July II Issue: Poetry Roundup

Each issue we feature pieces of prose and poetry from Asian women, nonbinary, and other gender minority writers around the world. Here are this issue’s pieces!

“In-Between” by Erika Jimenez Simangan

I feel your exhaustion
in doing this work.

try not to fill broken
spaces with empty people
& promises of a better tomorrow.

instead fill them with laughter,
slow kisses
& gentle light.

though grief continues
to hold you,
know that when you
wipe away the tears that drown you,

a new Self awaits.

as you continue on this Life,
love yourself.

Your Self.

Poems by Hannah Le

“when sorry isn’t enough”

she was exasperated. disheartened. deflated.
and as she closed her eyes,
she wished
that she could be of greater comfort to her father
who sat silently beside her, did nothing but support her
whose breathing only got heavier
whose fatigue only grew
whose heart only broke
when she continued to let him down.

she was in defeat, and she was overwhelmed.
what excuse did she have,
to be equally shameless and ashamed
to look into his eyes
and see him smile at her
as though she had not disappointed him?

“next time”

i will never put off what could be the last time.
to say hello.
to say goodbye.
to say i love you.
i miss you.
‘next time’ are two words i can no longer afford to say
so that i may never regret anything
the way i did when i lost you

before the ‘next time’ came around.

“bittersweet marks” by Vrinda Gandhi 

my grandma’s lipstick marks left a bittersweet taste on my cheek
it smelt like oil and red pigment 
if being numb had a taste, it would be of my grandma’s maroon lipstick 
and of her bindis would be wild 
like a slice of thunder and cloud 
or perhaps, a hint of ecstasy and disgust 
both at the same time would cause a mixture of emotions which i wouldn’t be able to control
and then i would quietly fall in her arms 

maybe, then she will narrate me her childhood stories like she did in my childhood 
and then maybe, i can snuggle under her blanket and pretend i still have my 2000’s TV 
while i wait for my mother to come, i would watch cartoons that adults don’t recommend children to watch 
like the one that teaches being disrespectful 
and when my mother comes home, i’d treat her with all the respect and love
because i would then know about her kindness 
and my grandma’s swollen checks when quiet in anger 
as if frowns are pulling, her smile is upside down 

i would still be a child, with imaginary friends from films about adulthood 
and i would sleep on the second bed right beside my parents and brother 
who would wish me sweet dreams, and then would turn around to face blank walls i’m not allowed to paint

“You Belong With Me” by Divya Chhotani

it sucks how i can’t listen to the same songs i once loved and listened to quite fondly

how i use to jam out to “nothin on you” by bruno mars until all i could think of was you singing it to me on the car ride home from school where the windows were down and we were waiting for your brother

it sucks how every little thing i do reminds me of my next lover

how i used to pick up the spaulding basketball and twirl it around my finger

the great debate of “spaulding v wilson”

i remember the summer of 2020 listening to the song “jackie and wilson” and started imagining baby names and having baby fever or whatever it’s called while listening to the soothing voice of hozier calming my nerves after a fight with my parents

the song “chaudhavin ka chand” by mohammad rafi blades in the car a summer later where the two people i love more than life are in the car with me as they sing their heart out and live their youth out in the car again, educating me about the songs that made them who they are

the stories of their life through melodious melodies behind the powerful voices of kishor kumar and lata mangheshkar

i remember laying in bed, tangled up in sheets with the lights turned red with the love of my life listening to “the A team” as i held your hand and where i once saw a dead end you lit the spark and the fuse at the same time that was both a blessing and a curse

the devil and angel on my shoulder as we sang along to “you belong to me” because i was the one who wore t-shirts where you wore short skirts but i’d always remain your cheerleader forevermore

“jai ho” being played by the band in 2019 under the friday night lights on a chill texas day where we played powderpuff and my center snapped the ball into my hands where the world was in my hand and i had to throw the perfect spiral to one of my partners in crime like i was completing a heist in GTA

“midnight city” blaring through the city of los santos where i could control my universe with my xbox controller and i could escape reality for a while where i lived my coming of age movie

or the way i associate “swing lynn” with my best friend and how we’ve grown so much together and how i realize that she’s my rock even when i push her away, she’s a magnet always positive whenever i’m negative and always blessed in her own little world

to when i’m extremely sad and i listen to “slow dancing in the dark” because that song allows me to think of the past and how far i’ve come yet how much i still have yet to go in this journey of life and how my worst days are just 24 hours, not my entire life

when i listen to it it’s like i’m lost in another world where it’s just me and the moon and i’ll tell my story to anyone who wants to sit down and have a drink with me and watch the stars as i explain my story of the multiple galaxies that reside inside me

to how i listen to the song “frank ocean” since the artist was born in my hometown and it reminds me of a girl who lives across oceans and how i hope to see the sparkle in her eyes someday and to hear her stories from across the ocean and learn something new

but finally, i think of the song “fire for you” because maybe the fire in my life isn’t sparked for a person but it’s sparked for myself because i am the fire and the fire is in my hands

maybe the wildfire is my mind and the thing that could take the edge of is a life away from the high without blowing out my internal flame

maybe it’s finding meaning in the boring normal days and in my own fire

maybe my role is to encourage others to grow their fire inside of them, to learn and inspire and stoke another fire

set the world ablaze with love and kindness like we’re “fireproof” and nothing could come in our way to make us back down from living a life of eternal sunshine and even if it does rain

you can come under my umbrella and wait out the northern downpours, together as i keep you warm and brittle with love from my heart

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

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We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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