yesterday was ten hour classroom setup grueling
so naturally i slumped through my anniversary date
only to pinch myself to midnight to finish lesson plans.
somehow i managed to wake up half past five today
sure to be a tricky day, i tiptoed on maintaining
positivity for the after hours Meet the Teacher
through the practice of activity demonstrations
for the first day of school. my coteacher and i
were commended for our synchronization
bouncing in and out of each other’s converstion
as we taught, our morale boosted
she let her hair down and i put on my heels on
ready to usher families into a new school year
rewarded by shy, but eager little faces


listen close

when my family moved from new york to new jersey
we left behind the blasting of spanish pop at all hours
customary background soundtrack to my life, new state
i could not sleep at night, the silence too penetrable
my worst fears in the creak of floorboards
it was easier to be plugged in to a playlist on loop.
in time my ears sharpened, the unity of katydids
in rustling chirps against distant car tires swooshing by
an unexpected lullaby, i found songs in stillness

not an intellect

that’s what he called me
because i can’t come up with a poem
on the spot, i dwell
string popcorn phrases
and it lodged like a splinter
what if the only thing I was decent at
wasn’t something I was good at at all?
it’s in retrospect (two years too late)
i have a retort
to write well is like an inner fountain
erupting, raw and uncharted
then it is effective to invoke charge
if art’s not meant to be rushed then why writing?
even creation took seven days

i’m still learning

“Life’s not a tv show”

“No, it’s worse.”

For the past two weeks, my guilty pleasure of Jane the Virgin has been rekindled. I didn’t think I could watch the show after a certain story arc that left me – like many fans who have gotten attached to the show – devastated, but after a night of silence, I found myself wondering what was next for the main character.
The only constancy in Jane Villanueva’s life is how theatrically dramatic it is; she plays many roles, but its her passion of writing that makes me wonder how can she not feel like she’s trapped in a version of Stranger than Fiction? In the end, the conclusion is simple: she’s not real.
Like all of us, life can get overwhelming at times and as a writer myself, what helps me is thinking of it in terms of a story. But in reality, in the place of a chapter or an episode, the effects of a moment, in memory and through consequences, both forseen and unforseen, can stay with you for a long time. And that can be worse.
In my school, every month is represented by a principal feeling that we are supposed to set a foundation of within our scholars. August is the month of joyfulness; it’s a character strength that is easy for me to portray (as long as I have my seven hours of sleep!). It’s the Forgiveness Moose – it sounds so silly – that I didn’t see for it’s double-faceted purpose.
I’ve learned letting go of bad energy – be it in the form of friends or choices – is beneficial. There are health psychology case studies to support it; with forgiveness comes lower stress levels! So of course I’m glad I’ll teaching this to my little scholars and hopefully ingraining this valuable lesson for them to carry with them. But it’s the part of learning to forgive oneself that I myself sometimes forget.
Life can be like a King Da Ka drop: so fast so far down that you don’t land mentally intact. It’s easy to regret, it’s tricky to see it as another story to add to the collection like the pennies on the sidewalk. We judge ourselves the harshest because when we fail to achieve our aspiring level of success we know we have to take responsibility. Somehow wearing blame is chosen over humility. But it’s like chain armor – the weight of blame will mold you into bitterness, a tempting excuse in the place of trying and failing again.
But as I watch my scholars forgive their choices and show resilience, I find myself relearning how not to be hasty when looking at myself in the mirror. It’s never too late.
We had to be who we were to be who we are now; our emotional scars are how we come to uphold our values fiercely, a purpose without what would we be?




bound by a contract
her faith compels her to keep it intact.
he and she were arranged to meet
she complied because of society
already thirty, what would people think
she worried about her parents’ image
so she said yes to not give them stress
never factoring her own happiness.
same religion but different culture
she was his for his bidding and no one else’s
he forbade her going to her mother’s house
isolated with the strangers she married into
she prevailed in concealing her tears
in secret phone calls home so they not worry
and after they were long gone she still remained
to not tarnish their memory, their last wish
she have a cornucopia of security and stability

i didn’t get to say goodbye

i was not with him when it happened
so i imagine a book with its binding ripped off
pages scattered i desperately gathered
when the jarring call came, the voice said
he was walking and then he was not –
the shadows grow longer he’s not coming
did i say i love him that day?
i wrote it in his lunchbox – does that count?
a tree does not lose all its leaves all at once
we were skipping together
now i stand unable to continue