corrected essay
“You write well,
“You just need to meet your deadlines.”

I say to myself
“You were never very good at endings.”


As long as there are puzzle pieces and fault lines and cobblestone alleys
And dancing galaxies and soft hands and ferns that tickled your younger days
And teenager-y emotions and whispers and sunlight
And collaborative blogs made by writerly friends,
There will be words.
Maybe not The Words,
But that’s okay.

They’re our Words.

Emotional Baggage Check

Sometimes, I find a really good article that hits all the points for me, like this one. While reading the beginning, I was half convinced that Jenny (the writer) is me from an alternate universe—only, she seems to actually know what she’s doing when it comes to helping people. 

  My only actual job is to be student, but I’d say I’m also an Emotional Baggage Check of sorts. I spend a lot of hours talking to friends who are upset or need someone to vent to, and this is usually done over messaging, phone calls, or—strangely enough—at parties. Usually the venting happens during the night, and—like Jenny says—sometimes it escalates to talking them out of suicide, leading to urgent 2 am calls. It’s been especially stressful this past school year and that’s probably one of the reasons why my report card looks lousier than it usually does—when one of your friends tells you that they’re not going to be around tomorrow, homework is the last thing going through your mind.

Arguments with my parents have sprung up out of this. There’s the usual “You need to go to bed, these people won’t even matter to you after high school, your grades are important” opening statement, retaliated with my defiant “They matter right now and homework can wait but they can’t” objection, finally ending with frustration and sometimes tears. Those nights are the ones I want to avoid the most.

And of course, lack of sleep is an issue. There was a month where it seemed all of my friends were sad at the same time and I would talk to multiple people in one night: starting up a phone call with one person just as I was finishing a message marathon with another. Jenny talks about multitasking, but I can’t listen to more than one person at a time so I was up super late trying to get to everybody and homework. Needless to say, caffeine, all-nighters, and I are not strangers anymore.

Not that I’m complaining. I love having feels-packed talks with friends who mean a lot to me, and I love being able to receive their thoughts. I don’t think myself superhuman or selfless—during especially busy times, I’ve looked at my screen and audibly complained that I don’t have the time or the necessary level of caring to tackle the issue. Sometimes this kind of sigh-groan escapes me, and yeah . . . I’m no Mother Teresa. But I know that whenever I’ve committed to helping the person, I’ve never regretted it. There’s a certain happiness that comes with being able to be there for the people you care about, and it makes things (like staying up late) worth it.

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” -Mother Teresa

But like Jenny, I’m still trying to figure out how to take care of myself while also taking care of others. I assume I’ll find that balance eventually. Until then, I’ll just muddle along with everyone else and we can all help each other out.

Questions about Trees

53°12’51.5”N 14°28’33.3”E
The Crooked Forest, Gryfino, Poland

Some of those trees are curvy. They’re curved trees.

Are they naturally like that? Did the wind blow them into that shape?

Why are they all curved the same way? Are they deferring to a tree deity?

Are they shying away from their own trunks, having not yet learned to not be afraid of their own bark?

Do the straighter trees feel jealous of the curvier ones? Do the curvier trees look at themselves and wonder if they’re freaks of nature?

Because I think that’s silly. Forests are really, really awesome.

People are too.

Six Word Story #1

Flowers grow from your fault lines.


Unfinished Business

Unceremoniously shoved into a corner of my living room is a scarf. I started it when first embarking on my knitting misadventures, somewhere between grade eight and freshman year — so, a couple of years ago. Ridiculously — but sadly not surprisingly — it’s still in a messy state of incompletion. At this rate, I’ll finish it when I’m halfway through university.

The problem is that I keep telling myself that there’s always too many math problems to groan about, too much Tumblr dashboard to scroll through, and not enough time to haphazardly do all the things I want to(which are all terrible excuses, given I have a friend who forges knitted masterpieces in a matter of hours. Fun fact: if you make her angry, she will not hesitate to stab you with the same needles she used to make a six-foot, Harry Potter-themed scarf. Everybody knows of the TMNT but she is a veritable TKGG: Teenage Knitting Grandma Goddess).

Truth is, I’m not a finisher. It’s rare I ever finish anything that’s doesn’t have an unforgiving deadline like piano recital pieces or school assignments do (yet, that still didn’t stop me from handing in a novel analysis essay a month late . . . sorry, Mr. H), which is probably why I went through as many extra-curriculars as people lose bobby pins. I can’t remember seeing anything through to the end except for swimming, and that’s only because my mom was convinced that one day I was going to fall off a ship and into the ocean. To her credit, that did sorta happen once.

So, no more extra-curricular for me anymore, but the unfinishing continues:

  • I pick up new sheet music, half-learn four songs, then drop them. As a result, you could say I know lots of pieces, but only in pieces. It’s slightly annoying, but probably more so for the place I volunteer at — they get to hear my choppy playing for an hour every week, the poor souls.
  • I don’t finish novels sometimes. Actually, there’s an obscene amount of books in this cardboard box mentally labelled “Yeah . . . no” shamefully tucked into another corner somewhere. (Oh life and your unforgiving corners.)
  • Don’t even talk to me about draft folders. Every time I open one of those, it’s a nightmare — blog draft folders, email draft folders, physical folders that hold hand-drawn drafts . . . no folder is safe.

Perhaps my inability to finish will be my undoing, but in terms of my scarf, I’m not worried. It gets worked on every time I have a sleepover, which means that when it’s finally done, it’ll be a scarf born from party times with friends.

And besides, isn’t there that quote that says it’s not so much the destination but the journey?

(Ah, but I guess never getting to the finish line isn’t that commendable either.)



Spilled Ink

It seems like every day that I am begging classmates to know that breathing isn’t as hard as it seems. The muted screams of thousands of people echo in the distance and too many of my friends murmur in the recesses of my mind, “I want out of this life.”

Every day there are approximately 11 youth suicides. I am terrified that one day it will be someone I know, and I don’t have enough fingers on my hands to count how many times I’ve heard of attempts made by people I can’t bear to lose. Hanging, poison, choking, overdosage, when does it end?

Some say that I hold the words that can save them, but remember that you are the one who picked yourself off the floor, who crawled towards the sunlight, who found the strength to keep moving through this idiosyncratic life. I am just a friend with nothing left to give except battered compassion and my pleading voice, “You stay here with me.

I hope you listen so you can here for every snowfall, every sunset, every happy moment for the rest of your enduring, significant life. They say some poems are long and some are short but by god, I hope you are a long one. Do not stop writing.

Instilling Fondness

Have you ever just looked at someone and thought, “I really love you”. They’re just talking or humming or watching a movie or reading a book or laughing or something, and there’s something about them in that moment—their body is alive, there’s a light in their eyes, something—that makes you think, “I just really love you.” It’s a weird sensation to think this, but it’s pretty awesome that we can feel this way about another being. -Tumblr user text-pistol

There’s injustice all over the world and humans have done unspeakable things over the course of history, but I’d like to think that the real essence of humanity is captured in those fleeting moments where you look at someone and cannot help but love them.

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