I am not pretty,

I confess;

But I will love (you)

While you ask me to bid goodbye.

I won’t even write about hope

any (more),

yours is a granite door painted-shut,


I won’t write about

fireplaces and your lips on my shoulders

deep long talks about birthing dreams

climbing mountains

a house with lots of windows


and pillows

hands curling feet by the lake.

I said hold on, give me a second;

And you didn’t wait

not a second, not for me,

but (quickly) filed me away in that category

full of index cards and manila folders,

misshapen lives and unwanted women.

That’s where I belong now,

in a gray metal cabinet,

while you look on with distaste.

Like I am a lemon while all you want is chocolate

lava cake.

Before I knew it,

we were reduced to a plain waste

of a contract, your cold hard math

and unilateral decisions,

like human relationships don’t matter,

like I never once brought you any joy.


My Benjamin Button

You will always look like this—
In dry-cleaned suits,
Combing your hair to the side.
Wax. Pick. Groom.
Complaining about being too fat,
Too mad, 

sad, bad,

I watch you grow
And older, stuck in time;
Regressing, swinging,
The uncontrolled jazz
Of our laughter
And confusion.

Sometimes the happiest music,
Carry the saddest lyrics,
Like dancing sound;
Or my shoes
When they come to your bed.
I am that love
Spilling out of your sink;
Like dirty dishes,
Screaming eternal sunshine,
this is home.

You wandered too far,
And I wait in black and white;
While you break things
And invade my mind
Like warm feet on a cold morning.

Now I shoot paper pigeons
Out into the wild;
If you remember Paris,
Or poems,
Or me.

It is silent
And final,
Without your complaints.

On Forgiveness


I find forgiveness to be such an overused and worn out word. It has been said to be one of the expressions of love and kindness–some say the way of being perfected. If mercy means to not mete out the punishment deserved (justice), and forgiveness means to release someone from the debt (condemnation) that stems from the wrong done to your personhood (the boundaries of your mind, will, emotions, body, loved ones) or property, I think perhaps from now on I will say, “I release you from everything you have ever done, including humiliation, deceit and betrayal. You owe me nothing, no less, no longer.”

And if grace (unmerited favor) means to not only forgive (release), but to do good to them (Christ-like), then Christ help us all! I’m running on empty with grace.

I think practicing forgiveness might be all I can muster right now. Let’s not push it.


Pain and disease awaken us to convictions which are necessary to our moral condition.
– Samuel Johnson (a/k/a Dr. Johnson) (“The Great Cham of Literature”)

A Multitude of Sins


Look at that lady poking around Aisle 7 at the grocery store,

her husband beats her when he’s drunk. Tell her she’s loved.

That businessman showing off his fancy Rolex and climbing

into his red convertible. His father hates him and calls him

stupid and useless. Tell him you’re proud of him.

The homeless man who is sleeping in an alley

somewhere in Santa Monica, he can’t forgive himself

for what he did in Vietnam but he knows Jesus forgives him

and he prays to God every night.

Tell him he’s forgiven and give him a bowl of cherries.

God knows he hasn’t had cherries for a really long time.

© Alicia Khoo

NaPoWriMo Day 25

Kissing in the Rain


You are paid to waltz with me;
What do you know about love

but wedding dresses that never come off?
(Hollywood and Disneyland lied to you)

I may grant you my body
a little bit of time

but you will never have my mind.
When money, sex, love, desire, power

all mean nothing,
isn’t that power in itself?

I guess all we have left between us
is politics, poetry, and small talk,

gliding up and down the halls,
defiant, breathtaking, sorrowless.

© Alicia Khoo

NaPoWriMo Day 20

Poem I created from Estella’s POV in Great Expectations


We call it

wolf tooth moon;

I raise my glass,

drink my fill of wind and snow.

Cycles of revolution by

intoxicated mortals

in this drunken era,

your grand plans are like

three thousand streams

of fresh water flowing east.

All the books of history

have scattered to dust,

I use my lack of regrets to

carve a tablet of devotion.

(You manifest into a butterfly)

If you squander this life away,

I raise my glass of wine

and promise to do the same

(so you are never alone);

I drink in wind and snow.

© Alicia Khoo

NaPoWriMo Day 17

Poem inspired by my translation of a contemporary, neo-classical Mandarin love song,

Fa Ru Xue (Your Hair is Like Snow) by Jay Chou

Music video found here:

Enjoy! 🙂