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Mar 2018 · 537
shots fired
Alyssa Yu Mar 2018
this is the american dream:
someone walks into the store to ask about buying a gun,
and the response is
automatic.
this is the american dream:
a bullet is fired through another human being in the name of patriotism,
and it is called an honorable discharge.
this is the american dream:
they ignore empty shells of bullets and bodies and
musk it
with baseball and the scent of apple pie.
to be honest, i'm really
******. toll
the bells for another memorial service
because once again, in the face of brutality,
the country continues to recoil instead of kick back,
and now more families are huddling together to watch
another bury all
the warm bodies of their children,
trying to find an explanation
but drawing a blank.
meanwhile, the rest of the population wakes in mourning,
drinks bitter news and coffee hot off the presses,
rifles through magazines loaded with shots
of more people needlessly killed,
and watches politicians chat about dead bodies like the latest fashion trend,
ads for casual tees
televised just in time for the spring season.
but begging the government to discuss change is starting to feel like
scraping the bottom of the barrel of a gun, and there is only empty ringing in their chambers,
echoes of thoughts and prayers and gunshots
while they mourn loudly about how these times have been trying
to cover up the fact that they aren’t;
that their complicity,
so vile, lent
itself to triggering the current mess.
and their solution is more surveillance, stronger security-
or in other words, more people with guns and also authority.
they still plead the 2nd, but that’s
bull; it’s in a weapon
that originally sanctioned slavery
so instead, ask them why the ones killed are always exercising their right to bare arms.

no, guns don’t **** people.
but people with guns
**** people.
and it’s not like guns are being used by anything else.
Oct 2017 · 415
emergence, see?
Alyssa Yu Oct 2017
my body is a crime scene with your fingerprints on everything

bruised knuckles
from punching the wall too many times
that your gentle lips kissed and then said the ugly tiling deserved it

****** nails
from scratching carefully hidden places
that you bandaged with cartoon characters and a lollipop because i was brave for surviving so much pain

blistered feet
from years of running away from self-hatred
that finally healed when you gathered me in your arms and swore to carry me

torn vocal chords
from swallowing words no one was ever interested in
that you trained to whisper and sing and yell, laughing when i lost all sense of volume control

a cracked heart
fragilely held together with caution tape
that you unraveled and stitched up

the violence i have survived is a messy house to clean
but the truth is i was both victim and culprit
while you were just the rescue team
Sep 2017 · 540
heel
Alyssa Yu Sep 2017
from birth, he is instilled with a fear of weakness.
his mother does everything she can to make him stronger, but never teaches him that he is worth more than the weight of his muscles and the force behind his fist.

he remembers drowning, pain and terror rushing through every nerve in his body, wishing she would let go of his foot so he could just dissolve instead...
then there is light, or as much light as reaches the underworld, and the face of one who did not believe in him enough to let him build his own strength.
you are immortal now, she breathes with an air of the miraculous in her voice,
you cannot die by any type of injury.
well, except one, right here on your heel.

but then, he turns to look at her, doesn’t that mean i am not immortal at all?

he still touches the spot sometimes, at night, feeling an emptiness there that both reassures and terrifies him.
the rest of the time, he wears thick socks and like everyone else, ignores the thought of his mortality.

on his ninth birthday, he is disguised and sent away to spends his days among another’s daughters.
he grows up in love,
and surrounded by compassion, it is there that he learns how to be a real warrior, simultaneously gentle and fierce.
but they come for him in the night, throwing words in his face about prophecies and oracles that go over his head.
it is his destiny to win, they tell him, and he must fulfill it.
duty takes away his choice.

so he fights their battles but shoots the sea to make tidal waves that hide the fact he keeps deliberately missing, lacking the hatred needed to ****.
the first time he hurts someone, he cannot sleep for days, only feeling better when the man comes back and allows him to repair the injury.

in combat, they give him fifty ships to command
but then take his love,
and when he cries in his tent and refuses to leave, they are ashamed of him.
it is only when his best friend is murdered that the fire they wanted from him ignites, consuming his vision in red.
if they seek violence, he yells, that is what they shall have .
once he emerges in full gear, everyone trembles, picturing his anger,
but cannot see that it is loyalty and loss which burn even stronger in him,
more destructively powerful than their petty reasons for starting this war.
years later, when they retell the story of his victory, everyone swears he was completely untouchable

she finds him in the garden when it is all over, watching the flaming chariot just barely climbing over the horizon.
covered in dried blood but no wounds, his body is tense and unmoving,
but when she reaches out to touch him, he flinches and pushes her away.
he doesn’t need her help, he says through grit teeth, he is strong enough to handle it alone,
and to his surprise, she laughs.
you are too young and small to consider yourself atlas, and even that titan had help from heroes. you have lost much, which will not be forgotten quickly or easily. but strength can only be found in facing our weakness and, sometimes, allowing others to carry our burden. if you will let me, i should like to bear yours.

in the silence that follows, she watches the reflection of sunrise in his eyes,
and as the tightness and shadows of his face fall away, she can begin to see through to the child he once was, soft and joyful and a little bit scared.
laying his head in her lap, she uses her hair to wipe the tears that form
and slowly, in the silence under white flags, achilles heals
I tried in incorporate themes of toxic masculinity, but my apologies if it came across badly
Alyssa Yu Sep 2017
one thing that used to disappoint me was that all of the superheroes and book characters i admired had eyes blue as the ocean, or emerald green, even grey like a thunderstorm, but never brown like mine or yours. brown was plain, common, nothing special.
well, that is someone else's loss if they refuse to see how truly beautiful you are, and i will selfishly stare into your eyes forever

for they are the color of espresso with a splash of milk, and you make my heart race like a double shot
i feel like making lists and conquering the world if it means i can keep waking up to the smell of you in the morning

they are the color of the mnms i set apart when i was younger because i thought they had more chocolate
and even if it wasn't true, the thought was sweet enough to make me happy

they are the color of kindling and i am burning to ashes then rising like a phoenix, ready to set myself on fire again and again just to feel your warmth

they are the color of baked bread and i've been starving for a love like yours to sustain me

they are the color of fresh soil and i want to bury myself so i can love you until i die and then turn my body into a garden of your favorite flowers

they are the color of a knot in the trunk of a sequoia tree, and i am imperfect but growing and even though my love for you does not come without mistakes, it is still the largest thing on this planet
Jul 2017 · 332
keloid
Alyssa Yu Jul 2017
they tell me the raised marks on my skin are an overgrowth of scar tissue
and i wonder why both my mind and my body will try so aggressively to cover up a past wound that it just becomes another
Jun 2017 · 511
i, ms. yu
Alyssa Yu Jun 2017
i cannot say 'i miss you' because it's not true.
i miss school dances, excessively fancy dresses, vanilla coke.
i miss saturday morning cartoons and sugary cereal.
i miss playing pretend house and pretend office job, when adulthood seemed as mystical as santa claus.

no, i don't miss you;
i am incomplete without you.
there is something inside me that doesn't fit quite right:
a pit, a cavity, a depression,
that i've tried to fill with fantasy books and sad movies and too much brain space dedicated to song lyrics.
but you are the final piece, the hand that mine fits perfectly into
and when you're gone, i go from being whole to hole.

i don't miss you;
i am completely lost without you.
my mind drifts, wanders somewhere beyond my reach;
normally you are my compass,
my gps,
my worn out map in the glove box,
the back of my hand mapped against the stars.
no matter where or when we are,
you are the only thing that can guide me home.
but now i am sinking at sea with a cloudy sky and no steering wheel.

i don't miss you;
i am broken without you.
some of it is that you make me the full person i can be
instead of the shell i inhabit,
but the larger reason is that i don't see the point in trying to live without you here,
and i don't want to.
it's fitting that we describe it as being apart-
for you are a part of me,
and it's one that i can't survive very long without.

i cannot say 'i miss you' because without you,
there is no i to begin with.
next level poetry: using my name as a pun
Jun 2017 · 400
brittle
Alyssa Yu Jun 2017
i have heard people compare love to sand castles
beautifully temporary
eroding slowly then all at once into the unforgiving sea of reality

but you were a lightning strike
charging headfirst into me in hopes of finding balance
and a way to stay grounded
you kissed me and i burned-
the scattered fragments of me rushing back into each other
melting then cooling, a temper quicker than my own

now i am sea glass, smoothed down to crystal clarity
impure particulate grit with clenched jaw, teeth grit
fighting weather i can stand or whether i cannot

i tell you this to explain that i will not fade away or dissolve
my heart permanently branded with the imprint of your hand
my chin held high in testament to the truth that your fire can create

but if i am dropped, it will be impossible to pick up the pieces
Jun 2017 · 265
almost
Alyssa Yu Jun 2017
his name sounds like almost
and i can’t help but imagine sometimes what would have happened if we had met earlier,
before i knew what i needed

it feels like he is a step i skipped
and even though i reached my destination,
i still wander back and wonder i missed
what lovely vista points i never got to see

if people were buildings, he would be a cabin in the woods
not a home, but a place to run and escape to
a warm fireplace smile with happy memories perched on the mantle
a comfortable silence to rest in

but relationships are not vacation houses
and we are not right for each other no matter how many times i ask what if.

his name sounds like another time, another place, another life
but not this one
Jun 2017 · 301
headroom
Alyssa Yu Jun 2017
my mind is a mess that i refuse to clean because it is the only way i know where everything is
unfinished thoughts piled on a chair to be dealt with neve–“later”
ugly memories shoved to the back of the closet in an attempt to pretend they don’t exist
half-baked ideas scattered on the desk, waiting to be made
random items pinned to the wall that will soon either connect together or be thrown out
and pizza everywhere
Jun 2017 · 232
no winn(t)er
Alyssa Yu Jun 2017
if relationships were seasons, they'd call us autumn
because every moment, I'm falling behind or you're leaving
either way, it is a relentless race to bleak and barren ending
Jun 2017 · 229
phantom pain
Alyssa Yu Jun 2017
you miss me in the way someone might miss their arm
but I miss you in the way they'd miss their liver
and mine is in already bad shape; despite the name, I still feel like dying
Jun 2017 · 282
an unfinished love story:
Alyssa Yu Jun 2017
the tortoise and the hare - but there is no race, only life

the hare lives in the fast lane
smart, witty, successful
knows only how to travel at top speed
hopping from great opportunity to greater opportunity
but still wants to be with the tortoise so it runs back now and then

the tortoise moves too slowly
hides in its shell too much
takes too long to understand things
and is not made for a world that demands speed and competition and winning
it loves the hare, but because of that, will not stop it from dashing to the spotlight it was meant to be in

so tell me how to resolve this conflict
because the hare cannot keep moving backwards, and the tortoise cannot keep watching it leave
Jun 2016 · 539
cliche(?)
Alyssa Yu Jun 2016
i. you are one in 7.4 billion.
ii. if life handed me lemons, i would make you lemon bars instead.
iii. i used to think you would be the only thing I'd see in a crowded room, but you were the one who pointed out the way the light burst through the window and the tiny pieces that kept the building from falling apart.
iv. you are not the silver lining but the cloud, the rain that reminds the flowers to grow."
v. maybe we were a match made in heaven. or maybe we were already ignited, a wildfire burning our names across the sky.
vi. maybe lightning can't strike the same place twice, but your touch keeps telling me that static electricity can.
vii. they said finding someone like you was looking for a needle in a haystack, but i used a magnet instead.
viii. everything happens for a reason, but sometimes that reason doesn't have to be profound. sometimes it's just having someone to eat cereal and watch cartoons with on a lazy saturday morning.
ix. i didn't fall for you. i scaled the cliffside to find where you were painting the stars.
x. love isn't blind; it is seeing someone else clearly for the first time.
xi. when i first met you, my heart didn't skip a beat. it pounded on my ribs like a boxer, spelling over and over, "this is the one. this is the one."
May 2016 · 3.4k
all groan up
Alyssa Yu May 2016
breathe.
the clock slowly ticks down to end my twenty first year.
breathe.
i think i was expecting something a little more dramatic. loud music, flashing lights. at the very least a few friends beside me and a strong drink in hand.
breathe.
but maybe i don't need so much excitement anyway; i've had two full decades of it and it's been enough for a lifetime.
breathe.
in fact, i spent most of those years hoping that would be my entire lifetime,
so many times thinking i would die before this day
so many times desperately wishing i would die before this day.
breathe.
so maybe tonight's spectacle will just be the first breath i take to begin the rest of my life.
maybe it will be the fact that i choose to breathe at all.

...

breathe.
i am still here.
breathe.
i know now that wanting to die doesn't mean you hate life. and loving life doesn't mean you have to be scared of dying.

breathe.
i must keep reminding myself again and again that i am loved despite the fact that i'm alone on the couch with nothing but a blanket for company.
breathe.
the smiles of my friends flash before me one by one, loosening the knot in my chest.
breathe.
i know the planet is beautiful, but god, it cannot compare to the sound of my friends laughing, as if their joy were weightless. carefully, i stitch pieces of it into a patchwork umbrella for the next rainy day.
breathe.
i have looked love in the face and i am slowly thawing.

breathe.
i see again every time i fell on my face, every time i pushed someone else down trying to get up, every clenched fist and tightened jaw.
breathe.
i have had to fight too hard to get here. but i guess that really means i learned how to take punches and maybe throw one back every so often.
breathe.
my knuckles are constantly bruised and my skin scars too easily. i am not allowed to forget the hell i've dug my way out of, and i am thankful. it makes the sun feel a little warmer every morning.

breathe.
lately i've been speaking a little too quickly, tripping over words like the world's clumsiest track runner. there is too much going on in my head to keep up with my mouth.
breathe.
and is my voice too loud because people are complaining about how i can't whisper, also everyone else needs to talk so should i just stop now...
breathe.
...no, this is still a hundred times better than when i never spoke at all.

breathe.
i am learning how to gently fall asleep in an empty bed
breathe.
more importantly, i am learning not to call the bed empty when i'm already in it.

breathe.
it seems i have reached the age when my grade school self thought i'd be an adult with everything figured out. she is yet another person i have disappointed.
breathe.
still, i am slowly realizing that no one else really knows what they're doing either. and that's okay.
twenty one thoughts for twenty one years
Apr 2016 · 629
half-empty
Alyssa Yu Apr 2016
you'd think loneliness would feel empty
but it is actually an immovable deadweight that lives right atop my sternum
crushing me into the bed until the numbness creeps into my torso.
it paralyzes my limbs,
shrinking my ribcage until my imprisoned heart isn't strong enough to keep time with the clock anymore

it is violent stillness
my fingers clutching my throat and
wanting to scream so loudly that my timid vocal chords,
so accustomed to mumbling and trying not to be heard,
simply can't accommodate the request
the desperation doesn't rip through my chest like sobs
but silently leaks out the corner of my eye

it is staring at the ceiling and dozing off and waking up and immediately closing my eyes again because i am so tired of remembering that i'm alone

and it is cold, so cold
shivering under three blankets
curling into myself and waiting for the day i am finally strong enough to turn off the vacancy sign on my front door
Mar 2016 · 671
*insert clever title here*
Alyssa Yu Mar 2016
i am clay mold shapeshifter, sand through your outstretched fingers
and i can be pretty much anything you want
be happy
be calm
be helpful
just don't ask me if i can belong
it hits a little too close to the home i haven't been able to find yet

lately i've been feeling a bit out of place no matter where i turn
a cheap puzzle piece not sanded down quite right
or just forcing itself into things i was never made for

or maybe the truth is that i don't fit in because i have no shape at all
i have become spineless pushover 'just have a ******* opinion for once' doormat under your feet
and i wake up from dreams of a world very similar to this one
where the only difference is that the people there look me in the eyes

but can't you see that the human race is my heartbeat
this fist in my chest is not strong enough on its own
and if it were pumping only for me
it would've stopped a long time ago
[removed during editing]
"then again, i'm not even sure if that's the right analogy
since it assumes there will be somewhere i fit in
maybe i'm much more like a mad libs page
trying to fill in the lines with fragments of all the people i want to be
but instead ending up with a patched-up, scotch taped personality
that makes no sense"
Mar 2016 · 442
insufficient
Alyssa Yu Mar 2016
alas, what a curse
to be born with the need to give away every piece of my cracked heart
yet even as a whole,
it is too small to move anyone else's.
Feb 2016 · 476
hollow
Alyssa Yu Feb 2016
if they say the more love you give away,
the more you get back
then why do i feel like i've been wringing myself dry
trying to fill up your sponge heart

and you accept each small drop with proper manners
a polite smile, a cordial thank you
but it isn't until i am too empty to stand
that you finally turn back to see how little of me is left
and realize i might need some strength of my own too

it's not like the love isn't there;
sometimes i think i can see the outline of bruises on your chest
because you seem to be all heart with no understanding of how to give it away

then again, i always had this self-destructive need to throw everything i have at anyone who gives me the time of day
so is this just my fault again?
for trying too hard to win you over
i'm sorry, it's only because i feel like i keep losing
to the computer screen
to new ideas for inventions
to more interesting friends
to convenience

and it kills me a little more every time you walk away
knowing the next time i'll see you is when it's practical and can be pencilled into your tetris block schedule

i don't know how much longer i can do this
and i would probably cry more about it but i don't have any energy left
Dec 2015 · 1.0k
scar tissue
Alyssa Yu Dec 2015
a brief confession:
until now,
i have written my best friend into a storybook heroine, untouchable
and our friendship one of puzzle pieces falling in place perfectly
i love her beyond words
and love makes you romanticize everything
but i want to show the truth
because incredibly, it is even more brilliant

sure, we have the happy story of meeting in summer camp, bonding over crafts and a shared love of books
and in most ways, what we have is simple and pure and obvious
but in all honesty, our true bond was not born in beauty or the sunlight
it was born ******, fighting, and dangling by its umbilical cord over a bottomless abyss

see, we were first stitched together in battle
opposite sides of a wound that drained us of tears and dark poetry
emptying pens stolen from a slate-eyed boy whose skin never seemed to be fully closed
we were surgery in a brightly lit, white-walled classroom
taking turns as his dialysis machine
until one day, we finally looked up
and realized he was stealing all our oxygen

on the homefront we were dissection victims,
perfectly preserved insides laid out for the world to see
so that no one would think to look for the secrets hidden beneath our sharp tongues
we were ***** donor and receptor,
and she gave me bone-marrow strength
in return for my rib-cage to cradle her overworked heart
both of us breathing heavily from the same pair of tired lungs

we were bandages on each other's wrists,
painfully tight tourniquets to keep our souls from leaking out with the blood
we were interlocked fingers between our deathbeds
and silence on either end of the telephone
too afraid to speak the truth aloud
but even more afraid of hanging up
instead letting our quietness drown out the silence

other times, we were barely contained sobs in a 2am voicemail

we were long periods of no contact
passive-aggressive silence
bottled anger that was too heavy to carry for long
over reasons we no longer remember

yes,
our connection was held together by bruised knuckles, scarred skin
but though it was often ugly and rough and messy
it also saved my life
Alyssa Yu Oct 2015
you weren't really supposed to become such a big part of my life
the girl i was a year ago would've scoffed at the idea of spending all my time with one person
yet here I am, blinking away sleep in your bed that feels more like home than mine
and every moment i spend with you is slowly proving wrong everything i once thought about love
i used to scribble notes and doodle hearts and sing dramatically as if it were all a dazzling fairytale, a dream come true, the end
and then somewhere along the way, i dismissed it for the same reason
but i am learning that it's a little more complicated than that

because i love how i can still get mad at you
but never for too long because i can't stand the way your eyes dim when you're unhappy
how we can argue for days about the right way to wash dishes but not feel jealous about hanging out with other people

i love how your eyes change colors as often as the weather
from spring green to earthy brown to a forest blend of the two
how i swoon when you wear that blue tie with your three-piece suit
but also when you throw on a dark v-neck and jeans

i love how we can switch from mindlessly watching cartoons to spending too many frustrated hours on the crossword in the daily newspaper
how we really really can't dance but still do it anyway
and how dinner together might mean a three-course meal or a bowl of cereal, but i savor it either way

i love how you know me better than anyone else
before we met, i was a perfectly sculpted mask
weaving stories like an open book so that no one bothered to look closer
but you found the invisible ink on the pages
reading meaning in places i didn't even know were hidden
then learning how to unravel the chaos of my thoughts
and i still remember the first time i let my guard down
the night i accidentally spoke the words aloud:
"there are too many voices in my head."
nothing felt safer than hearing you whisper back,  "i know."

i love how you have seen me at my worst and somehow continue looking at me with stars in your eyes
how you hold me without saying anything while i try not to cry (and fail miserably)
how you laugh so hard when i trip that you end up running into a pole
how we exchange embarrassing stories almost like a competition
and now i know that all the times i kept repeating i'm fine
i'd just been waiting for someone like you to say,
"no, you're not, and that's okay"

i rarely say it, but i love how you love
how deeply you are capable of feeling and how hard you try
i've always tried to watch out for everyone but often at the cost of intensity
while you care about things more strongly than i can even understand

i'll admit that the one thing i don't love
is how i get lonely too easily now
and it probably isn't healthy that i need you so much
but no one ever said this had to be good for me

maybe love only breaks us so we are stronger when it finally pieces us back together
and i love you through it all
despite it all
because of it all
with or without it all
Alyssa Yu Sep 2015
i. lately there's been this tight feeling in my lungs like i'm drowning
thoughts of homework, meetings, and most of all, crippling inadequacy
filling up my chest like seawater
but within these metaphorical thunderstorms, you have been the hurricane's eye

ii. there are no right words to convey the utter serenity of seeing the sun light up your face each morning
and nothing feels safer than when i am curled up against you
our bodies intertwining as we shake with quiet laughter

iii. i know i haven't been the easiest person to love
and you've grown a lot these past few weeks, trying to keep me sane
or maybe it's just that you finally get the chance to play protector in the midst of my daily mental breakdowns
either way, you keep proving that you are much too good for me

iv. i'm sorry this is also a preemptive apology
as much as i hate to admit it, i'm scared it's only going to get worse
but i promise i'm really trying

v. i love you so much. my brain isn't creative enough to shroud it in pretty words and nonsensical analogies right now, but i hope you get the idea.
Aug 2015 · 849
colors of the wind
Alyssa Yu Aug 2015
I'm writing this to you at the end of our first day, my legs screaming obscenities at me after all the so-called adventure
And I could tell you about how the dirt and sharp rocks wore out the soles of my feet
How we hiked for six hours off the path and I almost started crying by the fourth
How the trail we 'created' felt like descending into an abyss and crawling back out again
How the wind battered us with sand and the ocean burned our scratched calves

But baby, you should've seen the sky
The way it moved and swelled and changed
First periwinkle fading into a white horizon and hitting the sapphire sea
Then the setting sun that bathed canyons in gold and heat
Until the last rays blended into a clash of purple, pink, and orange

And when the day came to a close, the heavens opened like you wouldn't believe
The night was a pitch-black canvas, torn open by meteors that fell forever in a few seconds
While the stars pricked holes in the swirling shape of the Milky Way
Darling, I swear they danced for us
They twirled and waltzed and tangoed better than we ever could
And through all the splendor, the only thing I kept spending my shooting-star wishes on was you
Aug 2015 · 843
blue moon
Alyssa Yu Aug 2015
july is ticking away
and i feel a little overwhelmed
no, scratch that, i just feel lonely
maybe because it's the second full moon of the month but i have no one to watch it with
not to mention that the clouds chose today of all days to return
it seems like some crept into my brain too
...these swirling thoughts no longer make sense
i think i really need a drink
for the moon is not the only one feeling a little blue tonight
Jul 2015 · 653
freezerburn
Alyssa Yu Jul 2015
i have never known how to love halfway
split between the extremities of
gut-wrenching, soul-consuming, burn-the-world-down passion
and tired apathy
and i would either walk to the ends of the world for you
or not even to the end of the street

maybe that's why i hated goldilocks
for continually reminding me that i've never been 'just right' for anybody
a bowl of cold porridge, a chair three sizes too big
someone you settle for but never really want

maybe, you argue, i should learn to stretch myself more evenly
but i seem to have a problem of only seeing things in black and white
(more often than not, i land on black)

the problem is, i spend most of life in retreat
face hidden behind hair, hands pulled under sleeves, soundproof headphones
shuffling down sidewalks to a soundtrack of alternative music on full blast

but when i give my heart away,
it is not release
like gently unlocking a tabernacle to let the blood breathe
it is artpoetrywar
ribcage torn open, red hands, stains on the bathroom floor
clawing out the fire in my chest
just to hand them the universe on a burnt-out matchstick

i can count on one hand the people i love beyond a doubt
and it takes the same fingers to count how many of them deserve more than my ashy soul
still, my body aches for the other ghosts in my life i want to care more about
so i guess i'm finally learning what my math teacher meant when she said two halves make a hole
Alyssa Yu Jul 2015
If you were a storybook character
I would write you as the princess of a kingdom
centuries and lightyears away from this dull planet
finally living (all) the fairytales you once tried to escape to

If you were a storybook character
I would write you as a shimmering mermaid
following the call of (the) ocean and slipping through hands like water
far, far away from those who try to keep you anchored to the surface

If you were a storybook character
I would write you as a woodland faerie
planting sunflowers in every inch of the (world’s) surface
and surrounded by a myriad creatures
from soft bunnies to beasts that only quiet at the sound of your voice

If you were a storybook character
I would write you as (a) warrior
with a bow curved like your smile and arrows as sharp as your wit
eyes blazing, hair flying, feet shaking the earth
as you (stage) a revolution against everyone who has ever tried to **** your spirit

If you were a storybook character
I would write about how you talk like you never need oxygen
how your face somehow shows everything (and) nothing at all
how you quietly notice little things that people overlook
how (you) strive to always do good to others but never to the point of losing yourself
how you love so brilliantly the universe can’t contain it
how you dream big and live boldly because we both know you (are) meant for much more than what they tell you to be

And I know you try so hard to be courageous and good and a hell of a woman
but I just want to tell you that you already are.
(In) all the ways that matter, you are.

Sometimes I wish I really could write you into an epic narrative
a heroine in (its) age-old battle between good and evil,
so the strength and loyalty and bravery I see in you can finally live under the (spotlight) where it belongs

But the one reason I can’t bear to let you become a legend
is that my selfish heart still thinks the greatest thing you do is call me your best friend
Jul 2015 · 560
bright shadows
Alyssa Yu Jul 2015
it always saddened me how LA was the city of angels but no stars
and the only ones in vegas were around the heads of men with too much *****
even new york, home of countless celebrities, hid its constellations
because it seems the more light we try to produce, the more of it we lose

so i instead chose to fight and count against the night
while the heavens moved and i moved with it
wondering if i could outrun time
and stay in this canvas: pin-pricked, diamond-studded, backlit

but alas, dawn still threatens to swallow the sky
though i have only reached one hundred forty three so far
they said it was impossible, so i heard let's do it
come quickly and join me, for i am counting the stars
for the star in my life who shines brighter than the one we call Sol
Jun 2015 · 572
the L word
Alyssa Yu Jun 2015
last week, (i) spent almost every waking moment by your side,
yet my needy heart somehow still missed you terribly in the minutes and spaces in between.
the loneliness had started to find its way back again,
and i think maybe the fire in your soul was the one thing bright enough to burn it away.

or maybe that's not true
maybe it was (just) that you had started teaching me how to light my own matches,
beginning with the night you kissed my scars and read them like braille
and i was hopelessly drawn to the idea of outshining the universe,
since the last thing i ever (wanted) to do was weigh you down with all the ways i wasn't good enough

see, i used (to) feel irretrievably lost, laying awake every night wondering whether i was, or even could be, a good person
because we always (say) that life is short
but someone once reminded me that it is still the longest thing we will ever experience
and i am slowly realizing it might not be too late to become someone (i) don't regret seeing in the mirror every morning,
someone i don't mind you seeing.

this is also a brief apology for writing less lately
poetry was my medium for romanticizing reality
but it's getting harder and harder to create anything more beautiful than the (love) that's been glowing brighter in your eyes
and words can't seem to capture the way (you) smile like it's impossible to stop

i guess what i'm trying to say
is that you were always (too) good for me, miles ahead of the curve
but i would run beside you my whole life
if it meant that one day, i could finally be the kind of person you deserved
Alyssa Yu Apr 2015
∞ according to the order of operations,
(your name) belongs in parentheses since it is always the first thing i think about when i wake up
which works out, because it also looks just like the smile on my face the instant you walk in a room :)

∞ through all the ups and downs, all the positives and negatives of this fickle thing called love
|the light in your eyes| is the only absolute i'm sure of

∞ i can't calculate how you became an integral part of my life in such a small number of days
nor can i differentiate between the rising sun and your blinding smile
but every moment you're not here reminds me that i can't f(without you)
and i swear there's no limit to the distance i'd travel, whether it be three months or five thousand miles

∞ i get why they use an exclamation point in factorials now
because nothing makes me happier than counting down and multiplying the reasons I fall 4! you every 3! seconds, giving thanks 2! the stars that i somehow 1! my way into your heart

∞ so often, i have found myself divided by the fear of being loved and the fear of being alone
which is still only a fraction of the anxiety i feel when i think about the possibility of disappointing you,
but you are the better half of me,
and i can only hope to reciprocate the endless joy you've brought into my little world

∞ i've spent a lot of time stumped by the different branches of mathematics,
but you are the root of my confusion
for even though your legs stand firm and your arms are steadier than logs,
i can't figure out how your hand fits so gently in mine like perfect symme-tree

∞ i want to hold you so close they call it a sin
cos i love how your body curves around me
and how you never stop listening when my thoughts go on a tangent
and how you have acute, pardon my language, angle-side-side

∞ there are sum nights when i tally sheep instead of sleeping
because you've proven that 1 + 1 equals too much happiness for a heart to carry
but the only thing that doesn't quite add up is how six months can seem like no time at all
yet being with you makes it feel like infinity
Alyssa Yu Jan 2015
you are endless wordplay recorded over a blank coffeeshop soundtrack. your lips throw out pun after pun, but your throat hums to the ghost of a song you swore you didn't listen to.

you are smiles across the breakfast table, blinking too-little sleep from your too-bright eyes, talking too loudly about how you don't need rest when you can get drunk on life. i laugh quietly. the dark circles give you away, my dear.

you are long nights and warm blankets and repeating "we should go to bed" until it sounds like a joke. it is hard to fall asleep when the blood is singing in my veins and my dreams are coming true right in front of me.

you are soft corners and sharp edges, too strong to stand firm and too fragile to break. your footsteps falter and even your confidence has cracks, but i'll admit it's comforting to know that you're just as scared as i am sometimes.

you are fast-talking and over-explaining, and you never do anything halfheartedly so you are also lying-too-easily. but it's okay i never wanted the truth anyway, i hated how it dimmed the memories and haunted the empty space on my mattress. i like how that space is taken up by the curve of your body instead.

you are called a paradox, white wolf or black sheep, predator and prey at odds and at peace. and you are called downward-flowing, like the way i am falling faster and harder for you. then again, maybe i like metaphors too much. maybe your name is just a name. maybe it's the most beautiful sound i've ever heard.
but i call you love because you are the only reason i have any inkling of what it means.
Alyssa Yu Jan 2015
missing you comes in a hurricane
all-powerful and all at once
memories beating me down as i collapse, head tucked between my knees
and the silence is filled with dread rather than peace
because the eye of the cyclone only reminds me of the look in yours when you turned and slammed the door on your way out

missing you comes in thunderstorms
lightning flashes of anger
why was it my fault when you were the one who left me to drown, you knew that i hated crying for help but did you know i screamed for you that day, i begged you to come back, i begged you to stay, is that why you cannot stand to look at me
well *******
how dare you throw me a lifeline when you were just waiting to let go of the other end

missing you comes in tidal waves
ebbing and flowing less frequently
but the pain is still there, not when the sadness hits but when it leaves
where are you going, please come back
for the salt burns my skin and water chokes my lungs
but they are only things keeping me from drying up on this desert shore

missing you comes in an afternoon shower
very rarely and unfamiliar when it arrives
all i remember are colors
jagged red lines, a black soul, and slate-blue eyes that looked like the lovechild of burnt charcoal and ocean floor
i hope it means your ashes will be buried somewhere you can't poison anyone else

missing you comes in the leaky garden hose
but we have automatic sprinklers now and i don't need to water the grass anymore
Alyssa Yu Jan 2015
i. I can no longer tell if your bright eyes are reflecting the sky or just hiding your sadness

ii. the rest of the world still believes you are strong
but I cannot shake the sound of you crying on my voicemail
the night you tore down the last remaining wall between us
and now I know why you prefer to travel the forest by night, running aimlessly to find a place called home
for they cannot hurt you again if they cannot find you

iii. they keep saying that the darkness is your fault
and it breaks my heart to know that you have started to believe them.
look in the mirror, angel
you have only ever been the light in these shadows,
and you wear galaxies as a crown, with comets weaved through your hair like silver braids

iv. there will be evenings when you can't help but howl with the wolves
and send out every arrow you have, hoping they will find the broken dreams you lost so many years ago
but remember, if all that comes back is the echo of your voice and an empty bow,
it just means that you have the universe and a lifetime of days to make new ones

v. I don't know why peter pan tried so hard to catch his shadow
because even the moon hides its own like a well-kept secret
and yours is the heaviest, my dear

vi. but when the yelling never seems to stop and all you can hear is
worthlessuselessworthlessuselessworthlessuseless
when your hands close involuntarily into fists,
and the skin on your wrists start to look too white
when your voice gets stuck in your throat because the anger chokes you
I hope you force yourself to exhale
I hope you continue to hold your breath in freeway tunnels and wish on the first star you see
I hope you still find hope
because you are the one who gave it back to me almost seven years ago

vii. and if nothing else, I want you to know:
I think I've figured out why there is a sun in the middle of your name,
because I can count on one hand the number of happy memories I have tucked away for safekeeping
and in my nineteen and a half years of living,
you have been the star of all of them
Jan 2015 · 650
to the traveling voice
Alyssa Yu Jan 2015
to the messenger of Olympus:
do you tire of never being able to speak for yourself?
does it still sting every time you are told that what you want to say isn't important?
i know what it's like; I spent years with my mouth squeezed shut, hushed into perpetual silence and forced to live a life written by someone else

but i suppose we all have our own heavy burdens
and sometimes all we can do is find comfort in other things
so Hermes, love, tell me
how incredible is it to have the world balanced on your fingertips?
do you still get a thrill from jumping across oceans and stepping over islands as easily as cracks in the sidewalk?

god, how i wish that i could do the same, that i could walk 5351.82 miles as easily as walking down the street
for i have found my comfort too
a boy who tugs on my heartstrings and my vocal chords
and even though I never had trouble swallowing my words before,
with him, it's like they can't help but leap out of my chest

so Hermes, love, is there room in your bag for just one more letter? is there time for one more stop on your delivery route?
it will be the eve of New Year's Eve and the moon should be dancing on the Thames when you arrive
i hope that he is dancing too

and if you get a chance, just please tell him this:

i miss you
i know i say it too much and too often and it doesn't change the fact that you're not beside me
but i miss you
and i'll admit that i get panicked sometimes when it's hard to picture your face and I worry that I haven't memorized it well enough
there are moments when I have to force myself to remember how your eyes have a little bit of green in them, like fresh cut grass in the spring, or how your hair always sticks up a little in the back

some days I get scared that you will forget about me
other days I call myself foolish for worrying
worst are the days when I begin to wonder if maybe it would be for the best
after all, my mother always told that too much of a good thing could be dangerous
but it seems I am much too selfish to give up the best thing that's ever happened to me

so instead i'll just look to the stars
the same ones that have already shone above you eight hours ago
and i'll pray that you can hear me wherever you are
Dec 2014 · 582
to the beauty of the gods
Alyssa Yu Dec 2014
this is for the dangerous nights when you are scared to be called beautiful:

darling aphrodite,
I am sorry for all the times you have been called out as an object of another's amusement
and the countless times you will be treated like one
I know, I know, it isn't fair
and if I could, I would stand by your side forever to protect you from the monsters with cruel human faces

but right now, all I can do is remind you that you are worth ten thousand times more than ignoring catcalls in darkened alleys
planning escape routes on the way to the car
gripping pepper spray because your life depends on it
fearing for your safety every time you walk out the door

because my dear, you are the buck that will impale him if he dares to make a wrong move
sweet thing, you are the poison in his veins that will take him down from the inside out
hot stuff, you are the inferno that will consume his rotten soul and dance on the ashes
**** lady, you are the epitome of what it means to be the female ***: strong and clever and indestructible


but baby, I also know how hard it is keep smiling
especially when rest won't come and everything feels wrong and you are surrounded by people but feel completely
utterly
alone

so this is also for the lonely mornings when you wish you could call yourself beautiful:*

darling aphrodite,
who convinced you that your worth was only as deep as the fragile shell that traps your soul?
who taught you to focus on the color of your eyes rather than the quiet determination inside,
the glow of your hair rather than incomparable mind underneath,
the curve of your lips rather than the powerful voice behind,
the smoothness of your skin rather than the goddess within?
who decided that, despite the sturdiness of your fist and the unquenchable fire in your chest, the only thing you'd be useful for was to look pretty?

my love,
although I know you can sometimes feel pretty scared of failing,
pretty sad at night when you can't fall asleep at 2am,
pretty disappointed by the ones who left without looking back,

you are also pretty strong
pretty intelligent
pretty important
pretty loved
pretty incredible

and if there is one thing you take from this, I hope it is that
you were made for many reasons: to dance and paint galaxies and wish on shooting stars and love more deeply than anyone ever thought possible
but the one thing you have never been and were never meant to be is *just
pretty
Alyssa Yu Dec 2014
my dear Atlas,
have you grown weary of your burden yet?
it must be difficult when the universe is expanding more than half a million kilometers per second
and countless lonely teenagers send up the heavy weight of unheard prayers each night
(I will admit that I am one of them)
but you powerful titan,
I hope you realize that it just means you are getting stronger with every passing moment.


my dear Atlas,
for centuries, artists have painted and molded sculptures of you standing tall, holding galaxies with a proud look on your face
are you terrified of disappointing them?
does it scare you to admit that you are actually on your knees, using every ounce of strength just to keep from collapsing?
I bet you think the only thing worse than the gods' vendetta is the threat of failure
but you relentless force of nature,
your breath moves mountains and your arms are stronger than supernovas
so don't worry,
even when you falter, we all just get one inch closer to touching the stars


my dear Atlas,
is it your sadness I taste when the raindrops hit my tongue?
are there permanent stains on your cheeks from crying when you thought nobody was watching?
I'm sure the emotions overflow at night sometimes, when the world sleeps and no one can hear your loneliness
but you brave fighter,
I hope you have learned by now that it is not a weakness,
not when your tears are storms that water the earth and remind the flowers to grow


my dear Atlas
are the earthquakes caused by your legs trembling in pain?
darling, I know it hurts to keep the darkness at bay just to protect a planet that no longer believes in you
but you quiet superhero,
take a deep breath and play with the constellations for a while
draw your own masterpiece with the meteorites
please, take one short second to realize that the weight on your back is the most beautiful thing anyone will ever experience


one last thing, my dear Atlas
will you let me confess something?
I think I am in love
or at least pretty close to it
but the weight of it feels heavier than your own,
because he is afraid I will break his heart
and I am even more worried that I will disappoint him first

so I just have one more question:
can you teach me to believe all the things I have taught you?
show me how to carry someone else's happiness on my shoulders,
reassure me that the beautiful boy who kisses my hand is worth more than the fear of getting hurt,
give me the strength to hold him close when every inch of my body shakes with the fear of not being good enough,
remind me that even though everyone from my past has run away from my broken glass heart, that doesn't mean he won't be the one to piece me back together.


lie to me if you have to.
for he is the best thing I've ever been able to call mine
and though it defies the unbreakable law of entropy
I could swear, the moment we met, all the planets aligned
Nov 2014 · 603
ciclo della luna
Alyssa Yu Nov 2014
I can't quantify the eternity I've spent in your arms
but my calendar defines it as
four weeks of sleepless nights and waking up without regrets
thirty one days of memorizing the lines of your chest and the rhythm of your racing heartbeat
seven hundred hours of laughing at nothing, simply because my overflowing happiness needs to spill out somewhere
forty five thousand minutes that I couldn't imagine spending with anyone else but you

but time is a funny concept in many ways

because I could spend seven days without leaving your side and the lightest touch of your hand would still make my knees grow weak,
because there is something terrifying about the thought of being apart for more than 24 hours that puts me in a hopeless daze,
because sixty minutes of listening to you talk is enough to convince me that I'll never settle down until we can call the night sky ours,
because a mere sixty seconds in your arms can make even the universe seem minute.

but even though its been more than two and a half million seconds
every morning you are always the first thing on my mind
Nov 2014 · 677
myopia
Alyssa Yu Nov 2014
My tongue has never known the taste of being straightforward, finding safety and comfort in jaded sarcasm and clever remarks.
But sometimes the truth cannot be held back
and it rises like the tides, spilling onto the page from my fingertips instead.

You joked about me finding someone else today
and I just laughed and hugged you tighter.
But the farther I walked away from you, the blurrier everything became
so by the time you were out of sight, I couldn't remember if there had been the suggestion of uncertainty in your voice.

(
Overthinking has always been my preferred brand of poison.)

Perhaps it is my fault for needing attention too desperately
for asking too many people to complete the gap in my heart that only I should be able to fill
for needing everyone to paint me into a masterpiece because I can't stand how my own reflection looks like a crumpled-up sketch, tossed aside with the rest of the universe's failures.
I'm sorry for all of it. It's just hard when the mirrors in my house look like nothing but magnifying glasses of my imperfections.

I* just hope you know that even though Northern California is known for its misty fog, your eyes shine through like the morning light.
Forget the sun; you are the brightest star in my sky.*

And with each passing day, I am beginning to wonder if maybe everyone has it wrong when they say love is blind
Because I'd swear to every god I don't believe in
that you are the one thing I can see clearly in this shapeless world.
Oct 2014 · 574
October 31st
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
1:00am
I cannot count on one hand
(the) number of times I've fallen asleep to the rhythm of your breathing.
It's hard to believe I've (only) known you for two weeks minus two days.

9:15am
I'm convinced that no(thing) in all of history has ever tasted sweeter than waking up with you on Halloween morning
As your sighs match time with the unfamiliar sound of raindrops
and your arms pull me under the covers to keep warm against the cold.

12:27pm
Pumpkins on the street laugh while the sky cries.
The hours are long when you're gone.
(I'm) not sure how I feel without you beside me.

2:01pm
I met a boy from my past today
who reminded me that my heart is still haunted by the ghosts of all the times I ****** up.
And I'm (scared)
-no, terrified-
that you will not be able to escape the spiderweb (of) failures that I've gotten entangled in.

2:23pm
Homework (is) not an effective distraction.
Trying to write out (how) I feel doesn't seem to be working either.
Maybe that's the consequence of always hiding behind masks: you try to look in the mirror one day and begin to wonder if anything is real.

3:40pm
I shouldn't miss you this (much) after only seven hours.

3:42pm
I shouldn't miss (you) this much after only seven hours and two minutes.

4:01pm
I'm sorry I get in these moods sometimes.
I would blame it on the leaking clouds more often if we weren't in a drought.

4:01pm
What I (mean) to say is that I'm sorry I am selfish when it comes to you.
You deserve so much more than the mess that I am
But I'm addicted (to) you and I can't seem to pry my cold hands from the warm life in your bones.

4:33pm*
I never believed in superstition
And I'm having my doubts about heaven and hell
All I know is that you must've been sent to rescue (me)
Because you are the closest thing to I've got to prince charming and I swear I am under your spell.
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
i. A part of me is scared how much I care about you. A much larger part of me is the happiest it's ever been.
ii. You are seven inches taller and seventeen months older, and still, all I want to do is protect you with everything I have and everything I am.
iii. There is nothing I love more than the feeling of your laughter against my chest.
iv. You were my first journey into uncharted waters, and it's like I've been on an adventure ever since.
v. It's difficult to sleep when I'm with you, but ****, it's impossible without you.
vi. I can't bring myself to wash the smell of you from my pillowcase.
vii. Your skin feels more like home than my own.
viii. How do you make me feel so ******* special?
ix. Maybe it's the way you look at me as if you can't believe your eyes. Or the way you breathe my name like a godforsaken prayer.
x. Thoughts of you are the reason I don't get angry at couples on the street anymore and can't stop smiling in the middle of the day.
xi. My life has been a series of endless mistakes, but I guess I must've done something right to deserve you.
xii. 168 hours and I feel like I've known you forever.
xiii. I wish I could have known you forever.
xiv. I promised myself a long time ago that I would never unlock my heart for anyone. But your body fits against mine like a master key and now there's no way to shut you out.
Oct 2014 · 481
Morning thoughts
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
I woke up this morning next to a mountain of once-warm laundry
Piled there last night in the hopes that the space beside me wouldn't feel so lonely

But my arm still curled desperately around the emptiness where you should've been

And I don't know if you did the same
All I know is that I used to hate sleeping alone because my sadness felt too big for the bed
But now I can't stand how small I feel between the sheets
The mattress an endless desert and visions of you nothing but an empty mirage in the heat
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
i am used to watching the world around me fall apart
more than that
i am used to being the earthquake that causes it to collapse
and now i understand why we call them fault-lines
because the only thing i've ever known how to do is take the blame

but you are a time-tested skyscraper that refuses to fall
with your soles on the ground and soul in the clouds
shivering to the rhythm of my destruction
then still pulling me closer

and it somehow defies physics
that the more i am compressed in your arms
the more the strain in my clenched fists melts away

i'm sorry i can't tell you when the poison in my soul will stop leaking
or when i will stop leaving cracks in the sidewalk underneath my toes
all i can say for certain is that the whisper of your touch makes my head spin
and for the first time in my life
i want to hold on to this moment and never let it go
Oct 2014 · 530
Triple Point
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
everyday starts at
273.16 Kelvin, 611 Pascals
my body still unsure what it wants to be
-no, scratch that-
still unsure what other people want it to be

1. with my parents
the temperature drops and the pressure rises
while they yellcriticizedemand
and suddenly i am ice
solidfrigidhard
stubborn as hell but ten thousand times colder

2. my best friend is the fire
sparking excitement in dark parts of my soul
and as we heat up together
i become free as air
the earth no longer able to keep me together
or hold me down

3. i am fluid around everyone else
freeform
shapeshifting until all they see is their own reflection staring back at them
intangible
slipping through hands like an eel that will shock anyone who gets close
and quietly destructive
slowly eroding the paperthin walls of their hearts and leaving behind nothing but canyons in my wake

solid liquid gas
common science says that it ends there
but you
you always remind me that there is a fourth state of matter
because when we touch it is like i can feel the electrons of negativity jumping off my skin
and when you kiss me
i could swear we are the plasma that the universe and stars are made of
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
i. (kc) was the catalyst
the first to convince me that I could be loved
and the only one to make me believe I was capable of loving back
...for about two weeks.

ii. then (jt) arrived
popular
suave
and dorkily crushing on the one girl who couldn't return his affections.
but it wasn't until the first time I heard my name and 'beautiful' in the same sentence
that i realized there might be faultlines in my heart
shaking the love out of my body like lunch money from a scrawny kid's pockets.

iii. the first time i broke someone
the process was anything but (sl)ow
and it was then that i realized
i was getting too comfortable sleeping with regret, curled up like a black cat beside me.

iv. fortunately for me
(je) had 20/20 vision.
he saw through the mask, forced me to face myself until i couldn't help but punch my own reflection
and though his words almost convinced me that i could be saved
his empty stare reminded me that i wasn't worth the trouble.

v. looking back, the initials should've warned me
that he would be the (ss) to our sinking ship,
that we were fated to drown.
but he was coldstronghard as metal
and it took me a two years, one month, and one day
to learn that even silver can be tarnished.

vi. the name was fitting, i guess.
(jr) was finer than any greek hero
and were he a god, I would've named the planets after him too.
he was as reckless as the roman empire
scratching himself on the thorns of my soul just to find something worth saving.
was it because of compassion or guilt or shame
that I put Ariadne's string in his hands
so he could navigate his way out
and run for his life.
maybe it was because
I was so used to the echoes in my head
IendeditIendeditIendedit
that through the tears, I still managed to smile at the words
he ended it.
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
To myself five years ago:

In five years, you will notice that your poetry has gone flat
because it has been too long since you last let yourself taste sadness.

Please, don’t try to hold back the power of the ocean in your eyes.

Let yourself panic, let yourself drown, let yourself scream until you choke on your frustration
so that when you finally resurface, the sunlight will look like God and the tidal waves nothing but a lullaby.

I’m not saying it gets better
I’m saying that it doesn’t matter.


Because in five years, you will realize that pain was the universe’s way of reminding you that you still wanted to live.

Do not run away like I did or become the corpse that I am.
I cringed away from love so many times I lost my nerve endings.

No, don’t follow in my footsteps.
Or else in five years, you’ll hate yourself for your apathy
and wish you cared enough to do more than just write a letter to your old self about it.
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
She's nuts, and I keep trying to remind you that you're allergic.
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
To the only one I still care about:
I have a confession that half of the world's population will condemn, and the other half will romanticize.

I still want to die.

And I hate myself for it. Because with all the willpower in my body, my only wish is that I could love you so much that thoughts of death would never cross my mind again.

But how do I tell you that the reason I don't text back sometimes is because I am drowning myself in loud music and studying and a hundred different clubs
Simply to get my brain as far as possible from the desire for oblivion.

How do I explain that I am running on caffeine-induced smiles and artificial adrenaline
Never stopping for a breath of air that my lungs don't want
And keeping my heart racing to hide the fact that all I want it to do is stop.

How do I reveal that it keeps me up all night, trying to figure out if my greatest fear is losing you or leaving you
And by morning, I am too exhausted to think of anything besides the promise of eternal sleep.

How do I say aloud that you are my world, but even gravity couldn't hold Icarus down when he wanted to fly,
And it's been getting harder and harder for me to keep my feet on the ground too.

How do I admit that I once thought there were monsters in my soul, but now I realize I am one,
And the ones in my veins are simply calling me home.

How do I confess that I have lost the last of my strength in this endless fight
Trying to keep you safe from the fact that I am the darkness and you are the light.
Oct 2014 · 495
Fine
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
I wasn't lying when I told you I was fine
I really did believe it.

Because how could I not be?
With straight teeth hidden behind a mischievous smirk
And emeralds in your irises that burned through the shadows
Your features as fine any Greek hero's

But when you left
The sun seemed to shine a little brighter

Only when I looked back did I realize why
The replayed memories felt rough around the edges
The echoes of your words wickedly sharp
The remnants of your laugh ringing false in my ears

You had choked me with strings so fine I didn't realize you were suffocating me at all
​until your tired arms released me
and my lungs finally tasted the oxygen they hadn't known was missing
Series: "Another Word for Love: A Collection of Homonymic Metaphors"
Oct 2014 · 625
Contract
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
Love should be a contract.
After all, I have already signed away my soul to you
In the hopes that maybe one day
You'll learn to love me too

But it seems
That I am the only tied down
Not the other way around
As I reach desperately for your hand to hold
You brush it aside
Then toss me to the ground

I guess for now, I'll settle for a love unrequited

And though your empty smile will never be enough for me
That won't stop it from making my heart contract painfully.
Series: "Another Word for Love: A Collection of Homonymic Metaphors"
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
Most people are good at stealing attention from a crowd
Or the key to someone’s heart
But all I have ever been good at taking
Is starlight, from the eyes of everyone who has ever loved me.

But she makes me want to be different
And though I know she would never want anything more than my smile
I would give her the world,
if it meant that when I left, she would still have more than all that I amounted to.

She says she sees a light in my soul
And even if I used to have night vision and only saw darkness in the debris,
for the first time, I’m beginning to believe her.

But candles are more dangerous than shadows
Just as false hope hurts more than harsh realities
And if it’s true that I am a flame leading her home,
I’m terrified of the certainty that one day, I will go out
And leave her more lost than when she had been on her own.
For my best friend.
Oct 2014 · 394
Content
Alyssa Yu Oct 2014
​Everyone always says
It is the content of a person's character
Not their appearance
That truly counts

But the ocean in your eyes is more beautiful than the storm underneath
And the coffee in your hair shines brighter than its the bitter taste

So I don't care that you'll tear me to shreds
With the thorns on your tongue
And promises you never meant
If you flash me a glimpse of that ivory smile
I swear to be content.
Series: "Another Word for Love: A Collection of Homonymic Metaphors"
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