This meeting is not so different from the first. We come to each other as strangers again. The only difference is that the first time, other people’s hands had cracked our hearts, and this time, the pain is of our own making. This time, what separates us are the seven months since I have seen you. You’ve had a birthday. I’m recovering from a biking accident, and my left knee will never be the same. No time at all and still enough for us to grow out of each other.

I wonder how I will seem to you. This shirt is new. These highlights are new. This small talk, that is new, too. I tell you I’ve moved. You tell me about your fifth floor walk-up. These are things we should have already known about each other.

Everything about this is hard. You are in front of me with that laugh and those eyes, and I know I will cry about this later. But right now, I am too proud to uncross my arms and ask the questions burning the back of my throat. ‘What about her made you so excited? What about her made you want to stay? Do you search my features the same way I search yours for someone I will recognize?’

I’m still silently asking you to give me a mold to fill. Maybe I was too vulnerable for you last time. We were not quiet in the same ways. Tell me when this thunder inside me became too deafening. Tell me when you stopped wanting to find me at the heart of the storm. I’ll tell you when I started to give away the pieces of myself you handed back to me.

But I chose this. I’ve got a life sentence for being a glutton for punishment. I chose to see you again, to test whether my fists would unclench in your presence. And slowly, they loosened. These nail marks will fade, and someday, I won’t be scared to say your name next to someone else’s.
Carmen Ye l on seeing someone you love again 

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Why haven’t we broken this bed yet with the weight of our silent anger?
Carmen Ye l heavy

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I haven’t kissed anyone since you left
This speaks more to my palms
bruised from catching myself
as I fell out of love
than to the sacredness of your lips
Carmen Ye l unholy

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It shocks me out of my routine when you contact me. It means you’ve been thinking about me. Don’t. When you decided to walk away, you gave up the right to think about me in any capacity.
Carmen Ye l just let me go

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Tell me you’re bleeding
Tell me you’re lighter
Tell me you’re braver
Tell me you’ve written something free
that has been choking you
this whole time
Carmen Ye l when you write (for womyn of color)

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Some days hope
will flow like water, like sunlight
through your tired fingers

Other days
it will be easier to
hold hope like a friend, like roses
the weight of it both heavy
and light on your skin

It is these days that
you must keep close to
remind yourself tomorrow
does not (always) have teeth
Sometimes it will hold you
gently and with such longing
you’ll wonder when you turned so tender

And maybe your mother
was too busy molding you
into a braver version of herself

And maybe your father
was too busy building you
towers and castles to keep out his fears

But you, darling
with those sunken eyes and shining cheeks
You have always
always been worth the fight
Carmen Ye l this took me twice as long to write as a love poem but it is still a love poem 

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A: It must be exhausting, writing about one person all the time.



B: Not as exhausting as it is to be written about. Can you imagine hurting someone so deeply, you are all they can bleed? So as long as you aren’t tired of finding our past bared in these lines, I am not tired of stripping our mistakes to find the person I was before you and tell her: The moon is still full, with or without you. Chocolate is sweet in the same ways, and so is kissing. Solitude tastes different but that is ok. Mornings feel different too but I’m learning to wrap my arms around more than the idea of someone.

Carmen Ye l dialogue #3

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for immigrant daughters

aaww-write:

Every time I call my grandmother, she asks when I am coming home. She does not mean for a visit. She wants to know I am packing, I am yearning, I am finally becoming the granddaughter and daughter my family hoped for. I do not know how to tell her my feet are always planted by her bedside, my…

on being a writer

"I don’t know how you might feel about my reading your writing, but for what it’s worth, I think it’s beautiful, and at the same time, it hurts to read, because you express pain so exactly and because I know you attribute at least some of that pain to me. I hope it’s helping you process and I’m at least happy to see that your writing is getting more recognition because you are a wonderful writer."

Turning my writing and poetry into something more than a few scattered pieces has been a difficult path this year. I started this blog, submitted to anthologies and magazines and fellowships, and am really claiming my voice. It has been challenging, to say the least, and I’ve faced more rejections than acceptances, but what is the end game? Is it to gain recognition and be published in as many places as possible? Because I’m not doing so well on that end.

But if it’s to create a place where my words can speak others’ truths, then perhaps I’m making some progress. Sometimes I check the tags under reblogs, and when y’all write “I’m gonna cry” or “this hurts,” I feel a deep measure of pride beyond notes or likes. Thank you for being vulnerable. 

As a woman of color, I’m trying to move in a direction that speaks more to those experiences. I built this blog off my heartbreak and relationship pieces, and while I’m sure I will write more on those themes, heartbreak comes from many different places. I’m cultivating a space and words that are authentic to my identity, and I’m drawing inspiration from aaww-nyc, nayyirahwaheed, and yrsadaleyward, to name a few.

I’m digging deep(er) for the right words to remember my childhood, make peace with my mother, forgive the men who have torn me open, and love myself. And that is the end game. I’m excited to continue growing this blog and myself. Thank you all for sharing this journey. 

A: How do you know when it’s time to leave someone?



B: When you’re no longer good for each other.

Carmen Ye l dialogue #2

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