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Mar 8 · 188
Our Days Are Numbered
Jing Xi Lau Mar 8
Rain sprinkling on our glasses.
Wind rattling our coats.
We were walking down an unfamiliar street,
Gravel crunching beneath our feet.
You smiled but then you stopped,
A curve that wasn't fully stretched.
You pulled out your hand from your coat pocket,
Began counting on your fingers.
Counting the days we have left.

One.
Two.
Three.
Four.
Stop.

Maybe if you stopped counting,
Numbers would cease to exist.
If numbers ceased to exist,
Whatever we have left,
Could only be measured by moments,
Not days,
Hours,
Or minutes.
But moments.

In each moment,
A baby is born into this mess of a world,
But is readily embraced by it.
In each moment,
A schoolgirl is crying alone in a bathroom stall,
Waiting to be saved from isolation.
In each moment,
A couple shares their first kiss.
In each moment,
Beer bottles are smashed,
Wives are beaten,
Children threatened.
In each moment,
A dreamer stops dreaming,
A poet stops writing.
In each moment,
Hellos are idly uttered,
Goodbyes are not said.

How does one count every moment,
On fingers that are numbered?

Five.
Six.
Seven.
Eight.
Stop.

You didn't understand.
How could you?
So in that moment,
I grabbed your hand,
Held it in mine.
Our fingers intertwined.

Five.
Ten.
Dec 2018 · 820
Dust
Jing Xi Lau Dec 2018
I am the poem you wrote on the back of your hand,
The ink that was washed away,
Flown into the drain.
I am the idea you hurriedly scribbled on a napkin in a coffee shop,
But forgot to take with you.
I am the tune you could never hum right,
The page that fell off the hinge of an old book,
Collecting dust.
Nov 2018 · 1.4k
Deafening Silence
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
We're all dying to feel alive,
Are we the living dead?
We hate to love
But we fall in love anyway.
We wander just to get lost,
But we want to be found.
We spend our nights together,
But we feel more alone than ever.
We cover our ears,
Shout across horizons.
What's this sound?
Deafening silence.
Piercing through the noise of the world.
Nov 2018 · 153
Art
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
Art
What is art?
Is it the expression of creative skill?
The application of imagination?

Is art the creation of beauty?
The birth of emotional power?
Or is art solely imitation?
A copy of something that is real?

Is art a fool’s attempt at immortality?
Angelic bodies immortalized within a frame,
Faces of eternal youth,
Fruit that is forever ripe,
Flowers in perpetual bloom?

Is art a source of calm in a chaotic world?
Nov 2018 · 180
The Truth Is
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
The world claims that it has too many writers,
But not enough scientists.
Everyone can be a writer,
But not everyone a scientist.
So cynical.

Now everyone is a scientist,
No one writes anymore,
No one cares to,
No one but I.
You’d think the world needs more writers,
Now more than ever.
So naïve.

The truth is,
The world only has room for science and progress,
Machine guns and machine men,
With machine hearts.
There is no space,
For poetry and love.
This is no place,
For us.
Nov 2018 · 162
The Coffeehouse
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
The air smells of ground coffee beans and freshly brewed tea.
A girl sits by a large window that, sadly,
Doesn’t provide much of a scenery.
She sees her reflected self,
Her glassy eyes staring back at themselves.
She sees the reflection of the strangers around her,
Their hurried moments of affection,
Their lipstick-stained coffee cups,
Their involuntary displays of vexation.
They see their mirrored selves,
Their idle chatter,
Their fake smiles,
Their forced laughter.
It’s like watching a reality show,
Watching the lives of other people,
On a single glass screen.  
Little do they realize,
That they’ve been watching themselves,
Watching their own lives become other people’s lives.
On the other side of the window,
Passersby peer through the tinted glass,
Into the lives of these strangers.
A woman with her lover but not her husband,
A group of teenage boys trying to woo a pretty barista,
Two college girls trading ***** secrets,
A girl sitting all alone by the window,
Staring into space.
It’s like watching a reality show,
Watching people go on about their lives,
Seeing life without actually being a part of it.
Nov 2018 · 94
Stay
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
Daylight seeps through the black and white curtains,
Like fingers tearing through fabric,
Touching his skin.  
Soft,
Dark,
Sound asleep.
His back is turned to face me,
And in the morning light,
I see the stretchmarks I love,
Stretching beyond horizons,
Beyond untouched barriers.
Striae like streams flowing into rivers,
Rivers draining into oceans,
Beckoning explorers to brave the choppy currents.
I trace them with my fingertips,
Sending shivers down his spine,
Electrical jolts down mine.
I close my eyes,
Hold him tight.
Before I know it,
Day has turned into night.
Just like that,
Sunbeam into moonlight.
There is a cacophony,
Of gentle snores,
Groggy moans,
Words mumbled through half-awaken lips,
Words I can’t really make out.
I roll to the edge of the bed,
Prop myself up.
He turns to face me,
Eyes still shut,
And mumbles,
Stay.
Nov 2018 · 78
The Night Was Young
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
The night was young,
And so were we.
Lying across each other,
On polyester sheets.

We made plans,
Talked about our dreams.
You would whip up a pun,
Expect me to laugh.
I would give you a look,
Tell you not to be daft.

Some nights,
We waged wars,
Raged like storms.
I would yell,
And stomp out the door.
But you would grab me by my knees,
Turn me upside down,
I would burst into laughter.
In that moment,
My world,
Upended.
Ceilings became floors,
Curtains stood upright against windowpanes.
The asphalt road outside became a gray skyline,
Street lamps turned into stars.
I thought to myself,
Will we remember this moment,
Forty years from now,
When we are old and gray?

The night is young,
But we no longer are.
Lying across each other,
But far apart.

We’ve stopped making plans,
Because plans are for dreamers.
We talk about our past,
The people we used to be.
You place your hand on my cheek,
And I start to cry.
You say,
Darling,
I remember.
I remember everything.
Nov 2018 · 135
Too Much of Everything
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
I’ve never been the right kind of girl,
Too mean because I don’t smile often,
Too fake when I laugh,
Too skinny because I don’t have *****,
Too fat when I can no longer squeeze into my old jeans,
Too quiet because I don’t voice my opinions,
Too loud when I speak my mind,
Too obliging because I follow orders,
Too stubborn when I make a stand.
You see,
We will never be the right kind of girls,
Nor do we have to be.
We are too much of everything,
That we can’t be labeled,
Put into societally standardized boxes.
Like the sun,
We can’t be contained.
Like a flower,
We can bend with the wind and still not snap.
Like a blade of grass,
We can be trampled on,
And still survive.
Nov 2018 · 220
Try
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
Try
At dusk,
All our labors are ground to dust,
All in vain.
But by dawn,
We shall pick ourselves up,
And try again.
Nov 2018 · 1.1k
Numbers
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
They print their lives on a price tag,
Those big fat numbers,
All they do is brag.
My daughter’s a neurosurgeon,
Graduated from Johns Hopkins,
Saving lives by the hundreds.
My son a number-crunching accountant,
A career that keeps his wallet thick,
And his pockets filled.

They wonder what I do,
I tell them I work with words.
They gasp,
Eyes widen.

I tell them that,
I can count the spaces between adjacent letters in a word,
String words together to build a sentence,
Layer each sentence above another like bricks,
Place a single powerful mark of punctuation in between,
The glue that holds the bricks intact and forms a wall.
A wall of stanzas,
Connected by commas and semicolons.
A wall of paragraphs,
Big enough to block numbers out.

Because words fill souls while numbers fill pockets.
Words are immeasurable.

Infinite.
Nov 2018 · 161
Pretty
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
I can’t braid hair,
I trip over my own feet when I walk in heels,
I don’t paint my nails,
I have no idea how to do makeup.
But yes,
I am a woman.

Because being a woman is not wearing a tight skirt,
Hem above knees.
Flash a little skin,
Don’t be a *****.
Cover those up,
You ****.
Being a woman is not keeping your mouth shut,
Obedient at his feet,
Looking pretty.
Put pretty on your resume,
Put a smile on that face.

No,
Being a woman is building a home out of closed doors,
Bridging wage gaps with sticks and stones,
Thrown your way,
Finding healing where there was none,
Enduring the pain of a new life emerging from your ****,
Giving and forgiving,
Giving till the jar is empty.

My sisters,
You have so much more to offer,
To share with the world.
So don’t settle for pretty,

Never settle.
Nov 2018 · 97
City Lights
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
Primary-colored neon signs,
In the windows,
Of every smoke-permeated bar.
Open is in red,
Cocktail glass in blue,
Lemon twist,
Gin,
Yellow.

Around the corner,
A French antique store,
With grand chandeliers,
Dangling from,
Every inch of its ceiling,
Emitting a coalesced glow,
Warm,
Mellow.

Every nightclub down the street,
A party of its own.
Strobe lights,
Blinding.
Music,
Deafening.
A drunk teen,
Retching.
Poor,
Fellow.

Fluorescent billboards,
Brood over worn-out men.
City lights,
No matter how bright,
Can never drown out,
Their dark suits,
Dark ties.
Their longing,
To belong.
Their sighs,
A,
Bellow.
Nov 2018 · 71
Fall
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
Tiny raindrops began falling from thin air,
Slowly seeping into my hair.
I walked in the rain,
Starting to think of things that fall like rain.
Apples falling from apple trees.
Water cascading down in the shower.
Pens tumbling down from frantic or unpractised fingers.
Pages falling out from the hinge of an old book.
Pennies and dimes gushing out from toppled mason jars.
Coffee being poured into coffee mugs.
People jumping off buildings.
People hopping off planes.
People leaping off cliffs.
People falling in love.
I walked in the rain,
Starting to realize that people fall as easily as rain.
Nov 2018 · 165
Fleeting
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
For a moment,
A fleeting moment,
I thought I was yours,
And you were mine.
I thought my fingers and yours,
Entwined.
For a moment,
A fleeting moment,
I thought you wanted more than sighs,
Quivering thighs.
I thought you wanted love,
And I thought it was love.
But,
That moment lasted for as long as you did.
Fleeting.
When that moment dissolved into nothingness,
Between the sheets,
So did I.
Nov 2018 · 81
Babel
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
I have so many thoughts that I can’t fathom,
So many feelings that I can’t put into words,
Bottled emotions that I can’t squeeze onto a page of poetry.

Yet here we are spewing out syllables,
Vomiting words that we don’t even mean,
Mumbling phrases that we don’t even understand,
Just to fill the void that has grown between us,
The space between a pair of parentheses.

Afraid of running out of things to say,
We make up truths and create stories,
And hold them within our brackets of babel.
Nov 2018 · 76
Cotton Castles
Jing Xi Lau Nov 2018
Let’s leave this place behind,
The little wealth we own.
There’s much to find,
The world has grown.  

We can live in the sky,
Build our home on each cloud.
We can make thunder our lullaby,
Oh the freedom to sing out loud.

Above our cotton castle,
I shall draw you a constellation.
You’re more than a broken vessel,
Darling you’re my salvation.

You took my shattered pieces,
Turned them into stars.
Like rain you showered me with kisses,
Now faded are my scars.

So let’s leave this place behind,
Build castles out of cotton.
They say I’ve lost my mind,
But they’ll soon be forgotten.

— The End —