Favorite poem: "No One Knows the Way to Heaven" by Ocean Vuong
The link is different from the version in his book Time is a Mother.

Click on the titles to uncollapse the poem. Poems are listed from most to least recent.


Lime Green Camaro

You stood up,
40 mph pulling
Your hair back,
The moss staring
From the stone
Lining lit by
Your radiant smile.

Our laughs echoed
With the radio’s
hum. The windows
Rolled down and
I thrust my
Head outside. Petrichor
Invaded my nose.
Your eyes settled
on mine. 

For a moment, 
I fooled myself.
For a moment, 
We could’ve been

What a Magnificent World We Live In

You don’t know what a bottle is.

Pretend you did. And you believed
In the planet. People. Yourself.
Then someone shook you around,
Spat in you, drained you of everything
Clear and said, “What
A magnificent world
We live in.”

Lemon Cookie

Mz A ate
a lemon cookie:
shrieks of chalk
turned lovingly
sweet Mz A
ate with Mz
S on the
seat Mz M 
alone saw
the sardonic
treat Mz M
bought cookies
for more than
three A box
emptied left
Mz M

My Head Turned Left

The rain danced on the glass while the fog
Crawled up the windows and people
Walked in and out and in and
Out feet pattering slapping slipping
On the concrete reflecting solemnity

You were passenger nose tucked
Into the cloud-colored cloth and
Sniffed the scent reminiscent of
Idyllic I or the dryer or a beauty
You were and your smile killed

Every crevasse of the seat its
Worn perfections from the
Way you repaired attacks backs
Cracks with a bandaid torn
Off here last year the shop 

Rang your name and I picked
Up ensconced in the impression
So tight in its embrace our
Future lay ahead and my head
Turned left and cleft and bereft.


Nature that nurtures
The vast landscape and the sky.
A beauty for those
Who create and sate the why.

Nature that postures—
In its depths does it belie,
A dirty sight for
You who sigh and knot the tie.


a comma

your warmth receded like the wood that’s lost its flame—
every text punctuated with a comma,
even your words ran away, more formal
than our first passing. goodbye, your ashes,
they will be missed.

The Four of Us

I thought the Four of Us
Would be different—
Like honey to a jar.

But sticking together
Became bitter when
Distance was all
That we shared.

Your Waters

And if I wade into your waters,
Will I come out anew—
Or will your tide wash out
Any semblance of who I was?

cruel world

dear world,

when did ice cream become so cold you needed to put a tag on it?
books, ever more cryptic, fall from dreamlands to letters on a paper?
smiles come from years of toil rather than breathing life through the bones?

sincerity? that was left behind long ago

lying my way through it—
yours & never mine

i love

how badly i want to say i love—
but your name too ethereal
can’t feel familiar to the tongue

i wasn’t built for this world

how do i explain i wasn’t built for this world? for you to break my heart and never say hi again, my parents to define their last moment as one spent yelling, this world to spin faster while i stay within the reserves of my bed.

when will i be okay?

with our laughs being more unfamiliar,
our talks being more catch up than crisis,
and our goodbyes being further apart.

i see it coming, i really do
but until then, i can see you.

i was never who you wanted

the smiles we shared
made it seem like you cared

don’t pretend to be so hearted—
i was never who you wanted

something beautiful

and the world was mixing and turning and churning and all the colors blended together like a wet canvas confused questioning why it was being drawn when it just wanted to be—but the box, organized with gifts mixed and turned and churned the colors until it became—something beautiful

The Last Ounce

The last ounce of affection died when 
You left without saying goodbye
And all our memories once cherished
Became lost in the gray sky

i miss you

Playing with whitespace. Here's the link!

This Tree Could Not Grow Without Time

Are you the last?
Because I don’t want
To experience the Breathlessness
Without you.

This, by serendipitous happenstance,
Was not something of our design.
The tree who has bested
Harsh winds and rain,
Survived with tenacity.
Or perhaps luck.

I don’t want this to
Pass like a season in the year
Because this tree could
Not grow without time.

41 Weeks

You had 41 weeks.
Now, you’re down to

How does it feel?
The mighty moniker of

You have five weeks.
Soon, you’ll be at

Grab your exhilarating fear.
There’s so much more:


I'm a Big Boy Now

“What do you want to
Be when you grow up?”
What if I don’t want to
Grow up?

What if I don’t want to
Wait for the days where
My hair turns gray and
I don’t go outside anymore

Because I’m jaded and
Wrinkled and I can’t get
Up without falling down
Back into the ground that

I inch toward each day?
What if I’m okay with being
Five when all my worries
Were because my ice cream

Fell on the ground? Or ten
Because my dad didn’t
Get a dog for my birthday
Like he said he would?

Or twelve when I had to
Move to a different country
And find new friends? Or
seventeen when my heart ached

Because her and my story
Had to come to an end?
Why do I have to finally be
Eighteen? Where nineteen

Twenty and beyond don’t
Matter anymore because
“You’re a big boy now
So stop complaining.”

Today's Poem Today

(An imitation of Victoria Chang's style written for AP Lit)


Stick Season

They said,
“When one door closes,
Another door opens.”

But why when I step outside,
Are there only barren trees
Yearning for their leaves,
And yellow grass
Wishing for the snow?

The season of the sticks
Shouldn’t feel like
The season of the stick—
Who has fallen from the tree.

So I stay inside,
Where it’s predictable but safe.
Because stepping out there
Only reminds me of me.

I Prefer to Stand

Open your eyes and see the chair and sit
Upon the days that start to fade away.
Your faith and flesh together must commit.
But maybe it should be another day.

Before once it had failed you to comply.
Its spindle, legs, and stile can’t but decree
Your faith and flesh misplaced has gone awry,
The seat cannot for pressure but go flee.

And rub and blink and open your poor eyes
To the disaster that you seem to call
A chair. Oh shit. Oh fie. Therein belies
The trust, the time for why is now so small.

It was—not is—it is not present tense.
Ask where and why and put up your defense.

Untitled #4

It's been
6 months
since my
heart's been

It'll be
6 more
until it's
time again
for judgment.

Untitled #3

As I sing,
There are children dying.
As I play,
There are animals crying.
As I dream,
There are adults denying,
Saying this isn't the time
For politics.

But when is it time?
When they are dead?
When I am dead?
When my children are dead?

I cannot fathom
How my life is
Moving forward
But our life is
Moving backward

Untitled #2

I miss being enamored by you—by having my life governed by the thought of you.

Untitled #1

I dreaded the sun's fall,
Knowing that I'd have to realize
That you weren't with me.