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  • Millie Liao

INTERACTIVE: Recent Half-Finished Poems/Meditations: Dragonfruit Dreams, Samothrace, and more

I wanted to share some of my recent work that has yet to fully form, but has a general shape. Recently, I've been really occupied with preparing for my school-wide season play Our Town, which I was lucky enough to be cast in as Emily! But also due to that, I haven't been able to set aside as much time to write as I wish.


A photo of me in Our Town!! Taken by Kassi King, featuring my play mom Maya :)

So instead, I've compiled some of my works that are halfway done, with the hope that I can not only give ideas to all of you for what to write and create yourselves, but also encourage you all to give me feedback and add on to my framework so far. Think of these pieces as open prompts to freely rearrange and add onto, and I'll be sure to post your finished products as another post once they come in!


As I am interested in exploring through writing how art and history affect identity right now, especially from the perspective of immigrants or Chinese American heritage, some of these works will be related to those themes!! Check them out, and feel free to send in your own versions of these pieces to me through the "contact" page of the blogsite!


I. Dragonfruit Dreams, Draft 2


The wrinkles on waipo’s face tell me a story.


She whispers in my ears the secrets of generations as she plaits my jet black hair


The willow o'wisps spiraling down as I reach to catch them.


Each smiles up to me, these seeds as ancient as the ones that waipo plants in my head.


Of the snaking beast as it brought rain down after a year of drought, of the fiery avenger that danced with the might of a thousand enemies.


The fearlessness that it had donned as it traveled from sea to shining sea, from it’s rainy hometown to the land of tumbleweeds.


All these sights that I had never seen she places carefully in a jaded box within my mind’s eye.


Was it all real, waipo? These dragonfruit dreams?


Of course. They’re just as real as you.


Now, waipo plants her poky, fearsome plants in our backyard, willing the little ball of spikes to soften and its roots to take refuge in the unfamiliar land.


II. Samothrace


When we first met, I thought of Winged Victory of Samothrace. I remembered marble Nike, the beheaded woman of curtain drapes and long sunken boots,


and placing my hot sticky cheek on her breast to feel her heartbeat.


I wanted you to worship me,

fountain of your youth and

everlasting spring of your passion.


And as I swept the mountains on your

shoulders, trickled down the valleys of your spine,


I was remade, and the clear, crystal elixir (water) burst from my

exposed trachea

like the spurts of blood that came before, and it ran down my body and

gathered at my feet.


On that summer day, I

put my head on her thigh and I stuck out my tongue, and tasted

metallic rust and placid grainy mush.

And as saliva wet my drooping lips, I felt the water moving within me, flowing towards my mouth and then away, away.


III. [untitled]


Cold hands and feet thread through twisted

sheets, conspiring/conjoining/communicating

in soft glides, a tap, a tense, and a curl of toes

against each other. I am inside of the mattress,


buried under the surface as its foam-cake sides

tower over my hallowed space. Fissions seal and

worlds collide, far away some old man reaches an

epiphany from atop his philosopher's rock. "We,"


as in me and the world, no longer exists, and it

cannot be possible that it wasn't always this way.


IV. Dragonfruit Dreams, Draft 1


While the sun is still fast asleep nestled behind the Californian mountains, a single window of my house blinks into existence, the only light in our otherwise dark house.


A hunched figure in pink slippers and a nightgown shuffles down the stairs, and begins to get to work, despite the darkness of night still surrounding her. She swiftly prepares three lunchboxes, cooking the rice and heating the leftover tofu and string beans from last night. She then moves on to breakfast, boiling adzuki beans in the slow cooker with lotus seeds and tapioca. Finally, she grabs the big brown pot from its stationary place on the stove, emptying last night's medicine into the trash and adding the ginseng and herbs, a new batch from the Chinese doctor.


By the time her granddaughter joins her, she has steaming zhou ready,


V. Porcelain and Keys


The delicate string of wilted blue orchids lay disassembled like bodies of fallen soldiers amongst the curling strings of thin copper.


Wreckage left from last night’s dinner.


Weapon in hand, I destroyed. I yelled. I smashed the plates from Xinjiang, the mian bowls for stupid steaming Sichuan noodles.


I jammed the keys of the piano with their jagged edges, once smoothed over by some Miao crafstman, until the keys came undone, and the levers sprang up unevenly, and I no longer had to play.


I played. I toyed with the dislocated joints of the instrument that I hated, until I became like a monster, until I created a monster, a Frankenstonian abomination from the grand black structure.


In my head, thoughts rose like sharp porcelain pieces, and slashed the delicate ivory keys of the blasted piano until it could no longer sound, until I no longer had to be a good Chinese girl who played beautiful melodies.



-


And that's all for now!! I hope you enjoyed, and know that these are all very much based in fiction hehe :)


Please interact and give me your version of any of these poems, and as always, I write this


With love,


Millie

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