dumpling soup

The first time we met, you spent too long deliberating on what to eat. I stood in line, directly behind you in the almost empty 24 hours Chinese place and offered, “The dumpling soup here is good, if you have yet to decide.” You were startled, of course, we were not in the part of town where people talk to each other. You told me later that you were surprised, because I was kind, because you were anxious, because you really could not make up your mind. But I hadn’t spoken out of kindness. It was 9pm at night, I was exhausted and still waiting in line because my server wage did not afford me the luxury of getting my food delivered to me, and you were there, taking up time I did not have to spare. It was not kindness, just self-interest, you misunderstood my intent.

The next time I met you, you placed your order of dumpling soup on the table I was sat at without asking, smiling like I knew you, and took a seat. You took my silence as consent and introduced yourself, demanding I do the same with your endless probing. I did not speak a word, figured you’d take a hint and let me eat in peace. But this was not the case, you were enamoured with yourself, you could go on forever talking. It did not seem to bother you that I did not care, so I let you ramble on, not a single word registering in my head. I finished my meal, picked up my tray and left.

The third time I met you was a month later. I had gotten off work later than usual and was starving. I found you drunk and retching at the sidewalk of the entrance to the Chinese place. Nothing in me wanted to help you, but we were not in the good part of town, and I did not want to wonder if you made it through the night safe. So I helped you up, and brought you back to my place. I did not have a couch, so I left you on the floor with some water and went to bed. It was summer, you would not freeze, and this floor was better than the sidewalk at the very least.

You were gone the next morning, with hardly a trace that you’d even been at my home just hours prior. You did not leave a note, I really did not care. I had taken you home only to ease my conscience, in case you wound up on the news dead the next day.

Maybe I should not have bothered, because I saw you for the last time the following day: you had wound up on the news dead anyway. Something about some scuffle, something about some men, I did not care for the details but I found myself still mourning your death. Not because you were a friend, but because you’d seemed like the type, who would make it out of here someday.

the pretty leaves are dying

seasonal depression does not happen in august.

where the weather cooperates 

with makeshift confetti of

expired leaves pattering down, 

the perfect autumn illusion.

(but the leaves are all dried and crumpled.) 

(i only walk gently and they crumble.)

(I become guilty of the massacre beneath my feet.) 

visiting rights

sadness paid me a visit.

i hid behind a picket fence,

and waited for her to pass.

she lingered and i saw

hollow eye sockets

gleaming with tears.

i felt pity,

then she turned her head,

smiled and disappeared.

i didn’t understand it then,

too naive to realise

sadness had succeeded.

cotton candy skies

i saw the clouds peak pink

and fold themselves over,

pillowing a grand ascend.

i, a child, peered from the ground

my tiptoe clumsy on bare feet

rooted in earth,

realising for the first time

that the sky would cushion

my anti-gravity perception

should it ever fail me,

should i ever fall.

Mooncake.

Pruned hands with plum coloured nails,
Folding gentle tides of dough.
The chopsticks pick
A gentle wave, of lotus paste,
Then into the mould it goes.

Out the oven, wrinkled, tender skin holds
A saccharine treat. Gently sliced, it is gifted,
To the sticky palms of kids,
Licking every last remnant
Of sweetness off their lips,

Pruned hands with plum coloured nails
Laughs when I make a mess,
Delicately wraps crumbs in tissue paper,
Tells me I look pretty in my dress.

On this night,
The moon is high and lit,
Her rounded glory tells a story
Of love and harmony.

The high tide rolls in,
The cycle is complete:
A promise that ends
Are too, new beginnings.

On this night, I’ve seen the moon
Come and go in full bloom
So many times since.
Your smile lines etched
In memory. Your love
Newly absent. Mooncakes
Taste too sweet but fail
To compensate, losing you.

Portrait of You.

I paint you in my mind.
Portrait of mixed media.

Oil my favourite, the way it blends and glides,
Takes forever to dry as though a reminder
That mistakes too were meant to be.

Needle and thread in hand,
I begin my next conquest,
Sew along the edges,
‘Just to add dimension’, I say,
Then find myself entranced
By the endless push and pull.

So I keep coming back,
Addicted to this mechanism –
Like keeping you in my mind
Would attest against the fact
That we hadn’t stood the test of time.

But the needle finally pricks me,
The pain sets free within me.
In a moment of panic
I pick up my brush,

Desperate to touch
Ground with the idea of ‘us’.

But the brush is stiff,
The paint has dried.

Oh, I suppose it is time.

I keep away the memories of you
Cocooned in shells
Of hardened oil,
Sealed shut with cotton threads.

I sign my name on this finished piece
My proudest work – it is fine time I let you go.

dessert of choice

you tasted like key lime pie.

your thoughts like bold flavours –
full bodied and in favour
of all things eccentric,
to say the least.

your words tart like fact, 
rid of feeling or tact.
and your face, 
indefinitely pinched like 
a bizarre mix of 
worry and regret. 

first impressions with you 
leave a tongue coated in
hostile acidity, full of unpleasantries 

but second thoughts are coaxed 
by your unrelenting aftertaste
of unforeseen suavity:

a delicate sweetness so
tirelessly alluring and rarely disappointing.
that even when making your acquaintance
is slow and seemingly unrewarding
I still choose to learn of patience, to learn of you.

i’ve always known love

in faint heartbeats and palpable sighs 
with the weight of only a feather 
and the lengths of the skies 

i’ve bared my soul
to watch it thrive 
like the sweetest fruit 
that grows on vines 

i’ve always known love: a messy explosion!

it is ruptured skins and oozing flesh 
tearing away at the graceful steps 
of the fluid dancer’s choreography. 

chewed up! the limbs are left 
a clumsy entanglement 
a lover’s regret 

the skin is bitter 
it tastes of wine 
helps the lover forget –
the loved is not divine. 

summer hearts

you are a forever memory of a summer already passed, but i feel your warmth still.

on days i am naive, i think you a blanket in this harsh winter. i dream of you, within my grasp, your hugs a promise of everlast.

on days i am angry, i think you Florida’s heat. The suffocating humidity leeching on my skin, infiltrating my lungs, an intruder in every inch of my being. except what i despise most is your absence- no, your willingness to be absent, your lack of intrusion.

on days i simply am, i do not think of you. i like to believe that i do not think of you. i only wish you well. i hope you are well. are you well?