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Aspen Apr 27
In Taiwan, I seem to fit in
I can speak the language, the green mountains feel like home
The city lights of Taipei are warm, the white sand in bai sha wan glistens under the sea foam
Cold Mango shaved ice refreshes me in the humid summer heat,
While pork rice and egg cake from street vendors are my comfort foods
It feels like a place where I belong, a place I can call home

But the kids in summer camps always ask me where I’m from
Why I have an accent, why I can’t read the store signs
While I may look like all the kids in the summer camp
I still do not belong

In America, I go through ordinary days
I can read street signs, and I don’t have an accent
I can actually write words and sentences on my assignments
I know each street I drive by on my way to school
I do the cupid shuffle in high school parties, my eyes shine with the fireworks on July 4th
This also feels like a place I belong, a place I can call home

But while my footsteps walk this land everyday, I do not belong
Because no one can pronounce my real name, and my food “looks strange”
No matter how American I feel,
I still do not belong

Stuck in two worlds, between two boxes
I’m the purple between the blue and red,where do I belong?
I can’t pick a side, I am not one or the other,

But being purple tells me that I belong…
That I do not have to choose, my heart belongs to these two homes:
The sweet potato-shaped island, with green mountains and city lights
And the land where my friends aren’t far away, where I spend my everydays
The final poem in my poetry collection "Calls of the Magpie and Eagle"

This poem is about the feeling of not belonging in any culture. Whether I'm in Taiwan or America, there is always a little voice inside that tells me that I don't belong. Being stuck in two cultures is hard, but these two places are still my home,.
Aspen Apr 27
A path of white lilies leads up to a small wooden building
The grass scented summer breeze welcomes guests through the open window
Hot spring smoke greets the white clouds in the clear blue sky
Fresh fruit and small cups of warm milk tea on the table
A gray tabby stretches its back and yawns on the window sill
Yang Ming Mountain beckons contentment within me, and puts all anxieties to sleep
The fourth poem in my poetry collection "Calls of the Magpie and Eagle"

There's this small café on Yang Ming mountain and it is my favorite spot in the national park. This place is like something out of a studio ghibli movie.
Aspen Apr 27
Middle school, was heading out to recess after my international day presentation,
And having some older boys slap the Chinese drama mask design sewn on my qi pao
Watching them run away high fiving each other and wondering,
Why were they laughing? What was so funny?

Middle school, was filled with the questions that people asked,
“Where are you from? No, where are you REALLY from?”
Apparently “Maryland” was not the correct answer
They want to know the ancient path of my ancestry that is imprinted into my DNA
The Taiwanese, or was it Thai? blood that flows through my veins
Why do I bother with repeating myself over and over?
When my  words of
“My parents are from Taiwan but I was born in America”
And “no it’s not Thailand it’s Taiwan”
Just fell upon deaf ears and closed minds

Middle school, was the kids sitting across from me at the 7th grade table
Sniffing the air and wrinkling their noses
As the smell of my mother’s homemade spicy tofu and cabbage over brown rice
Escaped my thermos
Should I have eaten somewhere else? Maybe it’s better if I’m not around  

At every turn, I had to explain my existence
A cruel reminder that, though I was born in America, I was not “American” enough
Differences pointed out everywhere, a reminder of where I am “really” from

But many questions later, my insecurity gone
I am proud of who I am, the strong person I’ve become
Though others may have questions, I no longer doubt
That I am Taiwanese American, and I deserve respect and love
Another poem from "The Calls of the Magpie and Eagle"

This poem is about the micro-agressions that I experienced in middle school. I went to a predominately white middle school so...yeah. Obviously I do not think that these people meant any harm, but their actions did make me feel uncomfortable.
Aspen Apr 27
Your liveliness sweetens the way the dragon fruit you grow sweetens the tongue
Your smile lights up the room the way those fireflies you caught for your grandchildren did
Your laugh dances the way a summer breeze makes the leaves on the ba la tree dance

You forgave all our mistakes
You always wiped away our tears
You always made sure everyone is feeling okay
You stood by our side for all these years

Though you are 15 hours away
I still hope to see you someday
In your crop garden, standing by the bubbling stream
Instead of being on a small phone screen

But for now I will try to…
Be the dragon fruit that sweetens everyday lives
Lighten up the room the way your fireflies did
Laugh the way the summer breeze makes the leaves dance

Try to let bad moments go
And replace tears with hugs
The way you did when we were young
I will try to be a shelter, stand by love’s side
The way you were my haven, the way you stood by mine
I will try to…
Live the way you taught me how to live
Like a dragon fruit, like fireflies, and like summer breezes
Another poem from "The Calls of the Magie and Eagle"

This poem is dedicated to my grandpa (again had to edit some things because mandarin isn't allowed on this website). But yeah, my grandpa is such a kind, caring, and gentle person. I wish I could see him in person some day and I love him lots!
Aspen Apr 27
Daydreaming at the pink clouds during a sunrise through my window
Gazing at the reflections of neighborhood life in the lake
Hearing the whisper of the summer breeze
Smelling the sweetness of pine tree sap
You seem to be there in each of these moments

That gray plastic cassette tape
The old ‘80s Chinese music, with muted wooden beats
I can almost hear your soft, honey voice humming along to the melody

But as all pink sunrise clouds turn white
And all songs in cassette tapes end
Sadly our time is short, we have to say goodbye

It all ended with the text I received during lunch
My friends’ laughter echoing through the fourth floor hall
But the world seemed silent, time seemed to stop
As I processed the news that you are gone, all feelings were numb

An ocean away
It’s such a shame,
I was never there to say goodbye
Or even an “I love you” one last time

While the whole world moved at the speed of light
You taught me to slow down and notice the hidden joys of life
While the cold world was a fierce competition
You showed me that the cold world can be warmed with kind hearts and patience
So while you may be gone and the world seems cruel,
You are still here with me, reminding me to take life gratefully
From my poetry collection "Calls of the Magpie and Eagles" that I submitted for a Taiwanese Poetry contest.

The poem title was originally in mandarin but this website won't let me use mandarin words for some reason so... yea

This poem is dedicated to my grandma. The last time I saw her was five years ago and I did not get to say my final goodbye in person nor was I able to go to her funeral because I was in America and she was in Taiwan. Hopefully this poem can reach her and let her know that I love her and value her. She was such a simple minded person and lived life treasuring each day and every little thing about life. I hope that I can be like her and eventually learn how to live a peaceful and grateful life.
Aspen Apr 3
“You are gaining weight”
“I do not care about you”
“You are just like your mother, her side of the family is messed up”

Would you maybe, like to reconsider what you just said?
I hate to admit it, but your words cut deeper than a knife
I’m trying so hard, but they are getting to my head
Maybe reflect on how your words are ruining my life
How I grew up hating myself, wishing I could be someone better instead

They say that family is important, that bonds are important
But I’m starting to reconsider
That maybe family is not the blood that runs through my veins
Or the group of people that share my last name
But it is a group of people where I can feel enough
I’m starting to reconsider
Whether I should stay by your side
Because yes, you do provide me with food, shelter, and the necessities of life
I walk on eggshells, reading your jawline for intentions of strife
You may be family but you should know
If you do not reconsider your actions, your own family will become your foe
Day 2 of the poetry month challenge! Prompt: Reconsider. TW: Emotional abuse from family members. But yeah this was a hard poem to write. It was a vague prompt and tbh I felt pretty anxious going along with this idea. It's hard to open up to people about this, since I've always been told to stay quiet about what is happening at home, so I'm not used to talking about this. Sorry for the dark topics for the first two days, I promise that lighter poems with pretty imagery will be coming this month!
Aspen Apr 1
Open wounds are bleeding cuts exposed to the sun
Caused by a knife or a scratch from a run
They are lines on the skin that fade after a while
At least that is what it is in people’s mind files

But sometimes blood is not the only thing that flows
Sometimes tears or numb expressions are the only thing that’s shown
Sometimes they are not simple lines that just fade away
For some they run deep, they are there to stay

Some wounds feel sharp like a knife on skin
But to some those wounds are short moments of relief, heaven
Compared to the wounds inside their head
Telling them that they are worthless, they are better off dead
If people look on the inside they will realize, they will find
Not all open wounds mark the body, they can also mark the mind
Starting off poetry month 2022 with the prompt: open wounds. TW: there are mentions of s*icide and s*lf h*rm so be mindful of that when reading.
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