Passions: 27 Poems and 4 Stories about Love and Heartbreak by Young Asian Writers (AsianVoices)

These poems and stories about love were originally posted on the AsianVoices Website (1997-2004), a site I created that featured poetry and fiction by young Asian writers. 

Countless Letters, Countless Words

Countless letters, countless words
Be with me quietly
While the sun is fading away.

Faraway rosy clouds, faraway stars
Will they sing a lullaby
Let you sleep as sweet as a baby?

Countless yearnings, countless dreams
I want to tell you
Through the lonely nights.

Faraway breezes, faraway rain
Will they send you all my wishes
When my heart sings?

Who said
we must say goodbye, someday
once we met?
Who said
that’s the way life is?

I’m still waiting
waiting for you to return
When will I see you again?

~ Shiron Lai (Hong Kong)


I can never see you clearly
But only feel you, the airy you
with my sore soul
from the shimmering moonlight on the lake.
For there’s always a layer of foggy air
in between, you and me.
I’m too weak
just too weak to break through.
Never, never could I do.
So, silently, in my own world,
a private movie theatre
I write our stories, silently.
A ramble in drizzles is enough
or sometimes a conversation please.
Dare not ask for more
for more means luxurious
I know
the more beautiful the illusions are
the more pain I feel.
Will you forgive me
if I steal your name
steal your shadow
to weave a life-long love affair
of you and me, secretly
without you saying yes.
That’s all I can take from you
not your love
not your soul
not even your smell
You make my heart ache.

~ Shiron Lai (Hong Kong)

The Wall

The wall is crying
Tears drop along its face
like a river.
Vapour floods, everywhere
Dew sucks all surface
stuffs every pore.
So stifling
The breath of muggy days
is as damp and sticky
as blood
too dense to bleed, too heavy,
it sends out
the odour of death
fishy and sickish.
Our love
being bred in this rainy season
is so wet and musty
can’t light a flame
can’t make a bubble
All still, then we drown.

~ Shiron Lai (Hong Kong)


No sound No sound
at all between two people.
The soft roaming of the bus engine
and the quacking of people around
seem no business of ours.
I can feel the warmth of his body,
though no warmth from his heart.
Scenes from the window
are moving backward.
Silence prolongs the span, I wonder
why the bus is moving so slow
and the journey seems never-ending.

No sound No sound
at all between us.The peaceful
atmosphere brings two hearts together.
No eloquence is needed for
complete understanding.
Eyes touch, smiles meet
No words spoken yet true communication.
The roaring of the engine does not bother us.
We, hands together,
Live in a world of our own.

~ Katie Luk Wai-yu (USA)

4 a.m.

Your radiant smile is
Forever engraved on my heart-
Intoxicated by victory I am,
Possessed by love.

~ Stacey Ng (Hong Kong)

The Unpruding of Eliot

how do I get past the phase of ‘getting to know’?
how do I show I’m more than my Mango clothes?
how can I get him to show himself intellectual?
how do I know, how do I know?

is it me you’re looking at?
or this flowery skirt of knee-calf length?
is it my scent or the cognac?
this is as good as it gets.

so I’m hurt enough,
and fate is misled by my signals.
therefore I shall not look,
for to look is to want,
to want the want to die.
however I will watch,
watch the dancers unfold
the treasurous breaking day
in the disfigured street.
but human kind
cannot bear very much reality.

oh, I love u too.
n I guess that’s all.
neither more nor less, not here nor
there; just a thought that’s all,
that will not swirl into a ‘Him’ anymore.

I’ll have him screw me among the sheets of paper stained by his geniuty

instill his seeds of bleakness n unin-
telligible light of enlightenment into our bodies.

it’s just the whole idea of screwin a genius writer.

might he go mad screwing me,
just like he lets flow of his genius feats?
do I dare, do I dare?

do I dare screw him on the paper strewn table?

Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
That blows before and after time,
Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs
Time before and time after.

screwed on the paper strewn table,
time before and time after.

~ Nicole Leong (Singapore and England). Commenting on this poem, Nicole writes: “A sort of polyphony in IRC style. It speaks of literary women’s disillusionment with Philistinic males. T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets is being quoted to illustrate the fantastical ‘union’ with the poet/critic. The oddity of mango clothes: Mango is the brand of a popular fashion label which has created quite a phenomenon in Singapore. A report on the popularity of the Spanish label appeared on the local newspaper The Straits Times.”

A Letter

A love letter drops
in the compressed, rotten box
Ugly words tremble

~ Lydia Lee Ying-i (Hong Kong)

Embracing Love

Time froze at the back of his mind
A stage of displaying a moment of truth
Memories of blissful pictures
got sorted out into an exhibition of expression

They both watched together as the drama proceeded
“How much is salt worth?” He asked.
“Never as much as a person embracing love, turning salt into light,
putting light into the life of others.”

He and she both together played a role
A moment of perfect symphony
Colour of Blindness
Appeared in the background,
Seated side by side with the harmonic conversation
of two naked bodies.

Salt, heated up uncontrollable desire
transforming passion into light
Shine the valley of
experimental future.

Embracing love
The lava plateau
forms a petal of silvery unity
radiated with distinctive uniqueness.

Love was, love is and love will be.
Salt turned into the light
that you and I desire.

~ Vivian Chiang (Hong Kong)


Baptise me with your love
Offer me a new life
Reborn, rejoice and resurrect

Knowing the other’s thoughts
We share the same breath
We take the same step
We suffer the same pain.

Love is but a dream,
they said.
Yet what more can I yearn for?

Love is but blindness,
they said.
Then I wish I never see again, as
your love is my lifelong refuge.

Though I wish so much that I was in love!
seeing your mere existence
would put an end to imagination.
But I dream, I dream
I dream and I dream.

~ Vivian Chiang (Hong Kong)


Her heart cut by a thousand knives
he keeps stabbing her in the back
dried blood like a parched riverbed.
She utters the love song
they once sang together
purple lips shiver
yet only silence
is restored.

Tears runs from the dark grey plateau
he tells the truth a hundred and one times
her eyes open wide as a pool of black honey
She blinds herself
happily seeing the reflection of lies
in the mirror of her heart.

Pain strangling her soul
he spreads salt over her wounds
to endless, soundless screams.
She smiles and thinks of the day
when their love was still strong
yet the image
starts fading fast.

Dreams shatter
sycamore dies
blood from Cupid’s eyes.
Her spirit transcends
into the mist of

~ Vivian Chiang (Hong Kong)


Lips touching my lips
Is this a kiss or a beat?
The heart you can’t seek

~ Kevin Ling (Hong Kong)

Exhaling a Precious Gift

the taste of sweet pleasures
with wild oak trees
and penny candy
the sound of laughter
as the tears rolls down my cheeks
we cry rivers
at how hilarious you make me feel
feeling like life is a carnival
and silence only causes bitterness
you become my attachment
and we stick to each other
like kin
our wild thoughts
become reality
and this is the way
it feels like
to be in

~ Zahura Blake (USA)

Love’s Language

Love is a language
Hard to understand.
It has a complicated syntax
And conflicting demands.

When you listen closely
Do you hear a single voice
Or jumble of a jumble of conflicting messages and noise?

The human heart!
What a poorly designed machine!
It doesn’t function correctly all the all the time
Or come with guarantees.

~ Tim Newfields (USA and Japan)


At the beginning of
our new found time
in a moment of intense stillness
in the hills of winter
where a little snow has fallen
you laugh and pick up some ice.

You hold it melting in your hand.
I open your fingers,
gleam of clear water on your skin.

We understand all in that moment.
Everything that follows
is a moving away from that time, that place;

so we persist in our dreams
and quiet memory of ourselves together,
insist on those few seconds
when we understood all
and a little ice melted
in the warm fingers of love.

(17 August 1993)

~ Andrew Parkin (Hong Kong)


It is like I was hitchhiking. So I waved and got picked up in a car going somewhere. I did not care where I was going as long as I had a companion. But after a short ride, just when I was getting comfortable, he dropped me off in the middle of nowhere and said he did not want anyone in the car. I did not do anything wrong. Yes, it was his car but it is common decency to drop people off somewhere neat. Before he left, he even gave me some advice. He said, with a lot of brain , “If you can’t find your way out, it is your problem. Can’t help you; I really don’t want to take anyone.”

~ Joanna Sio (Hong Kong)

When Fools Fall In Love!

When fools fall in love,
Love is at its peak,
As fools possess minds weak,
And a true heart is all they seek!

When fools fall in love,
They fall in nothing else,
“Love disregards ego satisfaction?their heart tells,
Hence in a fool’s heart true love dwells!

A fool loves and loves,
He does nothing else,
And hence, loses the one whom he loves,
But still he loves her, no one else!

A fool’s heart is a devotee,
Of true love, come what may whatever be,
If to buy love possible it would be,
Then love would lose all its beauty!

Love is a different world
For each different heart,
But only fools possess the art,
To love truly their counterpart!

They love truly,
And hence aren’t loved truly,
This is an irony truly,
But nevertheless they love truly!

Fools know how to love truly,
But they do it endlessly,
The wise manipulate love truly,
And deal with it thoughtfully,
But how can love be love,
When thought intervenes,
Then it is not love,
But a trade so mean!!

However, true love always survives,
Though fools can’t marry their could be wives,
Their love though one-sided, stays alive!

And folks, only a fool can know such traits of a fool,
And it goes without saying, that I am a fool,
And hence I possess a heart truthful,
When fools fall in love,
Legends of love they create,
A true heart is a fool’s privilege,
Their love is immortal,
It defies the test of age!

~ Saurabh N. Turakhia

A Bird

A bird, she did cry on my shirt
and no one knew why she was hurt
I dried up her tears
For more than a year
And hope she will never more flirt.

~ Kitty Chong (Hong Kong)

Letting Go

The uneasiness of letting it go
The fear of exposing
The veiled horrible self within
And the expected
Hideous… rotten from the prolonged hesitation
Seeing the slowly coming mutual hatred
Soaking its way up to all the cracks within the once healthy whole
I kneel and pray
That the wound of amputation is going to heal
Without effort

~ Joanna Sio (Hong Kong)

Hot Chili Peppers

We are just standing
Side by side but without touching
In a spicy kitchen
Staring, silently, at the bubbling of the hot sauce with chili pepper
Green and red and green and red and red
Warm, dreamy and half hypnotized
I try to connect with you through telepathy
Via the hesitating smoke that surrounds us
You turn to me and smile
And I smile back
I know you know it is not the food that makes me happy

~ Joanna Sio (Hong Kong)

Wet Days

I wake up to wet days
alone, with barely a memory of you;
and nothing warms,
nothing in me stirs without you.

my bed is cold as concrete
and dreary as the skies;
passing clouds sweep away
the feel of your hands in mine.

~ Nine Suba (The Philippines)


Halfway into your blueshirt,
You whisk dreamless conversations we never had
into self-inflicted wounds of words,
rayon textured, spun dry and hung
midway between the sky and my periwrinkles.
I watch intently, hooknosed and sharp-beaked,
planing at every crease my iron forgot,
planning the day’s grocery list from your frowns,
and, still, mussing your hair, I left—
A fleeting shadow across mine and your picture
hung across a cross of drapery you called feminine.

Tie-knot slips. And you are back to square one,
redressing intimacies that should stranger us;
the act—a hungered top-heavy bereavement,
from absentminded ice-cubed trays, empty
to accusing toilet seats, left standing indignant.
Eyeing you, I ease your slippered foot,
hardcased in pigskin leather, evening brushed
leavened with rising morning expectations
and now, dropped cruelly.

You do a quick half-step, missing tabletops,
missing my upturned lips, you blow into them:
a soft acquiesce, imprinting airwise, love.
I will pull the door’s handle and let you go.

~ Tan Tiong-cheng (Singapore)


In the darkness of a room,
a velvet covered box lies,
opened once but never again.
since hearing anguished cries.

In the darkness of the box.
a golden ring lies
wrapped in broken promises
since hearing anguished cries.

~ Lydia Lee Ying-i (Hong Kong)

Love in Cantonese

If I were a lantern maker
I would hum conspiratorial love charms
Into every woven thread
On the lamp I give you.

If I were a bamboo scaffolder
My heart would burst
As I roared like a lion
Wonderous operatic cadences
From the fortieth floor.

If I were a fisherman,
I could never catch this same fish twice-
The moonfish . . .
They’re so very hard to find.

And if I were a student
Every lesson I could learn from you
Would be a golden paradigm
I could give to everyone in characters so high
They’d reach the strato-cumulii

~ for Rosa

~ Roddy Scott (Hong Kong)

I seek you now

My eyes will never look at the sky the same way again…
The warmth of the sun shall not remedy my soul in the way…you found…
you now know,
The glow of the moon will no longer illuminate me….like you did…illuminate my walkway…

The calm in your walk, the movement as you stray, takes me back….
whispering….still….and today,
Your look…Pause!…Breathe!…The look of your eyes, its exhausts me as I miss it dearly,
With each grasp of air I take…. to know you’re not near….if you only knew how crumbled I feel…

I feel you still…I close my eyes…to feel you still,
The touch of you I have pictured in my mind,
Your touch of me…I feel you still….
I’m picturing the laughter you awoke in me….
The caress you laid…oh!!…Pause!…but if only you knew the serenity
and the protection you instilled in me….

I seek you now.…with my heart….but I hope you’ve not seen me,
for only your shoulders are to know of my presence…

Onto you I wish you peace…I seek you now…with my heart….so that you will know how much I miss you, I do not regret that I love you…I seek you now…
with my heart…but just remember, only a smile I will always wear…
for upon you I spiritually pray and remove all your sadness, loneliness and dispare….

I raise my hand to feel you now….if only I could do just that…

My eyes will never look at the sky the same way again,
The warmth of the sun shall not remedy my soul in the way…you found…you now know,
The glow of the moon will no longer illminate me….like you did…illuminate my walkway…

Forgive me…but within me, love has kept me this way.…

~ Olga M. Soto

The Clock

I pulled out the battery from that gray blue clock in my room
All three hands stopped and went dead that second
As dead as my heart when I left you
Recalling a day that now seems so very far away
I have let that clock stand still for over a year
As if time itself ceased; life is nothing without you near
Not to worry, because I promise to come back some day
Just at the time when the battery is returned
Just at the time when the clock will run free.

~ C. Y. Lee


As twilight came, stars gathered sitting
By the moon, and the daisies slept,
I had a memorable evening with him
At the back of the farm house.

Night comes, all the stars disappear
As the moon hides, and daisies are
Trampled, I ask the vile wind
What made him go?

Time is brutal. Time forgets.
Dissatisfied with time, as it seems
To stop, allowing me to reflect.
Tired of darkness without stars
I leave with no tears in this quiet night

~ William Cheng (Hong Kong)

When I think of love (Sense Poem)

When I think of love, I see a pair of swans
When I think of love, I hear songs from a seashell
When I think of love, I taste sweet watermelon
When I think of love, I smell hot chocolate
When I think of love, I feel your warm hands

~ by Mandy Chan Dik-man

Love Letters

“Have you found any love letters in your locker? Are there any boys staring at you in class?”

Mother kept asking me questions like that since last Tuesday, when a Mr. Chan had phoned me at 11:30p.m while I was out with Father.

Having studied in a Girls’ school for so many years – from kindergarten through to Form Seven, I could count the number of boys I knew using the fingers on one hand. Even after I entered a university, two hands were enough for the count, and I had never received a phone-call from a boy before. Mother said that a boy who phones you after 11:00 p.m. must be infatuated with you. Of course I wanted to know who he was, but to make a good guess was not easy because I have never known the boys well enough to know their last names. So, who was that Mr. Chan?

Continue reading Love Letters: A Story by Laura Lam (Hong Kong)


In the cinema, Mark’s arm had migrated in search of her, and the presence of this arm, suddenly filled Alison with a sudden flush of longing and confusion. A puritan instinct asked if she should move away, and if terrible retribution would be meted out if she held a hand she was not sure about. She briefly entertained the thought of kissing him. In ten minutes, she changed her mind and shifted away uncomfortably. But she allowed the hand to remain there. What the heck! she thought to herself and abandoned herself to the moment.

To understand her revulsion and desire would mean understanding how the previous barren months had gradually led to a sudden suspicion of all men, and eventually herself. Some love gurus would have called it a refusal to ‘let go’, so as to speak. But she believed that it was simply not the right person. But was there a right person?

The prospect of the relationship took on mythic dimensions: there was a moment in the future they could seem to anticipate in their idyllic, carefree moments. But whenever there was boredom, irritation or anxiety she would reconsider those feelings. In the romance novels the quest for love was beguiling and thrilling. In real life things were more bewildering, and even frustrating. They went on dates but they were not dates, really. How could they be when they were only seeing each other casually? Alison’s faith in intuitive understanding was also starting to wane when he said, sometimes teasingly and sometimes not, “I think you don’t need to guess how I feel, you are usually wrong.”

Continue reading Hands: A Story by Ng Xiao-yee (Singapore)

The Stranger

Miranda’s throat was parched as she stared at the photo album on top of her marble dresser. The night before, she climbed a chair and opened the cabinet on top of her closet and rummaged through old files to find the album with golden bells embossed on its cover. She hadn’t browsed through this book in months, and the only reason she decided to do it now, was because of the conversation she had a few days before while she had lunch with Zeny, a psychologist friend.

“So what’s up with you?” Zeny had asked.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Miranda babbled between bites of tapa and garlic fried rice that had become a regular order because it instantly filled up the emptiness in her stomach. “You know about Adrian, right? Well, you know he’s married and stuff but that’s not what’s bothering me. Sometimes I look at him and wonder if it’s really worth continuing and all. I’m quite sure I’m not in love with him, but when he calls and asks to see me I find myself wearing my best skirts. Then, when I do see him, I wonder who he really is. You know, who he really is in my life.”

“Aren’t you wondering how his wife would feel if she found out about the two of you?” Zeny asked as she took a sip of her iced-tea.

Miranda shrugged. “I really don’t care.” She dipped her tapa in vinegar and chewed on it. “Sometimes I think about Anna, but I’m not particularly fond of her, if you know what I mean. And after a night with Adrian, it’s like I feel, I don’t know, like my stomach burns or is full or something. Like I’m not hungry anymore.”

Zeny nodded and put her glass down. “How did you meet him?”

Continue reading The Stranger: A Story by Sacha Calagopi (The Philippines)

The Pendulum

The mobile stops ringing when Zach opens his eyes. He sits up on the bed and rests his forehead on the wall, unable to shake off the dream. Walking down the stairs he steps into the shifting sand when he is not looking. His feet, his thighs, his waist…he feels the heat on his shoulders, swallowing his head. Everything—the stairs, the building, the streets—sinks onto the sand, which shines golden in the sun under the clear blue sky.

Finally he called. Zach throws his phone onto his pillow and gets up. He can hardly keep his eyes open as he walks into the living room. His mother drew up the curtains last night. Hope she won’t come for another week. He opens the fridge, grabs a bottle of milk, and sees the bills under his wallet on the table. Always piling up. The alarm clock next to the TV has stopped, one leg dangling when Zach shakes it. The one on the wall says 1pm. Zach looks back and forth the two clocks and wonders what time means. 4pm meeting Dr. Chung about thesis on criminal psychology. 6pm new piano student. Deadline for applying for postgraduate studies at the end of Feb at HKU. End of March for Diploma in Music at Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. Where have I put the application forms? What can I study? He takes a shower and shaves. He cuts his chin, wipes the blood on his cheek in the mirror, and smiles.

Continue reading The Pendulum: A Story by Nicole Wong (Hong Kong)

AsianVoices Archives: These poems were originally posted on the now-defunct AsianVoices website (1997-2004), which featured poetry and fiction by young Asian writers. Copyright belongs to the original authors. If you are the writer and would like to remove, add or edit this work, please contact me at and I will promptly carry out your request.

  1. Bloodlines: Family
  2. Passions: Love & heartbreak
  3. Edible Words: Food
  4. Life’s Journey: Innocence & experience
  5. Scenes: Everyday life
  6. Requiem: Death & remembrance
  7. Reflections: Self-discovery & spirituality
  8. In Class: School life & education
  9. In Transit: Travel & transportation
  10. Destinations: Places
  11. Nature: Animals & the environment
  12. Muses: The creative process
  13. Conflict: War and its effects
  14. Kids’ Corner: For younger readers
  15. Pets: About, for and by pets
  16. Friendship: Cherished bonds
  17. Emotions: Emotional states
  18. Haiku: Concise poems
  19. Brushstrokes: Chinese-language works
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3 thoughts on “Passions: 27 Poems and 4 Stories about Love and Heartbreak by Young Asian Writers (AsianVoices)

  1. it’s an honor to have one of my poems in the list. it’s one of my earlier works. Though I’d appreciate knowing how you chanced upon it because to me it’s just fascinating when my work reaches other people and they somehow connect with it. I’m amazed. thanks again.

    • Hi, which one is yours? If you have a poem/story on this page, either it was written for a class I taught at City University of Hong Kong or you submitted it to me. This is the archived version of the Asian Voices site that I ran about 12 years ago. People would send me their poems or stories for posting on the web (this is before there was a lot of blogging software like wordpress) .

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