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…

As I run
and as I hide
All I have is fear inside.
Nothing more
and nothing less
All I am is a living mess.
Like the Phoenix
I will rise
but only if I stay alive.
All alone
and feeling so desperate
for life and I will soon be separate.

Drifting, drifting, always drifting
Just watching our lives float past.
Drifting, drifting, never knowing
That our goals can never be grasped.

Grief and sorrow,
Like there’s no tomorrow.
Not knowing what to do,
Never felt so blue…
Filled with wild energy,
And strongly powered lethargy.
The room seems hot,
Excited by my one thought:
By picking up the knife,
I can end my strife.

Inner turmoil’s all I feel, the identity crisis is all too real.
Have I lost the real me? What have I come to be?
Hoping this is all a dream, waking up makes me want to scream.
How much longer can I deny it? How much longer can I keep my quiet?
I feel like I’m stuck in a pit, I feel like I’ve been hit.
Is it really as bad as it seems? Or am I being too extreme?
I don’t know who or what I want to be, I don’t even know the real me!
Inner turmoil’s all I feel, the identity crisis is all too real.

Sometimes I wonder
What fills the blue yonder
Far, far away
Where everything is gay
And the hunter’s gun
Can provide hours of fun
Where animals roam
Free for me to take home
Like nature’s call
They hang on my wall
My existence assured
My trophies insured.

Panic arises as I flee
Gone are the days of playful glee
Never again will I be free
“Please save me”
My sad eyes plea
Never again will I have company
All I want is to stay in the sea.

Gone are the days of talking to my friend
Days that I thought would never end.
I talked to him about oh so much
I’ll never forget how I loved his touch.
I thought that he’d always be there
When he got sick, I was kind of scared.
I never thought that he’d really go
I guess the truth is: I didn’t want to know.
Part of me knew that he wouldn’t make it
The same part of me refused to admit it.
I know that he wouldn’t be around forever
But all I wanted was for us to stay together.
He looked so weak the next morning
That my spirits were far from soaring.
I watched him shiver as he lay
And I knew that he would die that day.
When I found out that he had died
All I could do was cry and cry.

The little factory that you are
Spewing out fumes, burning up tar
Puffing away
Losing a little life everyday
You welcome the cancer
Hoping to find an enhancer
On the day you die
You say: “I just wanted to try”

He who gets drunk
Loses track of his spunk.
Sees a pretty lady
Whispers, “Come on, baby.”
Wakes up in bed
With a throbbing head.
Drinking his life away
Being merry and gay.
Never staying sober
To avoid the hangover.

She was all alone
There wasn’t anyone at home
Later they’d find her
All she could ever do was cower
Not sure if she wanted to
Not sure if she knew what to do
It gleamed so bright
She knew it wasn’t right
It drew closer and closer
As she grew bolder and bolder
Part of her wanted it to end
Part of her wanted to make amends
She plunged it in
The room went dim
Deeper and deeper it went
As she began her final descent
To the darkness she succumbed
As her body began to go numb.

I don’t understand
Where I’ve gone wrong
Life, it seems,
Is more like an ongoing song.
Violent and unrelenting
The next minute
Naive and trusting.
I believe everything he says
When I think of the lies
I wish I were dead.
Now that she’s changed too
Sometimes I feel,
There’s no one to turn to.
I’ll never let go
I can’t face the truth
I don’t want to know.

The gate was closed
Ending the path she’d chose
She’d be alone forever
Never believe that things would get better
All alone she faced the world
Missing the home from which she’d been hurled
From her window she would stare
Often it was too much to bear
Everyday she stood by the gate
But they had already sealed her fate
From the inside she looked out
Wanting to leave the misery and doubt
Ready to leave the awful place
Prepared to disappear without a trace.

Cool and savvy?
Tall and manly?
More like loud
And proud
The ego has risen
Never to be hidden
Always disrupting lessons
Stalling our progression
Gay with Toby
But just take it slowly
There’s no knowing where you’ll go
Nor who you’ll get to know
Maybe you’ll be missed
But you can forget about getting kissed
We’ll always love you Dougie
(As long as you keep sending us money!)

Like the empty souls
Of those who have lost their goals
With blank eyes I stare
Without a worry or a care
Memories of days gone by
Remembering how the time used to fly
It was a game I lost
At the end, I paid a heavy cost
Now it’s over, finished and done
My life and new beginning have begun

From behind the glass I see
What people expect of me.
I watch as their faces fall
Backs turn to form a cold wall.
Happiness which can never be found
Hopes ripped apart by savage hounds.
Fond memories of yester-year
Remembering the days that’ve disappeared.
Behind the glass I shall stay
From reality I shall stray.

The meaning of life is to rhyme
The feeling is sublime.
If ever a feeling so fine
It would be to rhyme.
A feeling so truly divine
When reading line after line
Of nothing but pure rhyme.

I stand tall
Towering above it all.
The life which I’m about to flee
The life that belonged to me.
I really can’t stand it any longer
Perhaps I’ve only got to be stronger…
I look at what’s beyond the ledge
And all I can see is my pledge.
The wind in my hair
Too late to care.
The feeling of vertigo
Is all I’ve come to know.

-one after another-
I unscrew the cap
It’s not too late to go back
-one after another-
The coating’s so bitter
Today I’m not going to be a quitter
-one after another-
So full of water
Will starts to falter
-one after another-
Finally finished them all
I watch as the bottle falls
-one after another-
It’s too late
I’ve already sealed my fate
-one after another-
The darkness surrounds
Feeling so safe and sound.

There was no place to go
I couldn’t say “no”.
Closer and closer he came
I guess he wasn’t to blame…
How I wished that he would stop
I could feel the beginning of teardrops.
Frozen like a statue
Not knowing what to do.
Couldn’t stand it any longer
Wanted to be stronger…
So I left
And in the stall I wept.

His voice over the line
There wasn’t enough time.
Something that I didn’t want to hear
It confirmed the worst of my fears.
How I had cried then
Until I realized that I’d be back again.
Something he never meant
Probably thought that I’d forget.
The dressed up tree
A time very dear to me.
The day soon came
It still seemed like a game.
The month of October
Something I’ll always remember.

As I lie down in bed
Strange thoughts fill my head.
I enter a land of make believe
Free to do as I please.
In a world of pretend
No one around to offend.
Without a worry or a care
Life, at last, will be fair.

Silence in the room
Somehow sealing her doom.
On a chair she stood
Crying did her no good.
Coarseness of the rope
In her, there was still some hope.
Down she stepped
Calm until she began to fret.
She began to worry
Wanted it done in a hurry.
Back up high
Prepared to die.

Tears streaming down my face
Going faster as they pick up pace.
The cool beneath my fingers
Endlessly hoping the pain won’t linger.
How will my four minutes be?
How will I look when the find me?
Holding back the tears
Swallowing the last of my fears,
I close my eyes
And count the seconds that go by.
Faith in the gun
Time to end what I’ve begun.

Cope with stress
That families possess.
Relieve tension
Through valuable lessons.
Meet new people
Everyone is treated as an equal.
A place to spend the day
Where children can play.
So come have fun
Stay until the day is done!

I face the paths in front of me
I think about who or what I can be.
Perhaps the worst of my fears
Is choosing the wrong career.
A life of stocks and bonds
None of which I’m particularly fond.
Making the important choices
Listening to all the wrong voices.
Dealing with upset kids
Facing jar after jar with air-tight lids.
Disastrous outcomes,,,
Supposedly high incomes…
It comes down to how long I can stay in bed
And whether it will keep me well-fed.

Pain so familiar
(I’ve been through this before)
Situation so similar
(I always seem to crave for more)
The discolored marks
(I lose myself in its waves)
Waiting for the throbbing to depart
(Unchanging in my ways)
Horror seeps in
(I’ll just do a little bit)
As I do it again
(I can’t help it)

Floorboards whisper as they creak
Unseen hairs brush by my cheek
As I walk, more boards break
The floor looks worse with every step I take
Walls crumble by my feet
Life ebbs away with the disappearing heat
Clouds of dust fill the air
All this time, I can do nothing but stare
Lights flicker incessantly
Disembodied wires reach out desperately
Carpets wear down to reveal the ground beneath
Curtains unravel because of this silent thief
My home, past and identity
All I had is now history

The depth of the pit
Alone in it I sit
No one around
Only the darkness surrounds
Water drips down the sides
The overwhelming smell of rotting hides
Invisible eyes peek from the abyss
Ears echo the menacing hiss
Perhaps I’m not alone…
I’ve stumbled into the King’s throne

Cars going by so fast
Nothing to ensure the pain won’t last.
The importance of timing is just so great
The reaction of the driver will control my fate.
I watch as they drive past
The reasoning behind this, they probably can’t grasp.
I could’ve gone earlier, but I chose to wait
I must go now, before it’s too late.

As the song goes,
“You’ve Got a Friend in Me”
Although I don’t know how this came to be.
After all,
You’re not exactly polite
And sticky hands give you a fright.
I hate to admit,
You can be fun some of the time
But then again, you can’t exactly rhyme…
So just what is it about you?
I’m really not quite sure
I mean, there’s a helluva lot I have to endure.
You may wonder,
Just what am I trying to say?
Nothing – except for HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

In January comes the new year
During February, time’s spent with those we find dear
In March one must wear green
Or else those Leprechauns will get mean
Little chicks hatch in April
Then comes the Cinco de Mayo
In June, the school year comes to an end
Time for kids to go out with their friends
Fireworks are on display in July
By August, half of summer’s flown by
Kids are back in school in September
Finding themselves with new things to remember
In October, people dress up as phantoms
In November, we remember the Pilgrims
Of course in December, we have Christmas Day
But it just wouldn’t seem the same without your birthday

All the time that I’ve let fly by
All this time, I’ve been living a lie.
I could’ve been someone else
The problem was, I was only interested in wealth.
I commanded my men with an iron fist
And dealt with those who stood in wake of my bliss.
My army troops were undefeatable
The power I possessed was inconceivable.
But all of that was soon to change
For my nemesis stood within my range.
We both knew who would gain control
It was as though our future had been foretold.
He won all a man could possibly desire
The press was told that I’d decided to retire.
Now I hide in the shadows of the night
For fear of being seen, I never appear when it’s light.
Public enemy number one
This is all that I’ve become.

~Elaine Chow


Return to The Journey: Poems and Stories about Innocence and Experience (Asian Voices)


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