Thursday, December 27, 2012

NEW poem- "bright star"

This poem is a Christmas poem, after the style of "little tree" by e. e. cummings. Jesus is like a bright star at the top of a tree (the cross,) like "illuminated leaf," or spiritual manuscripts in an ancient book-  atop a tree that is heavy with dusty chains (the filth of our sins,) surrounded by broken ornaments (the mistakes we commit throughout the year.) God willing, this new year will be a second chance.

Oh, and the poem is in the half-shape of the star of David, not just any star... Christmas is about one specific Personage. So yeah. Enjoy. :)

bright star

after e e cummings

          gloom of a December night, who plucked
             you out of the
                                                    somber sea
                           of this year’s broken
     in the cold peppermint frost
          of this
     a tree

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Flash Fiction: "Fortune Cookies"

Haven't posted stuff on this blog in forever! Wrote a new short story/flash fiction piece called "Fortune Cookies," partly inspired by "House on Mango Street," partly inspired by those hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants every Asian kid is familiar with, partly inspired by Lana del Rey, partly inspired by Hollywood and Woodland Hills and Malibu. Weird amalgamation, but stick with me here.

Fortune Cookies

She comes every night for fortune cookies.

Of course she comes for something else too— hot tea, wontons, and green tea ice cream— but all of us waiters know it’s mainly for the fortune cookies.

Lana. A slender girl in her twenties who makes a pilgrimage to our restaurant every night. She sings in the bar around the corner, scraping the tips jar empty for rent. I’ve heard the stories. They’re all different. A rich lover and a house in Malibu where you can see sunsets drain over coves and canyons. Then rumpled sheets, a suitcase, and an apartment on Xpello Street that looked like a ragged cigarette on a highway. And if that isn’t romantic enough for you, Lana can be a foreign princess escaped from a war-ravished country. Or she can be disowned by the proud family that lives in the mansion on Forest Avenue. Sometimes I drive by that Victorian castle and see the family’s enormous dark eyes, exactly like Lana’s two inkwells of sorrow. But I don’t know if I believe that story.

She comes to our restaurant at nine p.m. every night, just as the last batch of tea is brewing. She sits in the corner booth, long waves of cappuccino hair falling over the menu, even though we all know what she’ll order. She’ll flip open her phone, and when I write down her order, I can see her staring intently at her messages. I remember being a teenage girl in shorts and cheap pink lipstick, staring at the emails on my computer screen, everything hanging by a silver chain, grainy pixels, a boy’s fingertips. But maybe Lana wasn’t just waiting for a boy. The fathomless melancholy welling whispers at something more. Maybe it was that one person you meet who makes your body tingle electric. Or maybe it was tortured courtiers in some distant desert palace, or a father with eyes of steel.

Anyway, she comes in every night, studies her phone, selects a fortune cookie. She stares at it with those abyssal eyes. Searching for something.

“Your true love will show himself to you under the moonlight.”
“A clean conscience is a soft pillow.”
“You will soon receive a gift.” “
Whenever possible, keep it simple.”
“Your dearest wish will come true.”

Words of tinsel exotica, like the Zen songs she sings at the bar, like her cloud of rumors and mystery, slightly tinged with passion fruit. She will read the message sent from the carnival-game of Fate, give me a smile with her sad dark eyes, and leave.

When I was younger, and things were better, we used to visit Dad’s cousins on their farm. There was a backyard well that was a hundred feet deep. We kids weren’t allowed to go near its cavernous mouth. But once in a while, when the adults weren’t looking, we’d sneak over to the hydrangea bush next to it and collect pebbles. Then we’d take the round stones, throw them into the fissure, and wait in suspense until the faraway splash was finally audible.

Sometimes I think that’s how profound and mysterious Lana’s sadness is. That sadness mixed with an aching longing for something perhaps even she cannot define. That lachrymose craving in her eyes that burns through the fortune cookies’ shallow wittiness. So convoluted and deeply burrowed into her being that no affection or humor could root it out. It would be rooting out her soul.

And I know that look of pure sadness and longing, because every night when I play my violin after closing hours, shooting Beethoven’s heart to the ceiling, my mother looks like that. You can see it as she stops mopping the floors, raison-wrinkled fingers still gripping the yellow bucket, suds clinging to her tired skin, and raises her closed eyes to the music. A longing for some remote Elysium. A filigreed paradise half-faded with distance. Missing a golden idol without a face. Mystic sweetness almost undetectable. Sehnsucht.

“We thought we would be lucky,” my mother says often, fingering her cracked jade bracelet. Her eyes roam far into the corridors of the past, fingering the infinitesimal between the moment her foot left Chinese soil and stepped onto the immigrant ship.

Hao yun. Fu. Luckiness and blessings. A dream crashed into the greasy crater of a cafĂ© in ghetto Chinatown. Two buoyant phrases whispered so often by my family, whispered between whiffs of cigarette smoke and tealeaves, you begin and then stop wondering whether they actually exist. Two evanescent emeralds, within arm’s reach when my mother sees me filling out college forms, when the floor of the tips jar is almost covered, when Lana leaves the restaurant with a smile, still rolling sour cookie fragments over her tongue.

Lana is about to leave tonight, and she picks a fortune cookie from the plastic jar on the counter that reads ORANGES FROM THE SOUTH 30% OFF. She unwraps it slowly, rolling the thin plastic between her fingers with a psychic air. She breaks the cookie into two tangerine halves, and draws that fateful slip of paper out. For some reason, I always look away at this point.

I don’t know why, but I busy myself with clearing the tables, straightening the menus, whatever. I notice that everyone else does too. My brother drops his eyes to the cash he is sorting behind the counter. My mother turns her head to the wall. I listen to Lana crunch the cookie meditatively as she reads. I wait in tight suspense for her to tap me with her white fingers before leaving.

“Goodbye, Jing,” she says in a clear, high voice. Her expression is unreadable, and I try to make mine just as hard to decode. I smile widely and bow her out, wondering what she has been reading lately in her inbox,

in a lover’s arms (or the dream of his arms,)
in dim bar lights and atonal Zen notes,
in the mysterious tomes of her past,
in fortune cookies.


Sehnsucht, as defined by C. S. Lewis: "That unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of The Well at the World's End, the opening lines of "Kubla Khan", the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NEW POEM: "The black spot of an ant"

So I was doing calculus homework innocently last night, when an ant decided to crawl over my laptop. Like any normal, paranoid human being, I promptly squished him with some graphing paper. And then, like an abnormal, incurably nerdy human being, I decided to write a poem about him. It's not a death elegy or anything cute. (Sorry.) But it does have a lot to do with supernatural judgment, infidelity, fate, volition, and other cheery topics like that. Enjoy!

"The black spot of an ant"

The black ink spot of an ant crawled
over the horizon of my homework,
and I attempted murder within
the walls of stationary,
folding the pages to his doom.
What must have gone through his mind—
or anyone’s mind—
as his papercosm came crumpling down upon him,
as I played God
to the unfortunate businessman
in a black suit,
and his entire lifespan,
from waxen egg to a worker with duties
and responsibilities
and a family (
he had, after all,
just gone an increment too far
while guiltily lusting for a
forbidden grain of sucrose  )
well, all of that— suddenly
into a halt
when the parchment walls of his existence
came avalanching in and
pressed together
in the cruel, crushing, cynical pressure of delicacies.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Poem!: "Regret Is A Broken Window"

Note: This poem is after the style of Emily Dickinson. Also, Chronos (or Kronos) was the god of time in Greek mythology, not just the password in "The Incredibles." :)

Regret Is A Broken Window

Regret is a broken window
Which once was a sheet of Glass
Stained with fingerprints of dust
And misty Bitterness.

When we were through with words opaque—
The Masquerade of guessing hearts,
A Love Affair of Hide and Seek,
We broke the Mask apart.

And through the shattered pane we saw
Each other true and fair—
Our soul Intentions weak and raw—
The Solved Enigma bare.

The glassy crumbs like drops of blood
Condemned our mindlessness,
For seeing none is seeing all—
For Ignorance is Bliss.

No hand could patch the ruined glass,
No skill could mend the fault—
We’d force the hands of clocks reverse,
But not the Chronos vault.

Now and then we’ll wish helpless,
And claw at Will or Fate—
But none can stop the truthful flow
No healer heals the blow,
For Regret is—
Love is—
Life is—
A fragment of a window.

Monday, September 3, 2012

"Burnout Beach Cogitations": A Poem

Story Behind the Poem: I was at King's Harbor's Church on the Beach, when I realized that a manifestation of God's power was glorying before me. A flash of inspiration with the first line and the structure of this poem flashed through my mind, and I managed to write it all down this morning.

So without further ado...

Burnout Beach Cogitations

I listen to the low, subterranean thunder
of a liquid universe breathing beneath me.
My wet palms grip the rubbery foam
of a reluctant 12-foot board,
sustaining equilibrium on a slumbering sea.

And to think that an Almighty Creator
who could undo the oceanic cosmos
who could uproot, if He wanted to, the secrets
            of silent, watery volcanoes
and needlefish like silvery bullets
            of gargantuan blue whales
and white rays wafting through thick liquid
            of fluorescent tentacles
and many-faceted reefs
            of sea stars’ tangerine bodies
and the great white’s thirsty teeth
            of striped sea serpents trailing bright coral
and translucent flounder fins
            of feathery ocean worms
and mosaic jellyfish,
            of the inflated puffer
and the frolicking otter,
            the slope-necked penguin,
the curving dolphin,
            the deep-sea gardens of kelp,
the frilled shark’s prehistoric jaws,
            the nightmarish fangtooth fish
and the spider crab’s clicking claws,
            the luminescence of sea-floor demons
the incandescent squid
            Imagine, He could make these die, proliferate, or Vanish
if it pleased Him.
            Imagine that He
who knows the impetrenable depths
and unmappable breadth
of millions of leagues
and numberless degrees
of every inlet, every puddle, every sea

can still love me—

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Sad, Sad Tale (In 100 words)

Yuuuup I was nerdy enough to enter the short fiction contest on Sparknotes. (DOUBLE NERD POINTS! Or nerd points squared... whatever.) Here it is, for your daily dose of sorrow.


Kevin pokes me. “Look at that poker face!”

I stare at the after-musical party before me. My fellow high-school actors are absurdly drunk, coughing soggy giggles, stippled by hiccups.

One boy stands out, his blue mohawk glowing through the cigarette smoke. His cavernous mouth laughs loudest, kisses the most girls, tells jokes that send the crowd rolling on the ground. He drains a glass, smashes it down, shouts, “Another!” Everyone cracks up. Clown.

“That’s not a poker face,” I say. “I’ve never seen a less stoic character in my life.”

Kevin blinks. “You don’t know? His little sister died yesterday.”

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A poem that, perhaps, only girls can understand...


If only they knew that her smile
was painted on like a clown and if
they knew that she was limping
because                        she ran
so many                      miles so
fast as                          if she
could be                       as slim as
these                            columns as
if she                           could leave
her mind                      behind her,
still                              S   C   R   E   A   M   I   N   G
MURDER                  and if
they only                    knew how
she scrubbed off her crusted mascara
every morning, clawing away at the
funeral-black mess congealed with old tears,
as if she were scrubbing away the night.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Poem! "Is God a noun?"

Here we go! My newest poem was just written this morning... it's a prose poem. :D

Is God a noun?

The words I learned in grade school resonate in my consciousness: a noun is a person, place, or thing, a person, place, or thing, which means that God is not a noun- of course, He could be a verb; who says He cannot be a stream chuckling or stars clustering or spring bursting into vibrant saffron... and who says He cannot be conjunctions and prepositions, the bones holding our logos together, and who says He cannot be punctuation, the lens that transfigures our cognition...?