i’m still here

i am defined by the numbers that have been imprinted on my skin. they’re saying that i am not yet good, not yet enough; they’re saying that i have to be kept locked in longer than expected. i say okay, i agree to being stuck in this enclosed space, because this is right, this is what the zero on my face means. in the spaces between lines, i try to find refuge in a mind overgrown with weeds. there is an overwhelming darkness.

i want to plant a seed in the lightest corner of my heart, but it gets blown away time and time again. the wind is strong, and the wind is stronger than i ever will be. i must run around the perimeter, they say, i must learn to hold in my breath as i go 400 meters, 600 meters, 3000 meters. learn to endure all the pain before i can even hit the minimum standard.

zero, zero, zero.

repetition goes two ways: to emphasize, or to lose its meaning altogether. i wonder if it’s apathy that leaves me hanging, or if i have truly no way of discovering the beauty of the world around me.

every time i try to reach out towards the colours on the outside, i am reminded of my inabilities, my limited capabilities.

i am not trying, i am not doing, i am not achieving.

zero, zero, zero.

(and i hope repetition means to lose its meaning, because i want to forget what zero means. i want to break through this castle full of cages.)


the strategist

i wallow in the permanence of your departure.

even the gentlest of your kisses had left me breathless, choking on air. the quietest of your touches had seen me emptying it all out, so that you can make a temporary home out of the cavity in my chest. now that you’ve decided that you were better off alone, my heart tries to stitch itself up. it’s too late now, though, it’s too late. you have long immortalized yourself within me: i am but a remembrance piece of you. when you walked away, you took with you my soul and my voice.

you’ll live forever. i wonder if this has been your plan the entire time.

the world’s axis

i peel the insides of my mind

repaint the walls to a bright red, the type you hate

because maybe then you’ll never

come back and make a home, a temporary shelter

out of the little left of me


my mind is a storage room full of memories

and irrelevant dreams that have lost their wings

and i burn it all up

in hopes of taking you down


i cut off my tongue

to un-familiarize the sound of your name in a language only i

can understand, or care to understand

now that only one of us is left


but i guess you were right about staying past your due

about never paying rent

because here i am,

writing a fucking poem about you

of all the people i’ll love

i am destined to fall in love with a boy who has soft eyes and an even softer heart. his hands will be calloused as he wraps them around mine, but still gentle, always gentle. he will bring me to a nice restaurant for our anniversary and the food will be kind of shit but it’s okay – he’ll make up for it with roses and a personality too charming. he will hold me close even when it’s not cold because he loves the way my head falls to his chest, he’ll press a chaste kiss to my forehead because our heights are just right for each other, he’ll let me rest my legs on his lap because he just wants to be close to me.

i am destined to fall in love with a boy who knows only the rough edges of life. he’ll teach me how to climb walls and how to smoke cigarettes, breathe out smoke through my lips. he’ll wear leather jackets no one likes anymore because he can, and he’ll place them over my shoulders when a cold breeze passes by. he will buy snacks from the nearest convenient store to share on my birthday because the quality of the food is nowhere as important as the way we look at each other. he’ll press his lips against our interlocked hands and promise us a forever before he goes.

i am destined to fall in love with a boy who has never been looked at right. he will not know how to love, but he’ll try, will do anything in his power to learn how to be perfect for me. he will stumble over three words, and his eyes never look straight into mine – but he’ll love me all the same. he will find novels and read them to me when i’m sick, he will shake his head at the ridiculousness of their romance. he’ll tell me that love like that is too cliche. he’ll laugh and tell me that we can make our own cliches. his hands will find their way back into mine.

(i fall in love with a girl i can’t touch. she is gorgeous in every way: her passion, her smile, her voice. she takes my breath away. our hands are close, almost touching, but stopped by an unseen barrier. i’ll try to look subtly but she’ll see – she’ll always see because she watches too. her gaze is both dull and bright as our eyes meet. and then i’ll reach out, wait for the inevitable crash. sometimes trying to hold onto something only pushes you off the axis. sometimes falling in love isn’t right even if it feels right. we will never be close enough, will never last, will never go back home.)

i wanted to be better (i couldn’t)


i google “how to fuck up”

cut myself in seven

i pick up a piece of my broken heart

and throw it into the deepest end of the ocean


the thing they don’t tell you in books is that

the easiest way to fall apart

is to forget what it’s like to look okay to feel okay to be okay

when not even you can make the world a little better for yourself

when the best is of rough grounds and the worst, the worst

is of rocky seas and there’s nothing you can tie around your shoulders –

you weren’t a superhero yesterday, you aren’t one today and


i find myself waking up even before the sun rises

when the sky is still a sweet midnight blue, the clouds cold and shapeless

there’s a box of memories left on the doorstep that no one passes through

not even the kitten that used to come for milk and leftover food

that must now be a full-grown cat and the both of us, we’ve

grown older

but i have not yet grown up

i have not yet learnt how to hunt and i’m searching for shelter in myself

looking for leftovers that i can’t spare


i am my words

on the tip of my tongue lives a graveyard never visited. the ghosts of my long-dead words wander towards the light of your eyes in hopes of meeting a better future. but you never hear me. you never do. you never will too. maybe one day you’ll find me in a coffin with my eyes red and my lips blue, suffocated by all the things i couldn’t say to you. or maybe i’ll just be part of a history never remembered. i live in a graveyard never visited.

the wizard can give us hearts

on the first day, you told me you hated messes more than anything. this was very much obvious from the way you ate: you made eating look like a practiced art. compared to you, i was a complete slob.

i didn’t eat much that night.

when you held my hand and walked to the parking lot, you told me you took literature and read all about shakespeare the previous term. you said romeo and juliet was a disaster from start to end, a story of tragedy and young stupidity, that all the young do is set fire to the curtains.

i didn’t remind you that we’re young too.

we sat on the bench and looked at the skies, watched the stars twinkle in the night light. you said that they were far too dark and that your neck hurt from all the looking. you said that there’s no point in appreciation because the world is ugly.

i didn’t bother telling you about all the beauty i’ve seen in surburbia.

and i think all i tried not to say was that i wanted to love you, but i didn’t want to starve, i didn’t want to talk about the way you see this home, and i didn’t want to tell you that romeo and juliet was a disaster borne of young love, fueled by the youth, fueled by our pasts.

that i wanted to walk down this yellow brick path, but i didn’t want to watch you wear green glasses and forget the reality i’m giving up.