Original Crime

Photo taken at the motel I was staying in Kashgar, 2004 summer

She doesn’t have the psychic strength

to watch the news. Everything is sliding

down, even the mute button is broken.

I thought the medicine in the drum

is hiding in his long dark hair that if

he would sing a medicine song,

beat the drum, and let down his magical

hair like waterfalls, the dark spirits

would flee like sunbathing tourists

when tsunami hits the shore.

The remedy is not on the shelves

like Tylenol, unfortunately, that I

cannot grab a quick fix on the go

with an affordable exchange

and an expectable outcome

in less than 4 hours.

Unfortunately, the medicine is not

in the prescription, nor the description

of the chronic symptoms. In fact, it may

be part of the poison that causes

the original infection.

By entrusting my healing to

someone else, I gave myself a

death sentence. Like washing

hands in the golden basin

to deny my partnership

in this crime.


By Gracelynn Lau

Lovers’ Critique



Photo taken at The Hurricane Deck, Niagara Falls State Park, NY. 2013

How can I speak to you, if you

are an image, or an expression,

or a representation of my unfulfilled desires?

When I look into your eyes, do I see a universe

inside and beyond you unfolding? Or do I see

potentials that I had never actualized within myself?

Can I even see you, if I only see dancing shadows, from you,

of wounded experiences, that I, and all the women in my family

my ancestry, have had with men?

Am I looking at you, or the broken

masculine of myself? I can’t really see you,

if you are reduced to, by me, attributes

that reminded me of my dead father,

and my deepest longing for his presence.

Is it possible for me to meet you?

Is it even possible to recognize you as you?

You are fluidity, you are essence

oscillating. Each time I meet you

you are a new person

Can I recognize the newness inside of you?

Can I remember you, without omitting or

offending the newness you had created,

are creating for and of yourself?

Can I wake up each morning

to get to know you all over again,

without forgetting who you were yesterday,

and maintain inexhaustible curiosity

to meet this newness in you, this new being

that you are, and are going to be today

and tomorrow?

My love to you is impossible, if I am unable

to see you without reducing you. Is it even fair,

to you, and me, to play mirror for each other

and call this love? Ain’t we reducing love

to an exchange of playing shadows?

I can’t be with you, even though I am with you

You are not here yet, even though you have already arrived

How can I touch you, if you are not really there?

How much time do you and I really have

together, with this you and this I, without

shadows and memories, without dwelling

or wandering into the more or less than

but now?


By Gracelynn Lau (2017)


Let us travel back in time and fast forward

I wake up. It’s already tomorrow
in Hong Kong. I open the bathroom door- my mother
was in labor, giving birth to me in the hospital
that had been listed as national heritage 5 years ago.
I run to the street to catch a streetcar, west-bound
to High Park. It is 8:30am. Toronto downtown.
The door closed- my father was giving me a lecture
on punctuality. I returned to him postmodernist
theory, to which I was introduced in the first
year of university. We wrestled until midnight.
By the time I get off the streetcar, I am still able to
arrive to the office 9 minutes early. I pour myself a cup of coffee.
I open the fridge to look for cream- an old boyfriend handed me
a cappuccino, by the fireplace in a pub, a band
was singing in Viking tones. I casted off the last row
of my first toque. As he admired the small holes in the wool,
I put on the toque, I then arrived in the midsummer
in front of the archway, a small Buddhist temple
on a green mountain, smoking a mini cigarillo
with an ex lover, who had not decided to become
a monk yet, no, not until next year. We sat on the staircase,
staring at the rain. Countless cars drove past us
It’s already midnight, in the Australian Central Time.
My coffee is cold, and all my colleagues had gone home.
I wait for the streetcar. East- bound to Yonge. It takes forever
to arrive, always. It takes me forever to fall asleep
again, and when I open my eyes again, I will be
giving birth to my own child.

By Gracelynn Lau (2017)


Marching Into Love

Don’t declare your love to me
Until you’ve seen the moon waxes
And wanes 16 times
I have 27 split selves
38 emotional currents
In rotation

Don’t declare your love to me
Until you’ve seen me Spring forward
And Fall backward
Until you’ve visited my interior riverbeds
Walked my inward wilderness
You have no clue how to love me
In the summer drought
Or amidst the decaying roots on snowy day

I can’t give you an orientation
You had never chopped wood carried water
You had never seen me giving birth to myself
How dare you say you’ve fallen in love
Before gazing at my active stupidity
And fortunate errors
Have you arrived at my boundaries?
Are you aware of your unwillingness
To start with nothing?

You come to me, your hands full
Emptiness in one
Hope in another
Don’t ask me to release your fists
I don’t have the key to unlock your heart
(where have you seen it last?)
I am not a detective in your mysterious case
I am not an undercover to test your limits
I am just a reflection

Of your deep longing
Are you falling in love with your own shadow?
Is it a manifesto to your frustrated ego?

Don’t declare your love to me in a single year
But capture the snapshot of your soul
And burst the nostalgic bubbles
Like your love for wild roses
Falling in love is the scent
Walking into love is the thorns
Fragrance and thorny strength
Same rose, different stories

By Gracelynn Lau (2017)

Taken in Montreal during my mom’s visit in 2014 summer.