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needle pulling thread
sewing together scars,
will I ever be beautiful again?
ribbons of memories,
bundled up in a
wrap a bow around my throat
as if my screams are
for your hands to unravel me
like they did in June while i slept,
(red still looks the same on
back when i knew myself
who am i now
behind this patchwork skin
who are you now,
who have you always been
i can still feel
the fear, pain, and memory of you
behind these hallowed hollowed eyes,
my greatest fear is that
I’ll never cry you out
i’d hate to be lovestained
by someone who never learned to love
Abstract acrylic and oil on canvas painting. A woman’s face with two different eyes, and color swirls and designs around her. A sword lays in the background of her right eye.
This piece was inspired by Dido, from the Aeneid. I’m really interested in the female portrayal throughout literary history, and Dido was a really complex character to read about - so I felt compelled to paint my own perception of her.
“Gidra” is the title of an Asian-American, feminist, anti-war, anti-racist zine that was created and circulated by UCLA students from the late 1960s to 1970s. The collective spanned 60 issues, 5 years, 200 people, and became one of the most circulated and influential zines in the history of Asian American activism. I had the opportunity to borrow the original copies of Gidra from the UCLA library, this is a scan of a graphic I liked taken from volume 2. I looked at it so much that eventually I felt compelled to paint it on a tapestry above my bed. To me, this cartoon is something that connects me to a deep rooted discovery of Asian American female radicalist identity. The painting spans generations, and it’s all about intersectional action. I don’t know the name of the artist besides their initials (lns). What I do know is that if they are alive, they are likely in their 70s now. Some wonderful people at Asian Pacific Coalition are making a new zine, 50 years after Gidra paved the way. I cannot wait to help them.
As a queer woman, my body and my sexuality are parts of my identity that I hold close to myself. They are important aspects of who I am, just as everyone's bodies should be adored and cherished. This painting is not of my body but is inspired by me, and I think to grow in your relationship with yourself it is essential to celebrate it through whatever medium you choose. Everyone's body is different, and I could say that everyone's is beautiful, but I reject placing value in only things that are deemed beautiful. Everything has inherent value. All bodies have inherent value. Explore your own relationship with your body and find what you value about it.
I Love You Tonight
I love you tonight;
When I wake up January warm in your arms smiling again,
just like the last time I saw you,
the last time I saw you,
Your lips taste like sugar and snow
Cool and distant like a memory,
And your eyes twinkle and blink with skylights
As if you’re far away,
Just like they were
the last time I saw you.
You taste so far away.
I dream alone in December
Under the rain and the stars
They kiss me wide awake
Just like you did the last time I saw you,
if I remember anymore:
The memories hurt
With how bound they are
To my heart and
How torn it feels now
That I know
I’ll never see you again.
The stars shut their eyes
In our sky
I wake up in July alone,
Holes in my heart and in my tongue
Where your lips burning once met mine,
When your lips yearning once were mine.
You taste of nothing at all.
I miss the fuck out of Word on Wednesday. My friends and family all know that my three years in CAC were a highlight of my undergrad experience at UCLA, an institution riddled with all kinds of unforgiving chaos and soul-sucking madness. Word taught me that we cannot heal what we do not speak. I’m currently challenging myself to start writing (and sharing my writing!) again. So, here I am - practicing courage and authenticity as I learn to access my voice once more. I’m grateful for this virtual space.
today we heard
a song so beautiful
it made us cry
lyrics so poignant
we forgot to breathe
may it all break
fold onto itself and crack
grief barrelling into your chest
brown lines etched into your palms
sand stuck beneath fingernails
shame and sorrow
joy and freedom
speak because it matters
write because you can
autumn air breathes life
into you still
as impermanence shakes you
and brings you to your knees
i could write poems in the subway
profess my love for stillness
press myself against
blurriness or noise
scribble love letters
to uncoupled strangers
ache with wonder
as people walk by in two’s
hands at their sides
admire intimacy from
six feet away, a safe place
each hand a universe unto itself
the story of each digit untold
we are restless, panicked, impatient
cautious, curious, forgiving
I see you in every beautiful thing
hear your laughter in the pauses
between songs that made you dance
Content Warning: Black death
i’ve made a gallery wall in my brain of people that i will never know
living eyes limited to a lifeless piece of paper
or set of pixels
or whatever the fuck the images in your brain are made of
i want to ask them questions, tell me how their day was
what’s your favorite food?
what’s your favorite spot to go alone after a long day?
what’s your family up to?
what’s it like to be immortal?
i already know the answer to the last one.
too many tales tell of the yearning and loss of living forever
the fated grief of tuck everlasting
roaming the earth and outliving his loved ones
at least his feet stayed on the ground.
i can’t imagine being given immortality unwillingly
posted in mine and others’ minds as another addition to a growing wall
being called martyrs in the thoughts of the naïve
being stuck in an endless cycle of temporary posts
trapped within the confines of one last picture
their whole lives trapped in an image after their bodies have long left this earth
what makes them so different from paintings of immortalized pain?
postcards of lynching parties that still lie in special collections somewhere
ancestral whipping scars on our backs
why does an ordinary picture make that easier to swallow when their end was just the same?
see, my gallery wall wasn’t made to be a statement
or an inspiration
or a tribute
it wasn’t made with a political agenda
or inspired by a think-piece
it wasn’t made for Change.org
this gallery wall is one of mourning
for what, and who, its pieces represent;
fleeting moments, particles, pixels
that are doomed to outlive the very person their picture displays.
i wish you didn’t have to die for them to see you.