in my hands

We sift through a collection
Of photographs
A lifetime of emotions

I know some of those
In the photos
Different hairs, furs
Different glasses, claws
Smiles, eyes

I can never decipher what they’ve
Journeyed through
Desertion, death, divorce
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps

Then there’s this one
You as a baby
Lines as eyes
Did the camera flash?
Were you just trying to
Protect yourself?

It’s placed inside a note
Announcing your arrival
Written in decorative
Embossed soft aqua
Hidden inside a yellowed
Bone-dry envelope

“Here,” you give them to me
The envelope
The note
The photo
And I realize

I’m holding a life
A beginning of a life
In my hands
In my hands

I’m holding a person
A beginning of a person
In my hands
In my hands

I’m holding an ocean of tears
But the clouds
Pregnant with fears and possibilities
Are upon me
Upon us

I’m holding a journey
A beginning of a journey
In my hands
In my hands


obligatory lovey-dovey post

Here’s how I know he loves me:

He cooked the food of my people.


And excelled at it.


This vegan lamb meat Rendang was especially tasty.

More pictures on my Flickr Food set.

the pilot

If I could unburn that bridge. If I could undo it. If I could, I would, but there are forces stronger than both of us.

Or maybe I was just being lazy, maybe I was just being afraid.

Now with all this talk about airplanes, I wish I could reach out to you without worrying that I would hurt you. I wish I could ask you what your thoughts were – you were always so full of opinions, so opinionated, that was what I liked and ultimately hated about you.

I remember the Sunset Steps, the Chinatown, the Indian Restaurant in the Castro, the Castro Fair, the Castro Theater. I don’t think I can ever set foot in the Castro ever again without risking bumping into you, without worrying that I’ll hurt both of us.

I cannot say how sorry I am. All I can do is tell you that I am sorry and repeat those three words, all strung up together. They started from making sense to no longer having meaning.

Every goddamn piece of news. Every goddamn piece of editorial written by pilots. Every flight lingo. ACARS this and Transponders that.

Every time I see the L Line. Every time I pass by Embarcadero. Every time someone mentions The Castro.

I remember your house. Your house. Your house. That bedroom where we made love, that bathroom where I cleaned my face off my makeup, that kitchen where we both cooked for each other, that lonely dining room, those beautiful bird and flower pictures that your mother made.

That sofa where we cuddled and cried as we watched those stupid Thai commercials.

And remember that British sit com of that old gay couple? Remember when you asked me if we would be like that one day? Still bickering but still very much in love with each other? What did I say? What was my reply? Did I give you hope? Did I kiss you?

Do you still keep the peacock figurine that you gave me? You sneaky little sweetheart. You knew I was eyeing that peacock figurine in Chinatown. You sneaky little sweetheart.

I wonder where you are. I wonder if you’ve moved on.


Post somewhat inspired by this prompt.

out west

I’ve seen this part of the City of Angels before, but only in movies.

Sunday. Blinding afternoon sunshine. Heat that disappears with the breeze under the shadows of trees, buildings. An ostentatious building called the Pacific Design Center. Three big bean sculptures in a park in front of it. Boys playing basketball.

“I think everyone here lives at the gym,” I mutter as I look outside the window of his Passat. Safe inside the cage. He agrees.

“Please don’t climb the art” the sign says about the beans. I argue that it’s not art. They’re sculptures. Calling them art is presumptuous. Who decides what is art and what isn’t? He shakes his head. I can’t argue. I can’t make arguments. He called me ridiculous when I told him he should stop smoking pot.

We enter an establishment. Young waiters. Defined bodies in tight red shirts. “The Abbey”. I’m not going in. “It’s just a tour,” he says. I give in. I walk in. Young Asians staring daggers at me. I’d like to say, “Come now, boys. Don’t be jealous. I’m not half as pretty as you are.” Young Asians staring daggers at me. Spiked jet black hair. Chinese? Japanese? Korean? I can’t tell. I look the other way. Too fast. Too soon. I should get shitfaced. But not at this place. Where are the monks? There are two boys in lycra swimsuits by the bar. Where are the monks? Are they the monks?

Back on the streets. Two muscular gods holding hands. One in a black shirt with Gucci logo and other words splattered on it in white. The other, taller one, six foot five, in white shirt, his wrist as thick as my neck. Veins bulging, as though screaming from all the testosterone, all the hours spent at the gym, all the lifted weights. I can’t look. I look the other way. At a bird, a table, a tree, a car, anything. It’s all about the pecs. And the tight t-shirt. I need to get shitfaced.

A donut shop is opening in January 2014, disappointing, what I wouldn’t give for sugar. A cakery has four decorative cakes in their display, all of which look fucked. “But they look good on television,” he says. I agree. I can’t argue with that. 

He’s wearing Adventure Time shirt. “Puncha Yo Buns” with Finn’s head on it. I bought him that shirt. He’s reaping the benefits. I bought him that shirt.

One boy, two boys, three, four, eight, I’ve lost count, smile at him. He likes the attention. My false sense of security falters. The ultimate test. There’s a zit on my jawline. Big, fat, white zit. Big, fat, white. He offered to take it out earlier in the day. I refused. Afraid it’d hurt too much. I can feel it throbbing. I haven’t had anything throbbing in me for days. Big, fat, white. I need sugar. I need to get shitfaced.

“You’ve been missing a lot,” he says, coming out of a raw eatery, checking its menu. I stand by the road, by a parking meter. Three boys sitting outside. I don’t say a word. Why are there so many fag hags? 

I avert my eyes every time someone looks at me, smiles at me. Should I flirt back? Can I? Just smile sheepishly. Hide behind the glasses. Hide behind these dirty lenses. I can’t see a thing. The sun is blinding. I’m glad I slathered sunscreen on my skin.

More boys. More men. Sidelined. Sidedished. Sideshowed. A guy points at his “Puncha Yo Buns” shirt. The guy says, “Oh hey, Adventure Time!” and disappears around the corner. The guy is tubby and he’s wearing skinny jeans. I want to say, “Oh, honey, it doesn’t work that way. See, wearing something that’s labelled ‘skinny’ doesn’t make you skinny.”

Why am I judgmental? Why am I offensive? Why am I bitter? Can’t you guess?

A thrift store. I found an XS sweater. Take off my black hooded jacket, reveal my low cut shirt. A young Latino comes in and smiles at me. I look the other way. I’m with someone else. The sweater doesn’t fit me. I’m fat. I’m wearing skinny jeans.

We enter “Gold Coast”. Oh, this is cozy. Dark film screens the windows, censoring half of the sunlight, dark wooden parquet floors beneath us don’t creak, or perhaps they do but I can’t hear it because people inside are talking, smiling, being friendly. Oh, this is lovely. A mutual friend greets us. How relieving it is to see him, to see someone I know in this beautiful world. I feel like fish out of water, a mutt in a dog show, a donkey in a horse race. Hee haw. I need to get shitfaced.

A handsome Ginger by the front door smiles at me as I enter. I avert my eyes yet again. Unsure of the smile. Really? For me? I stand where I can see him, where we can see each other. We see each other. I’m with someone else, sorry, someone who buys me Coke (in all fairness, I ask for Coke), I want to say, someone who says (jokingly) that it is apparently possible to have even less fun visiting West Hollywood with me than visiting The Castro with his ex.

Feels like being punched in the gut. Puncha Yo Buns.

I sip my Coke. Is this Diet? A little Christmas tree is blocking the Ginger. I want to burn it.

It’s getting colder in West Hollywood.

“You have to remember that I choose you. None of those boys are as beautiful as you,” he says as we walk back to his Passat. “I think it’s good that you don’t know how beautiful you are. I’d rather keep reminding you that you’re pretty than telling you you’re not all that.”

I want to smile, I want to believe, but I’m tired and somewhat defeated. I have a big, fat, white zit on my jawline. I can’t argue. You like the attention, I want to say. But everyone likes attention.

We come home and sleep until ten pm.

on relationships

Relationships are:

All the adjustments, all the quirks, idiosyncrasies, ticks, his loud music, your silent treatments and sarcasm (which can be translated into passive-aggressive by some people, the nerve of some fucking people, and this fucking gets you every time, this Western attitude, this Western belief of classifying, lumping, labeling things and reducing it into a psychological issue, something that must be treated, while you simply call it your Asian heritage), him not taking seriously of your trivial issues of your zits, your ass, your classmates, him wanting you to be free of inks and punctures and you thinking of getting your ears pierced.

You’re complicated enough when you’re alone, so many times you don’t know where you are, or where you belong, then you put another person in your life, and you realize that he is not a cat nor a dog nor a goldfish not even a cactus (why can’t he just be a cactus? some days you whine, surely a plant will be so much easier to maintain), and you stare and stare at your phone or your laptop’s monitor for that buzz of the app or the flash of that software you both use to communicate with each other but you bargain to be the first one, because, you think, you love him dearly and you are afraid that he doesn’t love you the way you do although he says it and some days you know he means it, but you’re afraid you’re going to go and do it go and do it go and do what you know but you don’t know because he’s so beautiful and you long for his touch, but your phone never buzzes, the chat software never pops up, and you question why you’re doing this to yourself, waiting, calculating, wondering if it’s possible to go back to that time when you first met when the sparks flew and the horrible restaurant didn’t stop you from kissing him or putting your hand on his thigh and his knee and caressing them.

After all, it concerns not only your heart, but also your head, and your whole body to be exact, and when it hurts your heart, it hurts your head, and your whole body, every organ, every limb, every appendage reacts to the pain and you, not knowing what else to do, shove things up your fucking mouth, cinnamon bun after cinnamon bun after cinnamon bun and wasn’t he the one who told you to stash spaghetti or mac and cheese just in case you want some hot food and break out of your hermetic confinement of tomato and carrot smoothie and no carb diet because you’re so proud of your chiseled abs that you’ve been working on for so long and yet he says he likes chunky boys so you think comfort eating will please him and therefore please you, and at the same time, you run, you dance, you burn sweat, you gain calluses on your soles, you run movies in the background on loop, so you won’t have to think, but you still think of your failed relationships, this boy did this that boy did that, and you think you may have a chance with this one because, again, because you love him, but sometimes it hurts and you don’t want to die and you can’t cry all you can do is suspend yourself in food limbo where sugar and honey try to balance the bitterness.

For some people, for some very lucky people, who happen to click after the first date, and live rather peacefully together, reaching some kind of a pact, a treaty, a negotiation, a truce, a cease fire, and yet for some, yet for some still, it is a dream, a pipe dream, or even a nightmare that they secretly wish could still happen to them, so they could tell themselves they’ve done it, they’ve tried, they’ve gone and done it, and maybe they’ll do it again, maybe they won’t, and it’s all fair because they’ll have accomplished it, but still, it is beautiful.

Worth It
Because even if he’s more demanding than a cat a dog a goldfish or a cactus, even if he doesn’t get your drama, even if he apologizes by composing haiku after haiku, even if you sometimes question yourself, your love, your sanity, you get his smile, his face, his eyes, his scent, all these things that greet you that moment you wake up and grapple on the walls of consciousness and find him and you in your bed, an island surrounded by his ukulele, his laptop, your jewelry, your laptop, his shoes, your shoes, happiness and bliss are all you feel and the concept of sadness is as alien as that star you can’t see even when you try to get a peek through the most powerful telescope, it’s still there, but its lights cannot reach you, and you know that in that moment, without words, all is not lost, all is not forgotten, yet all is forgiven.

everyday haiku: i’m loving you now

I’m loving you now
but maybe I haven’t seen
parts of you I’ll hate

Red Sausalito Rose

“Everyday Haiku” is updated on random (hopefully more frequent than hardly ever) basis. For the sake of these posts, the definition of haiku is a form of poetry that has three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second one has seven, and the third one has five.

everyday haiku: there’s that look again

there’s that look again
and the eyes, the lips, the smile
joy runs down my cheeks

“Everyday Haiku” is updated on random (hopefully more frequent than hardly ever) basis. For the sake of these posts, the definition of haiku is a form of poetry that has three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second one has seven, and the third one has five.