the piece that won silver key in Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (2020) 

Writer's Prayer

I have a confession.


please listen 


when I’m 






I find myself liking my crying bitter red-faced face. Because I write, enlightened with my verses and rhyme, my 









and who knows what else. 

My disaster porn I call writing and my fetishizing of sadness I call reflecting.


My sonnets of the old man and the sea, my dad, my mom, fire, oysters, bubblegum pink, mortals, immortals, gods, demigods, vampires, lovers, beasts, princesses, Ringo Starr, I’ve done it all.


I make suffering sensual and find charm amongst sadness and self-pity.

I pick at infected scabs that infect no longer

make a competition of who has the most scars, who’s cried the most tears, pasting bandages

over cuts that were never there


I lie, don’t I?


lie that the sky is falling when it really isn’t


what for?


head directly to the flame when I’m crying bitter red-faced

like some deranged moth

in hopes of finding catharsis in hopes that the flame will reflect back to me exactly who I am or whom I have become

what for? 


So I promised myself


I won’t glamorize

won’t respond to curiosity with some      evasive bullshit      knowing it will prettily bathe me in the purple light of mystery

won’t stand for scars and their taffeta gleam

won’t sit on the edge of my balcony like some femme fatale

holding my dad’s juul in between my index and middle finger 

pretending to smoke a cigarette


but don’t believe in me


because I’m scared what happens after I let go,

I don’t know what will be left, 

if anything will be left at all


After all, clichés are my unfortunate favorite


I enjoy bathing in purple light even if

these violet delights have violet ends

what's in a promise anyway? 

That which we call a lie by any other name would smell as sour.


She is a lion with cold feet.


it was late at night and I held on too tight. My fingers were nearly purple. 

from an empty sea, a flash of red and green light. I asked if it was light from Wiltern Theater 

She didn’t answer and I asked her  ?why? 

She said her feet were cold and that we should go back in. 


She is a lion with cold feet. 

ironic, I know


we were       w i d e - e y e d       girls and always right

No, she was a       w i d e - e y e d     girl and always right

the city our playground and its people just holographs.


She went with a roar and I 





빨강 Red

We have way too many cigarettes in our house

My dad keeps them on hand always

His favorite brand is Marlboro

Marlboro Reds


Does she wear red?


Though he used to prefer Parliaments

That was before he found


Do you buy expensive watches for her because you can’t buy her rings?


Marlboro Red cigarettes

Attracting all the sad men in this world


Do you light her cigarette, dad?


with their reds and whites and blacks and golds

So ready to light up and smoke

TV, pig, frog

I eat

and eat

and eat to fill this black void inside of me

but it seems

that my void is not getting any smaller, as I had hoped

only I am growing bigger and bigger, physically I mean

I’m scared I’m just gonna be a frog with nothing but pickle friends

shit, I worry so much, sometimes I feel like I'm going to turn black and blue