To the one who stay to love me Thank you, thank you, thank you I know I’m not always easy to deal with I know my brand of crazy doesn’t always bring out the best of me I know that my anger makes me a monster sometimes But you’ve stayed and dealt with it the best way you could Either calling me out when I’m dramatic or expressing your concern when I’m salty or impulsive The sense of community you’ve given me feels like my life’s remedy You’ve never asked me to change and really love and accept me
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and I wanted to honor it by sharing my spotify playlist from my favorite Asian American and Pacific Islander Artists. I have a special connection to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders because I grew up in Hawaii. Some of my favorite people are Asian American like my childhood friends and my oldest son. Growing up in Hawaii, I listened to various Asian American and Pacific Islander artists like Iz, Hawaiian Style Band, Fiji, Kai, etc. I had the pleasure of seeing Fiji in a concert in Hawaii in the 90s. Recently, I’ve discovered other artists like Olivia Rodrigo, Conan Gray and Joji.
I started listening to Olivia Rodrigo in the summer and fall of 2021. To say that I was obsessed with her music would be the understatement of the year. Alexa still wakes me up with “Good 4 U” every morning (I haven’t figured out how to change it to something else-tbh-lol). Rodrigo’s debut album “Sour” really resonated with me on every level when I was going through a rough time in my life. There’s even hilarious videos of me drunk singing some of these songs (I watch them sometimes if I ever need to laugh-haha). I listened to Sour so many times, two of my sons know the lyrics to “Traitor” and sometimes for fun, we sing it at Family Karaoke Night.
In the fall of 2022, I discovered Conan Gray. Well, it’s more like I became obsessed with his song “People Watching” and then I listened to the rest of the album “Superache” and every single song resonated with me. Gray songwriting resonates to that angsty and angry side of me that feels so jaded when it comes to love. His songs “Family Line” and “Jigsaw” also resonate with me because like him, I’ve also had to deal with my own share of family trauma and feeling kind of an outcast. His personal style is also dramatic and I love that. In a way, he’s inspired to really embrace that side of me that tends to be dramatic. Other songs of his that I became way too obsessed with were “Astronomy” and “Heather”. “Heather” also served as inspiration for a long poem I wrote in January. This might be cringe but the video for “Heather” even inspired a couple of poses for a couple of pictures. Also, IMHO, Conan Gray is the most beautiful person in the world to me. My kids hate it when I tell them, “you’re almost as beautiful as Conan Gray”. They tell me it’s wrong for some reason but it’s the truth. Speaking of my kids, my middle son kind of lowkey hates him. Maybe it’s because either “Heather” or “People Watching” has woken him up one too many times.Idk. My oldest son thinks that my obsession with Conan Gray is just creepy because they’re both the same age. However, I can’t control what makes my moody heart happy and gets obsessed with. Maybe one day, I’ll find this post cringe and be like wtf was I thinking but let it be a day far, far away into the future. Now let’s move on, to my next obsession, Joji.
Okay, so my oldest son introduced me to Joji sometime in early 2022 with the song “Glimpse of Us”. I remember telling him, “this song is too sad, it’s the kind of song that’s perfect for unaliving yourself ” (I know that might seem a bit extreme but that was my gut reaction to the song). Anyways, I didn’t start listening again to Joji until the winter of 2022 when the weather was cold and I was in a low mood. Something about his voice and his songwriting really struck a chord with the angst and sadness I was feeling at the time. Then, I had a major depression episode in January of this year and Joji became the soundtrack to that depression. I remember wearing my beanie every single day because I was too lazy to style my bangs and listening to “Die for You” on repeat . Joji’s music really got me through that episode and in this weird way gave me hope. Of course, I made the choice to go back to therapy during that episode. When I listen to “Glimpse of Us” and “Die for You” I think back to the earlier versions of myself I’m still trying to find compassion for and make peace with. I know that might sound weird but to me it makes sense. I also love the song, “Sanctuary” so much so, it’s been an inspiration for a few of my most recent poems. Joji’s style is also kind of dramatic which I really love.
Below is my AAPI Appreciation Playlist, I hope y’all enjoy it.
I wrote this poem in February of this year inspired by my oldest son.
the guilt visits me over the mother I should have been I should have been older, wiser, married but instead you ended up with an immature teen mom who read you Stephen King instead of fairy tales who played you Matchbox Twenty instead of lullabies who wore you on my hip like a new fashion accessory who missed the signs early on that you were different because I was too self absorbed looking for love but what’s done can’t be undone- I hope one day you understand I did the best I could with what I had
Happy international Nurse’s Day to all the nurses and especially my favorite nurse, my sister. We’ve had a complicated relationship through most of my life but within the past few years, our relationship has gotten a lot better. I have more to say about this but that calls for a longer blog post in the future. Today, I want to honor her for being the awesome human being that she is. Below is a picture of us at a concert we went in July of 2022 and a poem I wrote in December of 2021 when she turned 47.
To My Sister On Her 47th birthday
you’re 3 years away 50 but still look like you’re in your 30’s Has anyone told you how amazing you are? Have our parents loved you out loud?
I’ve always admired you for your fortitude and resilience but wish for you to have peace and an opportunity to be soft
I get it though – It is hard to be soft in a society that expects you resemble a tower of strength, where you take care of everyone first and put yourself last It was something you had to learn at a young age
you used to be the Villian in my book at times, but lately I think of you as the victim and the victor_
You’re a victim of life- the victim because of the pressure you were put under for being the oldest the victim for being a woman of color in a racist and sexist society
But you’re also the victor- the victor never giving up- no matter how fucked up life got for you the victor for facing shit head on without any fucks and with an intimidating confidence (maybe that’s why I was jealous)
oh sister of mine, on your 47th year-I hope. you get to sit and enjoy the wonderful life you’ve created
The debut collection of poems Visceral from Melia Cogan is appropriately named since it will make you feel a multitude of intense emotions internally. As a person that feels intense emotions, I loved this book. The book is divided into 3 sections titled Love, Rage, and Death. Reading this book felt like going through a roller coaster of emotions-from sexy to anger to sadness. Personally, for me, this is a good thing. I resonate with poetry that makes me feel my emotions. I picked my favorite poem from each section. This was hard since all the poetry in this collection is amazing.
The first section Love captures the magical feeling of what it’s like to be in love, make love, and be loved. Her poems in this section makes even the most jaded of us feel like there is a world where love is possible. The first poem “Daemon-Lover” leaves you breathless with the raw emotion and sensuality felt throughout the poem. The second stanza is fire as it states, “With a spirit strong as seventy/As his throbbing passion sears me/ With its ‘blind encompassing throbbing power ”(Cogan, 22-25) It makes you feel like you are witnessing passion on display. You might have to take a cold shower after reading this poem. The other poems in this section not only capture the passion of being in love but also the complexity of other feelings that come with it.
The next section of the book is Rage, and you feel the anger and rage within this section.
My favorite poem in this section is Women’s Inheritance which captures the essence of what’s like being a woman in the 21st century. It addresses the misogyny that our modern patriarchal society continues to administer to women. The poem also conveys the disappointment that women feel after being used and discarded nonchalantly by men. The sixth stanza captures this feeling as it states, “Finally, you who I love with my whole self / Could not display this mythical manly bravery/ To tell me the truth/ Why not?” (Cogan, 30-33). The other poems in this section captures the anger felt with different experiences in life ranging from expectations in relationships to abandonment issues. Cogan expresses a raw truth about anger that most people are afraid to express and that is a kind of bravery you don’t see often.
The last section is Death and I’ll just say that you should have a box of tissues by your side because it will probably make you cry. In this section, Cogan is versatile in exploring the theme of death. In this section, my favorite poem is Remember Me for the Birthdays which is how the poet wants to be remembered by her loved ones. The eleventh stanza conveys this as it states, “Remember how I filled you with the urge/to push forward and explore/To engage life, expanding in all good directions” (Cogan, 37-40). Cogan is skillful at portraying grief in a conscientious manner that’s both thoughtful and respectful.
Melia Cogan brings a raw vulnerability and talent to her debut collection. I highly recommend this poetry collection if you are looking for a versatile collection that explores the depth of the human experience. I’m excited to read and review her next poetry book, Love Pangs. Below are the links for both Visceral and Love Pangs.
There are so many stories within me aching to get out every single one wants to be a priority but which one do I pick first most are dramatic, some are angry and sad, a few are happy and lovely every story is important in a life full of chaos and trauma I don’t know why I attract so much drama So I’m going to tell each story Because I own everything that’s happened to me Because I’m finally taking myself seriously
When I was little, I was often lost in daydreams about America It was beautiful and blue I pictured a celestial and warm ocean where the waves tenderly touch my toes I was taught it was a better existence than the one we were living in but no one told me that dreams sometimes don’t come true and the reality of America was filled with a hardness that even 35 years later I’m still processing indentured servitude, exploitation, depression, addiction,racism, mental illness were just a few side effects of going for the American dream
When darkness comes in and my sadness sets in it covers me and I can’t see the point of it all And then I hear a knock and it’s my son And I remember, today he’s my life’s purpose I need to get up and face another dreadful day My child needs food and shelter I can’t let my depression win I’m a mother first My darkness will have to be martyred Remembering over and over again on days like today my child’s presence makes my bad days worth living
At 41, my mother worked two jobs, raised 3 kids, and still kept the spark in her marriage alive I don’t know how she did it all without ever breaking apart- I don’t remember ever seeing her cry but I do remember her temper, her anger and being afraid of her sometimes
Characters: RON- age 67 CHLOE-age 24 LANDON-age 36
Ron’s Apartment, there are piles of stuff everywhere, picture frames hanging on the wall. Ron is sitting on the couch chewing beef jerky watching the TV. There is a knock on the door. It is his daughter Chloe . It’s about 3 PM and Ron is still in his pajamas. Ron, disgruntled, gets up to answer the door. Chloe is carrying a bunch of groceries in her hand.
RON:( opens door) Whadda ya want? CHLOE: Oh geesh! Is that any way to greet your loving daughter ? RON: Eh, you were interrupting me doing something important. CHLOE: Sure, sure… now could you help me out wit one of of these bags before one of my arms falls off. RON: (he takes one of the bags) Eh-I don’t know why you need to buy all of this stuff. CHLOE: You mean your medicines, food, basic necessities for you to survive on. A basic ( CHLOE almost trips on a miscellaneous food wrapping) thank you would suffice. I told you to clean up some yesterday-you know the landlord— RON: Landlord, shmanlord, She always threatens the same crap. “I will throw you out if you don’t clean. All bark, no bite. The old biddy shouldn’t care about what I do in the comfort of my own home as long as I pay her rent. CHLOE: (starts to sit down-removing several car magazines) I wouldn’t be so sure of this. You know she has handed management over to her son. Do you really need all of these issues of Car and Ride magazines? RON: Bug off! Will you? Nobody asks you to come over! CHLOE: Dad (CHLOE goes to RON to put her hand on RON’s shoulder) It’s been over six months since mom died, perhaps-
RON shoos CHLOE’s hand away
RON: I don’t want to talk about it. It’s none of your damn business! CHLOE: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…it’s just— RON: Nothing. You are worrying about nothing.
There is an awkward moment of silence as RON has his back to CHLOE. CHLOE is trying to come up with something to say.
CHLOE: I guess I should go (CHLOE starts to get up tentatively) I have another errand to run. RON: Good. I wouldn’t want your old man getting in the way of you doing anything important. CHLOE: God! I just wish you wouldn’t be so… RON: So what? CHLOE: Nothing. I’ll leave you to your “important” tv watching.
CHLOE skips swiftly to the door
CHLOE: Bye dad.
RON goes back to sitting on the couch with a blank look on his face and stares at the TV.