The Journey: 12 Poems and 3 Stories about Innocence and Experience (Asian Voices)

These poems and stories about youth and age, about growing up, gaining experience and losing innocence were originally posted the AsianVoices Website (1997-2004), a site featuring poetry and fiction by young Asian writers. I’m now in the process of uploading an archived version of the works that had been published.


The times that are good go too fast,
We miss them; they always fly past.
So treasure them now,
retaste them somehow.
And this is the way they will last.

~Jess Yim Ka-mei (Hong Kong)


Life and death (ver 1.02)

A chrysathemum
blooming, a small moth lies still
beside the flower

~Chow Kit-fai (Hong Kong)


Dark Side

That was the place where the dark side of my childhood went on;
Where I would leave every morning and only return at night.
So long ago that I don’t feel as attached as before.
Was it twelve years ago, that long?
For you, I still have a strange feeling;
As if I feel so very close, but not too close… Or maybe a little more.

Is it because of the bad memories you brought me?
Or was it something else that caused me to fall?
Trying so hard to recall…
But can’t seem to remember any happy things from it all.
Just a lot of yelling and crying that went on.
Still thinking… No, nothing positive at all.

~C.Y. Lee (USA)


I am Flying

Once upon a time,
I told my mom, ‘Using one hand I can darken the sky,’
‘with my two arms I can fly.’

‘It’s an easy trick to darken the sky,’ she smiled,
as she put her hand over my eyes.
‘So now you can’t see the sky!’

‘But how are you going to fly?’
I fell down from the bunk bed as I tried.
It hurt, I cried.

Time flies,
but never have I given up this fancy of mine, cos
everyone only knows how to darken the sky;
seldom does anyone knows how to
fly to it, put a star on it and make it shine.

All these years
I filled my little star with laughter and tears; love and dreams.
Now I am going to put this so high that everyone can see —
I hope I can open your eyes;
I hope I can light up your life;
I hope you could always remember me,
a friend who is always on your side.
Yes, friends. I am flying now.
Can you see me on your way home from campus to the MTR?

~Laura Lam (Hong Kong)


Lamentation II

i dream
of butterflies
no more.

no more
the wings of joy
but pain
of mothers mourning
the loss
of loved ones

in Kargil.
dark memories
of deaths

of blasts
over the hills
of bullets
piercing heads.
the soil of Dili
has turned
to red.
cesspool of blood
giving life
to seeds
of freedom.
in the name of the Father
another Father
from spears
against spears
the sky
the butterflies
no more.

~Jose Alibone A. Naboya (Singapore, 24 January 2000).


Meeting Strangers

People come and go
Half disguised as someone they don’t know
The occasional leaking of the inner-self of the amateur
Slightly coloured the fake polished surface
The tiny little bit of careless genuineness
Lures your innocence
Tempted to stay
And test it to destruction
When the music dies
You slowly
Hoover up your own vomit
With your sorry mouth

~Joanna Sio (Hong Kong).


End of a Century

Calendar gets thin
Red rose with a long green stem
weeps off her petals

~Kitty Chong Ngar-wei (Hong Kong).



“Checkmate,” he called out
for the 16th time today
he knew in advance the
game would again end his way
his mind still fixed on
the last move he made
and the darkened look
on his opponent’s face
defined the sigh he gave

Mr. Parker, the winner
saddened by the defeat
looked to the faintly checkered sky
squinting his eyes at the fading sun
that lit the games from dawn to dusk
got up from his park bench
and collected his pieces
in a paper bag that held his lunch
remembering this time
to take the long way home

Name that familiar street
turning corners with a question every time
Mr. Parker played a memory game
walking aimless to the grocery store
pretending he was far away
looking up at birds and buildings
then their shadows on the ground
dangling street signs without sounds
telling stories of his afternoons
and endless nights of tigers and booze

He arrived at the general store
(Mr. Parker calculated)
much sooner than he wanted to
the street light flickered kind of blue
scared he’d know exactly what was there
for his wife who often tried to share
excitement in what brand what price
it wasn’t the one he had in mind
the kind of life he often surmised
as the card of someone else’s

There was no doubt
in Mr. Parker’s plan
clearly the definition of a family man
to do exactly what was right
to be home three hours before midnight
to wake at two to turn off the light
forgetting for a moment today
Mr. Parker wanted to lose his way

~Karen Y. Chan (USA)


A Fairy in my Stomach

Summer is wasting
I lay on the bed at night with one eye open
A fairy is sleeping in my stomach
I steal her power cautiously

Summer is wasting
I lay on the grass on the garden under the old palm tree
A shining diamond falls in my hands
I am rich and blessed

Summer is wasting
I lay on a boat in running rapids
A waterfall is in front of me
Will I die?

Summer is wasting
I lay on the white and smooth sand on a beach in Greece
Naked youngsters are running with innocent hearts
A string from the sun ties the prettiest one up to the sky

~Kama Tsoi (Hong Kong)



I heard the Lullaby from Susan,
Who has pretty feet with nacreous toes and soft soles
She steps on the water and the water lily opens
She smells wild gowan

She sings
‘Watch the day begin again’
whispering into the night: can I stay with you?
Her tears dropped and the ocean formed.’
She turned into graffiti
when her lover married a muscular man

Susan’s soul died when the lardy man slid into her body
She lives in a freak show
Where she takes poison to cure the wound
She still has pretty feet with painted rosy red toes and soft soles
She puts one foot on the bed and the moan starts
She is the thorn with a beautiful scar

~Kama Tsoi (Hong Kong)


Black Sheep

Chapter 1 The Sheep’s World
Sex power labour work food desire
Sex power labour work food desire
Sex power labour work food desire

The black sheep chased by the shepherd dog
Ended up behind the gates where he never wanted to be
Four legs
Full Hair

Motion hijacked by rage of blood
Repeating turns in broken circles
Fiercely hunted
Fiercely controlled
Fiercely haunted
by the realism of cruelty

Chapter 2 The Shepherd’s World
Black and White
White and Black
Black or White
White or Black

There’s a noise
A noise from behind his ears
He saw no one when he turned
A moment of dead silence
The noise, the noise suddenly attacked him from no where

For the first time, he felt a shock in his system
a shock to his nerve
it became too painful
he told the noise he can’t stand it any longer

The noise silenced
The shepherd was permanently silenced
before he could be given a chance
to present his last word

Chapter 3 The Sheep’s Fate
Black Sheep
Waiting to be slaughtered
among all the white ones
Black and White
White and Black
Black or White
White or Black
The black sheep didn’t make it nor the white

A sharp knife
Slit through the throat
The Black Sheep painted all the white sheep red

Purely white
Purely Red
Purely life and death

Chapter 4 The Final Chapter
Sex power labour work food desire
Sex power labour work food desire
Sex power labour work food desire

Full stop

~Vivian Chiang (Hong Kong)


Clear New Dream

The clouds are far behind us,
Clear, blue skies ahead.
The nightmare’s almost over,
Clear new dreams instead.

So now lets brush off worries
And up the road we go,
Green lights at every junction
Eager hearts packed to go.

Remember times when we even struggled
To live through just one day.
When skies grew dark, horizon shadowed;
No sun to light the way.

But we held hands and braved the journey
Down the winding road.
‘Til this day came when skies grew clear
And lightened every load.

So come now lets continue,
Embrace the days ahead.
The nightmare is no longer
Clear new dreams await.

~Mohammad Said bin Rahim (Singapore)


All That I’ve Become: A Poem by Elaine Chow

As I walk through fields of infinite darkness
Life itself grabs me like a harness.
Struggling, struggling
Stuck in Hell’s foreboding cell,
Haunted by tortured screams echoing like a distant bell.
Never progressing, never succeeding, only failing.
Losing the war, losing the battle, losing everything
The end will always be the same
No matter what, I lose the game.

As the vapor starts to collect
I begin to regret
I wonder why I’m doing this
I also wonder if I’ll be missed
So scared that I’ll be found
Heart stopping at every sound
Feeling desperate, feeling lost
“Go through with it, no matter what the cost.”
From within the dark – something bright
Or is it my tunnel of white light?
So easy to breathe…
No more dry heaves
I sit up with a jolt
My head explodes in a painful bolt
The air I need…
I didn’t succeed…

Continue reading All That I’ve Become: A Poem by Elaine Chow


A Fairy in His Gut

“I want to get pregnant,” the little boy said. He pushed back his hair, and watched his shadow break into the corner of the room. He stopped; it died. “I want to be. I want to be.”

“Don’t whine.” Across the room Jenny dumped two piles of clothing into the closet, muttering as she thumbed through the underwear white. “What did you just say?”

“I want to have a baby.”

“A baby?” Her voice sharpened. “You wouldn’t want to, I’m sure.” Thump-thump. Her nails flipped through a broken collar. Clickety-clack. “In fact, I’m damn sure.

The boy watched her from behind his glasses. He was perched on the edge of his bed. In the austerity of his room Jenny’s bulk looked even bigger, almost obscene. Fat cow, he thought, yet another image rose against his will: a nice dairy cow, mottled and innocent, like those printed on greeting cards, but never on a meadow, where the grass was imperfectly green.

Continue reading A Fairy in His Gut by Mia Wong (Hong Kong)


Light Cry

The Autumn wind blew across me in the early morning. It touched my hands, my face and my chest. I shivered and tightened my clothes. Though it was early autumn I felt it was as cold as a late winter day. My house, the flowers, the grass, the trees and even a pebble occupied my mind. They resisted my steps. I hesitated to leave my village, my home.

I walked down the path with heavy steps. I could not help but to return back to the house. It seemed older than before. Bricks had been torn out and it had lost it’s colour. This was the result of years of erosion by wind and rain. But was my leaving the most important cause of the ageing? The old, experienced house protested on in silence. It seemed to warn me that there would be strong wind and rain outside, and that no one would protect me from their attack.

Continue reading Light Cry: A Story by Doris Cheung Yim (Hong Kong)


My Barbie House

‘Bring your Barbie and her sister Kelly…’ Barbie’s commercial is on television. I counted on my fingers, one, two, three… it has been already nine years since played Barbie doll with Gloria, my sister two years younger than me. My thoughts go back to nine years ago. I remember that I used to play games with Gloria. I would be the Barbie and she would be Kelly the younger sister. We moved the dolls and acted as if we were really on the street, shopping, eating, laughing. That childish game would allow us to idle away an entire afternoon. But now there are no more games, only apathy.

Like today, when I went back home and rang the bell and Gloria opened the door for me. We did not say anything to each other.

Many years ago, both of us were very quarrelsome and unyielding, yet we would always find some way to reconcile our differences. At the age of ten, something happened which caused our relationship to deteriorate. One day we walked past a house and looked inside. Unfortunately, an aggressive German Shepherd saw us and bit Gloria. At that moment, the dog’s sharp and shining teeth frightened me. I couldn’t do anything but run away and call for help. Later Gloria recovered, however, she did not talk to me. It seemed as though she were another German Shepherd, hostile and unapproachable. No matter how I explained, she did not listen. At last I got angry, too. All sense of guilt flew away. And the cold war started.

Continue reading My Barbie House: A Story by Ivy Sun (Hong Kong)


AsianVoices Archives: These poems were originally posted on the now-defunct AsianVoices website (1997-2007), 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.

Go to the main Asian Voices page

Poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction about family
Poems and stories about love and heartbreak
Edible Words
Delicious poems and stories in celebration of food
Poetry and prose about death and remembrance
The Journey
Poems and stories about innocence and experience
Poems and stories about self-reflection and spirituality
In Class
Poems, stories and articles about school life and education
In Transit
Poems about travel and transportation
Poems and articles about places
Poems, stories and drama about the creative process
Poetry, prose and drama about everyday life
Kids’ Corner
Poems and stories by and/or for younger readers


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