you’ll understand when you’re older.

mommy, what does happy feel like?

“it’s like when you smile and everything is nice.”

mommy, what does sad feel like?

“it’s like when your grandma died. it makes you frown, and sometimes you cry.”

mommy, what does being mad feel like?

“it’s like when you want to hit something really hard to stop the fire in your middle.”

mommy, what is being scared like?

“it’s when you don’t want something to happen, but instead of fire in your middle everything is ice.”

mommy, what does hope feel like?

“it’s when you really want something to happen, and you’re almost scared about it but you smile instead of frown.”

mommy, what does love feel like?

“you’ll understand when you’re older.”

mommy, what does happy feel like?

[it’s the glow in her eyes but not her face as she looks at you oddly, tired – bent but not broken but even her smile is strained now]

mommy, what does sad feel like?

[it’s the way she sobs when she doesn’t think you’re near enough to hear with no abandon, unlike the everything that abandoned her, and it’s the gaunt look to her face, the haunted eyes that seem never to escape the mysterious burdens they drag with them]

mommy, what does being mad feel like?

[it’s the screaming at the sky, the blood-chilling sounds wrenched from her, demanding at no one why they would do this to her, why her, anyone but her, and it’s the dented wall no one talks about]

mommy, what is being scared like?

[it’s the ‘i-love-you’s that stick because of the desperation buried beneath the simple words, and it’s the fact that she’s convinced she’ll never be able to convey the entirety of her meaning, but she’ll try her hardest, anyway, because what could invoke more fear than regret?]

mommy, what does hope feel like?

“mommy doesn’t know sweetie, go ask someone else.”

mommy, what does love feel like? (i’m older now, you know)

“shouldn’t you know the answer by now?”


“saranghae; jal-ja.”

truth is? i love you a lot
i love you too much to watch you rot
little drastic-sounding? is that what you think?
what you think, what you think — it doesn’t matter what I think
what i think, is that you should leave me alone
before my hurt becomes yours

truth is? i hate you sometimes

(…truth is? i can’t think of a solid reason to hate you.)

truth is? your care is sickening
but your affection is quickening, blood goes steady to thickening
at your love, at your leave
ah yes, and that is the entire reason we are here.

truth is? i feel weak thinking
of a life devoid of you, totally lacking
in your specific way of cracking open the packaging
in this cursed little lock-box of mine.

truth is? my heart is so full
and nothing can dull the inescapable
relationships are hard when you give them your all
(and your all is always all you give)

truth is? i try so hard not to care
whether you go or you dare
to make us some sort of pair
of dysfunctional minds coincide here

truth is? i care more than you’ll ever know
promises will be the death of me, but
at least they give me a reason to talk to you
(once in a while)

prying the box open, carving out its insides
cutting its contents open until they bleed out
and eventually wither away
carefully gathering all the ash, and making it special again
in the way only you can do
sometimes, this is all you can do
sometimes, this is all you need to do
the care you take is disgusting in its quantity
but i can never actually begrudge it

truth is? i love you in a way
that dies just a little whenever you walk away
little drastic-sounding? is that what you think?
well, let me tell you what i think

i think that you should stay
i think that you should stay
i think that you should stay

but what i think most, is that you should leave me alone
before my hurt becomes yours

rambles from school, pt 1

Love is not an easy concept to grasp, because it’s not just a concept – everyone defines it a little different. It’s an emotion, or an action, or physical pleasure. Something I didn’t even consider until recently is that love is not capable of being confined to just one definition. To some people, it is one thing, while to others, it is totally different.

As a child, all I knew was familial love; there was also “parents’ love” – subtly romantic, longsuffering, and steady – but that was for adults. I did not dwell on the qualities love, much less on how I would define them. Growing older, however, as I start to revise and realize my own outlooks on various subjects, love is much more elusive than I originally thought. It is not straightforward anymore; rather, it’s like the color black. Some people say it qualifies as a color, some claim it does not. Some think that it’s all one color and anything else is grey that borders on black, but does not count as “real” black; some see different shades to bright colors combined. There is no one, universally-agreed-upon definition, because too many people see too many things.

Growing up, I have witnessed too many things to maintain one definition. Divorce, when two people who used to claim to love each other separate permanently. Immaturity, when one or more parties involved do not understand that loving each other, in any way, supposedly means that the people involved should care enough to work out their differences despite the disagreement. Martyrdom, even the sort that does not refer to death – one person lets another, or more than one, stomp over them because if that’s what the second party wants, the first should oblige, right?

Love cannot be contained by one human. It is too nuanced, too variable, to stand by just one definition. It is not just familial or just romantic. The least we can do is understand that.

who taught us to love?

no one ever taught us to care. it’s instinct, right? carved into intangible humanity, sitting like rain water in a barrel; leaking through even against our all-important wishes.
we care so much that our so-called hearts bleed until they wither into dust. we care until veins burst but arteries clench closed; till we spit venom and cures at random, with no care for the path we subconsciously tread. peripheral vision – that’s all we retain, staring anywhere but right in front of us, eyes boring holes into everything but the truth. the truth: we care until paradoxes overwhelm our lives, throwing us back into reality with nothing but a vague notion of recent events.
hazy, disjointed life. automatic, uncontrollable life. that’s all we retain.
we care, but we don’t focus on it; that would hurt too much.
we care, not because we would die of agony if we fully felt the effects–
but because we would live in perpetual fear of the what-ifs.
we care without a care in the world, simply because it’s instinct.


by the way
a brief respite would be nice
a rest from the self-redeeming eyes
in the mirror
could it be any clearer?
it’s not what you expected to see
you expected the me that i pretended to be
by the way
a brief respite coincides
with alone-but-not-lonely and
(is that so hard?)
and by the way
a lack of this is what i miss
so dearly

aching, aching, in my gut
i doubt you remember what
my issues are
i hope you remember
nothing about me
breaking, breaking, in my soul
what’s in there’s beyond my control
it’s cracking! can you hear it?
it’s lacking! can you tell?

what’s it lack? i wish that i
could give no answer and pass by
curse you for being persistent!
(at least, you used to be.)
what happened? i wish i knew
reasons many and fixes few
i’m cracking! can you see me?
i’m lacking!

(like you care.)

you’re a barnacle-covered hunk of metal (surprise!)

there is a poetry in the risk of bending reality to fit your overall mood; there is a reckless rhyme to the fact that you do not and shall not gift a second thought to your own abandon.

there is a certain meter, specific rules, and you feel no other desire toward them except a craving to break every single one.

longing sickens you, because there is nothing – nothing – you would rather do than break free

from yourself.

your tongue aches to twist words into braided structure / your head pounds with the puzzle of peaceful chaos / your heart beats exponentially faster because you are alive but removed from yourself

sails are necessary to a ship; this is widely-known fact. reckless apathy is your sail, so that when the time comes, there will be no mourning. there will be no weakness in sensitivity, because apathetic calm is optimal, is it not?

release yourself. remove yourself. wreck yourself.

these steps have never tempted you more than

it is only the affirmation that others think about you, sometimes, that pulls you back. the alleged care is too much to process, but maybe you let yourself think in your rare weak moments that someone you care about, reciprocates.

so you attempt to forget. you suppress and repress until you can remember things, but nothing you used to consider inconsequential.

you quickly realize that forgetting the details was the worst choice for you, in this cursed state. in forgetting them, you sever any remainder of any anchor you’ve ever known–

because what is your anchor, if not them?

in forgetting them, you’ve freed yourself

in freedom, you’ve lost yourself

(who knew that anchors were the most important component to a ship?)