Monthly Archives: September 2009



I sit down on the curb

watching people walk, run, trip, but not live.

I live, but sheepishly, like a toad waiting to cross.

thoughts wriggle around in my stomach dreaming that one day they too

can be born from the superior womb we named the mouth to join this random

gum-ball machine life where nothing sense makes. zig-zags.

i’m going into labor and I’m not even a woman thank God. God this hurts.

writhing hoarsely my quick thoughts demand to be birthed and leap into the traffic of speeding opinions – so i do.

and it’s true – this toad is



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Filed under Preston Hartwick

Dream Dressed Blue


Break my bottles and rip my skin
Not cold not loving somewhere in between.
Wasting your time on the rough boys
Use all the nice ones up take their money
pierce them with your nine inch heels and steal their clothes,
for everything they’re worth.
I don’t blame you for your bad things,
beautiful blond with those bright blue babies
I just don’t want you to stop your bitching
Remember Heaven holds a place for those who pray.

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Filed under Vanessa Cheng



Tired eyes settle into grooves
around which lie a gloved leg and gravel
hitting pavement that is just as dry
as your voice was that day.
You know which day –
the one where you turned it all back
where you had it all back
and your words are falling onto my back
rolling off into the grates
chasing fragments of pieces of things
that really amount to nothing.
Scarlet and fuschia
pumps and beats upon reaching a blip
on the flat horizon
and then you’re set off without any way to stop.
And all of a sudden you’re immersed
with an outpouring of grace
lashing on your back
until you are tucked and curled
at the bottom of the glass that
magnifies and distorts
eventually breaking
eventually releasing

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Filed under Vanessa Cheng

Quo Vadis?

During World War II, my grandfather was stationed on a remote mountain in The Middle of Nowhere, China to work with a group of Chinese trainees. Being in the downtown of oblivion, the night times grew to be extremely dark, pitch black. The only source of light for the soldiers during nightfall was a small oil lamp located in the center of the group of tents that made up their base. Flashlights were out of the question since the military at the time was tight with their checkbook.

At the foot of the mountain was a grave site in which all the bones within the graves had been dug out and transferred to another area. This was done so that if anyone was to come and attack their camp upon the mountain, they would first have to go through this mass area with a myriad of six feet deep ditches. During the day, walking past this area was not too much of a hassle, maybe just a few goosebumps. But when the night steadily came, walking through the empty graves became more problematic as the darkness induced the worst from one’s imagination, there was the chance of accidentally falling in and getting injured, and did I mention it was dark?

As a young translator then, my grandfather was a man of the faith. Because of his convictions, he found it necessary for himself to join a Bible study group that met together at the foot of the mountain just someways past the graveyard. The Bible study was once a week and started when all the soldiers were finished with their responsibilities, when the sun was still out, and ended when the night had fallen. Though these studies gave my grandfather great insight and a sense of community and comfort under a tense and precarious context, it presented the conundrum of returning to camp. My grandfather had two choices, he could, with his horse drawn wagon, take an exceedingly long trek along a path that wrapped around the mountain thus returning to base overly tired and late in the night or he could take a direct route through the devilish dark graveyard turned defense mechanism. On most nights, my grandfather chose to brave through the latter.

In order to return to base via the defense mechanism, it required courage. The mind had to fight against its own imagination. One had to travel on his horse drawn wagon s-l-o-w-l-y trying, hoping to avoid falling into the ditches. But most importantly, there was the guiding light in the center of camp. You had to no matter what – wading through the darkness, running from your warring imagination, watching out for ditches – follow that light.

And now, after more than sixty years since living in that camp, my grandfather still ruminates on how he needed that dinky little oil lamp, his guiding light. How he needed to follow it carefully wit his full attention. And how he is still following it.

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Filed under Jonathan Wu