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vy Jun 2014
i. throw away the three boxes of
incense sticks that burn your eyes
when lit. When your father asks
you where they went,
tell him,
they’re a firehazard.

ii. before you board the bus, rush
to the bathroom. dump out the
mi sao your mother made
for you.
repack with lunchables and fruit roll-
ups. hide your wooden chopsticks.

iii. rip the buddha necklace off
your chest. with the imprint of the fat
man digging into your left palm, raise
your right hand and shout, “I’M NOT
A BUDDHIST. my mother was.” to the peers
think all Asians are Buddhists and
all Buddhists are Asian.

iv. When they ask you why ‘Vy’
rhymes with ‘bee’ and not ‘my’,
tell them that Vietnamese and
English are two different
languages. But remember to
apologise for the inconvenience.
Look forward to this question for
the rest of your life.

v. If a substitute asks, “Sorry
if I pronounce this
wrong but is Vy [rhyme with
eye] here?” Do not duck
beneath your desk. Do not
correct them. Tighten your lips
into a smile, look them in the
eye and raise your hand,

vi. avoid going shopping with
your parents, they will ask you to
bargain with the cashier on
how the lettuce ball s a bit too
small to cost three dollars, and
that they should take off a
dollar. when you refuse, they will
try to communicate in broken
this is your cue to wait out front.

vii. when graduation day comes
and your entire family wants to
say no. it is not important.
it is important. but your
grandmother will tell everyone that
you are the first, to step foot
into college. avoid
this embarrasssment by telling them
graduation is cancelled.

viii. instead of taking pictures with
your “fresh off the boat” family,
borrow Kelly Tran’s, whose
parents are hip and cool and let
her speak English
at home.

ix. are you Chinese?

x. are you Japanese?

xi. are you Korean?

xii. Are you Asian?

xiii. what kind of Asian are you?
… American

xiv. You are not Vietnamese-
American. there is nothing
American about you except your

xv. make sure you choose the
furthest college away from home,
where your mother won’t be able
to send you white rice and
kimchi, among other foods that
your white roommate can’t pronounce.

xvi. no matter where you go,
someone will ask you to “say
something in your language”
they say
"your language"
because one,
they don’t know what language
you speak, two,
they don’t know how to
pronounce it. they just
assume you speak one
besides English.

xvii. when your mother calls
while you have company over
and asks,
"con co nho me khong?", pretend
you don’t understand. take a
glance at the people around you
and firmly reply, “mom i’m
busy. i’ll call you later.” lace it
with enough conviction to fool
wandering ears but with less
compassion so that your mother
knows not to stay up late past three waiting.

xviii. tan your skin, bleach your
hair, forget your native tongue.
remember the boys who leer,
grabbing their crotch, whispering in
your ear, “i’ve got yellow fever,
can you cure me?”

xix. stand in front of the mirror.
open youtube and search, “how
to get rid of an Asian accent”
because no matter how western
you look, your mouth will speak
"duh girl likes pissa" instead of
"the girl likes pizza".

**. schedule a plastic surgery
appointment, fix your nose, jaw,
and monolid eyes. people will
try to stop you, “you are perfect
the way you are! there is no one you-
er than you!” laugh at them.
inform them, “the looks of me is
not what society want people to be.”

xxi. pick up the phone. dial
home. hang up. do this five
times. after the fifth, you will
have convinced yourself that you
don’t miss them. it is just the
alcohol talking.

xxii. before you sign up for this
read the fine print. in addition to
losing your identity, you will lose
yourself. becoming a child of
corrporate America is as easy as it
seems. you just have to let go of
your humanity.
vy Mar 2014
I fell in love with a
boy who loved effortlessly,
laughed endlessly, and
lived recklessly. I say
that I "fell" because I can't remember how
his forehead wrinkled when his eyes
lit up.
But I found a
boy, eyes darker than sin,
legs longer than my sighs,
who buries his smile under a tired mouth and
sad realities.
He covers his strained eyes
after sleepless nights
with a squinted glare, counts
down the days 'til he can leave this town.
He does not know that
I would hold him until his
demons are driven away
vy Dec 2013
i. "Why did the number of parking tickets spike
when Persephone was carried off to the underworld?
Demeter wasn't working."
She liked greek mythology puns.
It was a good thing I was creative.

ii. Truth or Dare, I asked her what
was the best decision she's ever made.
she answered with, "In 7th grade I named my puppy Achilles,
so when I saw him I could say, 'Achilles, heel!'"

iii. It took me two weeks to realise that
when we held hands, I wasn't really
holding her hand, but a chainsaw,
ready to slash through anything that stood in our way like
Hercules chopping off the Hydra's head.
I was immortal.

iv. August eleventh; 9 PM
we watched for the meteor shower.
I connected the freckles splayed upon her knee,
told her they looked like the constellation of Cassiopeia.
"Be Sirius" she jested.

v. She had a bad habit
of smoking at the beach and I
Wondered if she knew that with
every single flick of ash into the water,
Poseidon was cursing her to the River Styx.

vi. Headaches visited her often, I joked that
maybe she was getting ready to birth
a Goddess from her cranium. She
did not find it clever.

vii. You could say we became like Aphrodite and
Hephaestus. I, longing for her. She,
lusting after another. A synonym for her
headaches would be me.

viii. Apparently if you hack off a Hydra head, two
would grow to replace it. Knowing this sooner
probably would have saved me from numerous
amounts of Kleenex and chocolate.

ix. She left me a note on the dresser,
"Fun fact: Medusa's favourite cheese was
Gorgon-zola. PS - you remind me
of Medusa, please remember to brush your hair."
She reminds of Medusa as well, I do not doubt that if we
meet again, her eyes would still turn me into
vy Oct 2013
i don’t know where
i’m going with this
all i know is you
have the strongest smile
since my sister
was in the hospital.

it’s like i’m staring
into some sort of futuristic
mirror image of myself
like i’m seeing something
between who i was
and who i want to be
when who i am
is who i want to be
suffocated beneath a thin layer
of gauze

gauze like that of my sister’s
bandages taped
to her wrists
holding blood in;
blood is a terrible word
for a poem,
but at least it isn’t as trite
as what i’m about to say
about your eyes:

your eyes remind me
of what it means to be
on a highway with a cigarette
in one hand and a zippo lighter
in the glove compartment
but the lighter fluid is almost empty
and the cigarette is burning
up and out but your eyes
are still there
and i don’t want you
to stop
seeing me

because i see you
and you’re there
and you have the strongest heart
and you’re holding me.

and i love you
and that’s not some sort
of poetic *******, that’s some
real ****, it’s some corny ****,
some i’m highway fast driving
serious **** and you like it
like that.
you guys arielle is basically my idol she is my inspiration i love her so much she's always there for me for everything and she never yells at me or screams at me and she's just such a lovely person x
vy Sep 2013
i. You imprinted my thighs with (x)'s
ii. nothing about us was beautiful, we were bad rhymes and crumpled art
iii. I asked you out with cold coffee and trembling fingers, it is not as romantic as it sounds
iv. you loved my lips with razor blades, I kissed your lines with tears and alcohol
v. my wrists fit in your palms better than my hand matched yours.
vi. I did not know how to fall properly
vii. neither did you.
vy Sep 2013
words fall through me, fool me
into something larger than your shallow breathes
against my collarbones at four in the afternoon.
we are craters, creating something
more wholesome than a smile or the five o'clock news,
and i'm new here
but i felt the pulse in your wrist when you said good morning
and i'm mourning the thickness of the cranium
you're melting away
and i'm tired of your limp fingers
and your tangled hair
i need something more than your mouth
and a quiet shadow.
vy Sep 2013
321 texts said i miss you for every mile we’re apart,
we are not okay.
6 missed calls and 14 voice mails for that many hours
that it would take for you to travel to me,
we are not okay.
I’m sorry has 7 letters and so does **** now.
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