Tag Archives: poetry

poem on a whim: remembering my tween poetry

25 Aug

back in junior high, i wrote lots of poems
enough to make my future self – yours truly- weep.
i tried so hard back then to be
thoughtful and thought-provoking
but in hindsight it came out pretentious
and syrupy sweet.

but really, high school freshman year
takes the cake in the department of embarrassment
as i presented to my friends a collection of poems called:

me and my purple clouds

if i had known of jimi hendrix’s purple haze at the time, okay makes sense
like i was making some rad reference

but i never knew about the song at all
which made it all the more tragic.


poetry reading on a cold january night

14 Jan

On a peaceful Sunday morning, I was relaxing at my favorite independent cafe, drinking a cup of mocha and reading a few pages of Your Republic is Calling You and Sputnik Sweetheart. A typical bohemian moment. I glanced at the counter and noticed a piece of paper attached to the register. Poetry Reading were the only words I could decipher from where I sat. On closer examination, the flyer goes on to inform me that it’s held every second Sunday of the month, and that day happened to be tonight.

I inquired the cashier more about the event. He told me it began recently and while there was not a lot of people reading, a good number of people came out to support it.

I hesitated. Yes, I used to have attended a few poetry readings and read some of mine. Even though the cafe was nearby, I felt bothered by the idea of driving back and spending more money. Nevertheless I made a mental note in case I did plan on going.


I arrived to see the cafe was packed with customers there to meet with friends and have their own bohemian moments. In the back, a group of people huddled where there was a tiny stage, enough room to support the loudspeaker, a microphone, and a chair. The MC was playing a few tunes from his guitar. I bought myself a two-dollar macaron and joined the group.

I didn’t want to perform for a few reasons.

(1) I would spend most of the time preoccupied at the thought of me reading instead of what the poets are reading.
(2) I didn’t have any poems I have that are ready to be read. Last-minute-poem? No thank you.
(3) I wanted to first observe the scene of how this monthly event plays out. Be the observer.

Some of the poets there were clutching onto pieces of paper and others their smartphones. The MC had already stopped playing his guitar; he was now holding a pad of paper. From there, he called out the name, the poet came up and performed, and this went on for an hour.

Despite the difficult of hearing due to the barista shouting orders, the chatter from the other side of the cafe, and some of the poets speaking softly, there were some memorable poets at the event.

A girl shared a poem about an aspiring standup comedian she was seeing. A guy rambled about a hard-to-follow story involving the Red Cross, but got booted off for dropping the f-bomb. Another guy did a spoken word piece about his Chinese-American identity, which I found to be moving and powerful.

When the event concluded, I was glad to have driven on a cold January night to see people brave enough to share their words not in status messages and tweets to their friends and fans, but to a company of strangers, face-to-face. While we listeners had our own aesthetics, we soaked in the moment of where the poet and his work were one.

Now that’s what I call instant bohemian gratification (feat. snapping fingers).