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Meant To Be


“Oh beautiful moon” (Photo Credit: MagnuMicah)

Meant to Be

Oh beautiful moon,
wouldn’t you say the swings rock gently beneath your limbs?
A gentle swagger of leaves dip into silhouettes,
and the sweet breeze sifts through the night.
Two shadows crossed in starlight
sing to memories cast upon your eyes
like the bridge clothed in dust
ethereally monumental, as always.

~ Tianjia Liu, 2014 ~

Author’s Note: It is the magic of the everyday that inspires me, the sunset and the moon, the things beautiful and simple.

Photo Credit: Moon Ring (MagnuMicah)/ CC BY-SA 2.0



"The soft thumping beyond bones and vessels"

“The soft thumping beyond bones and vessels” (Photo Credit: David Barrie)


Strive in endless tunnels
until the turn of the tide
that makes all worthwhile—
the churning waters of mind and matter
the soft thumping beyond bones and vessels
into a heart seeking purpose
at its own pace

~ Tianjia Liu, 2013 ~

Author’s Note: Victory and battle— the two are inseparable. Victory is how you look at it, how you want it to be. What is victory to you? And until you reach that victory, keep on fighting the battle.

Photo Credit: Battle of Borodino 1812 (David Barrie)/ CC BY 2.0

Beyond Expectations

"My heart shall suffice"

“My heart shall suffice” (Photo Credit: JP Puerta)

Beyond Expectations

oh, my mind frets, in vain I stand
all but lost tonight
still, I wonder if I ought to
let unknown sources dictate me
but I need not papers or popularity
to chug on, to do what I love
my heart shall suffice

~ Tianjia Liu, 2013 ~

Author’s Note: We are affected by what others think of us. Praise raises confidence; ridicule only hurts. But despite what people say what you can and cannot do, think about what is in your heart. Take all said against you and turn it into fuel for all your endeavors. It has been said again and again, but you alone know what you can accomplish.

Photo Credit: Winged Victory of Samothrace (JP Puerta)/ CC BY 2.0

Stressed Out

Today’s Stress, Future’s Predicament

Strained as narrow beams supporting skyscraper workers,
beaten as door frames dangling during blizzard season,
frustrated as the inflexibility of law and ever-demanding society,

"People of today, pressure and stress under they crumble"

“People of today, pressure and stress under they crumble” (Photo Credit: Jimmy Baikovicius)

isolated as a maple leaf floating on turbulent waves
people of today, pressure and stress under they crumble.

~ Tianjia Liu, 2012 ~

Author’s Note: The paradox of humanity is that with each step it advances, it also takes a small step backwards, struggling to catch up with itself. It seems that during the 21st century, each generation is more sleep-deprived that the last. With the speed technology becomes available to the public, people will always have more apps to try, games to play, places to visit, and gadgets to buy— in short, too many things to do in so little time. Humans possess an inherent need to be intelligent and competitive. Think about how humanity has evolved these past few centuries. In just a fraction of the time humanity has been on Earth, it has invented steel, electricity, surgery, steam engine, factories, and so much more! But people have to keep up with change, thereby stealing more time and energy as progress accelerates. Is this caused by the ever-rising demand of outstanding academic knowledge or convenience of technology? With anxiety or just fear of the unpredictability of life, everyone feels strained to some degree. The pressure and stress that we feel correlate to the late-nights and cups of coffees. The fact is, we are humans and most of us are sleep-deprived.

Photo Credit: Maldonado, Uruguay (Jimmy Baikovicius)/ CC BY-SA 2.0

"Nothing special — metal box"

“Nothing special — metal box” (Photo Credit: John Benwell)


Up. Down. Open. Close
Nothing special — metal box.
Up to rooftop, down to basement.
Often overlooked, taken for granted.
Elevates. Accelerates. STOPS. Ding!
Elevators malfunction, a black hole emerges.
Elevators stop. Lights out.
Trapped, alarmed.
Bang the doors, scream for help.
But the doors are still ajar.
What to do, but drop and cover!

~ Tianjia Liu, 2012 ~

Author’s Note: Elevators “Transitions and Midpoints”: the  beginningmiddle, and the  end of journeys and tasks. They are the stars of constellations, quickly shooting people from one point to another, from departure and destination. But elevators are more than tools. On a deeper level, in literature, elevators represent introductions and farewells, love and rejection, the familiar and unfamiliar, and the mundane and mysterious. Elevators are transitions, and carriers from one level to another. Elevators have elevated mankind into the Age of Technology, yet preoccupied passengers don’t stop to appreciate its importance. Instead, passengers stand awkwardly beside strangers or neighbors until the doors finally open. Impatiently, some pace around in the confined space, while others nervously check their cell phones or watches, perhaps before an interview. Still, others attempt to strike a brief conversation. Elevator passengers are diverse and interesting. Elevators are the links of a chain.

Photo Credit: Effiel Tower (John Benwell)/ CC BY-ND 2.0

(2011) My Bookcase

(2011) My Bookcase

A Few of My Favorite Things: Books

Lamp light on. Beverage in hand. A bag of chips torn open beside me. I lay on my bed, with a book open, fingering the corner of the page, ready to turn it. Deep in thought, perhaps mind traveling in a fantastical world. All of my surroundings seem distant. Such is a typical night at home during my free time.

Books are my favorite things.

The rise of e-books, iPads, and Nooks in the 21st century has reduced the number of actual books in households. Today, many prefer the cheaper, readily accessible, and convenient e-book. But I like to be old-fashioned. I buy books and build my personal library of books, accumulating more and more on my bookcases. The fragrance of printed pages. The weight of the book in my hands. The colorful spines indicating each unique book’s character. “A book’s character” is simply what distinguishes one book from another, whether by appearance or history. Books are real; e-books are trapped in cyberspace. Each book has a history as different owners possess it. Some buy books from the bookstore or the library, while others simply borrow from friends or the public library. Either way, each individual who touches and reads that book becomes part of the book’s history. Some like to leave annotations or distinguishing marks in books. Some wear out the binding. Pages wrinkled, corners curled. But every action contributes to the book’s character. Usually the more worn out the book, the more times the book has been read. The white lines on paperbacks’ spines indicate the devotion of readers. Especially in public libraries, readers readily “storm” books. Some pages folded, some with stains, and others with notes left behind. Before modern check-out methods revolutionized libraries, the little white note cards on the inside cover indicated the names of borrowers. That’s an example of the passing of books from one hand to another, from one mind to another.

Just perusing the covers of my books soothes me. What the mind sees is what the mind perceives. It’s like therapy. The book art or the mere title of works reminds me of its contents. The journey the protagonist underwent. The rapid incline to the climax. The satisfying resolution. For me, books are stepping stones. The stepping stones form a line that starts from the first book I read to the last. Jumping on each stepping stone, I go on an adventure in the fictional world. These stepping stones represent my reading experiences and history. Of course, some of these stepping stones weigh more than others. The books that have touched me most such as the Harry Potter series and The Count of Monte Cristo represent launch pads and express lanes that catapult me to the next stepping stone. But what patterns do these stepping stones form? I would say a web, others may say a circle or a straight line. The pattern is unique for every reader. Mine is a web, interconnected, weaving together. In my journey of reading, I step forward, backward, sideways, up, down. One book is connected to a few others and so on. Knowledge gained from one book may carry over to reading another book. Rereading allows me to gain new insight and revisit those books.

If you have seen Beauty and the Beast, you must have noticed the enormous library inside the beast’s castle. Books everywhere. From the floor to the ceiling. Ladders required to reach them. A magnificent scene. Inspired by the beast’s collection, I will continue to increase my personal library, for books are sacred. Books reveal our imaginations, histories, and aspirations.

~ Tianjia Liu, 2012 ~



"Never show vulnerability"

“Never show vulnerability” (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

Living in shadows and perception,
her green eyes laser-focus,
radiant face all-business,
brown blazer and leather gloves,
the Detective, a mask she abides–
vulnerability never shown
behind honor and tin badge.
Cases piled but partners always
sprint together into dull city lights,
pounding sidewalk, heels receding
into danger that do not relent.

~ Tianjia Liu, 2011 ~

Author’s Note: I love watching crime dramas/ comedies and the thrill of figuring out mysteries. From the latest toys in crime-solving labs to old-fashioned piecing together evidence, crime solving never gets old for me. Of course, these fictional detectives on screen resemble real-life crime solver to some extent. Although the real-life process is quite lengthy and convoluted from fiction, I still enjoy the exaltation of detectives’ tenacity and ability to think outside the box. I think those qualities are the same in fiction and reality.

Photo Credit: Iris scan (U.S. Army)/ CC BY 2.0

Bold Quietude

Bold Quietude

My soul frets in the shadow of his language
to live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life!
Low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep
and I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake
to live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life!
Lightnings of so clear a splendor
and I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake.
I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another
to live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life!
I have not made or accepted its words
lightnings of so clear a splendor.
I shall try to fly by those nets;
my soul frets in the shadow of his language.
I have not made or accepted its words.
I shall try to fly by those nets
Low and faint and whispering, faint as the bells of sleep

~ Tianjia Liu, 2012 ~

Author’s Note: This is a found poem, with lines taken from James Joyce’s A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. Bold, history has shown exactly so time and time again, is a virtue of great risk and challenges. From Galileo’s determination to revolutionize astronomy against the Church’s resistance to Joan d’Arc’s rally of the French, bold makes in to the history books. But not all boldness comes from loud war cries and defiant charges on the battlefield. What is bold in everyday life?

"Keep the lies locked and toss the key far"

“Keep the lies locked
and toss the key far” (Photo Credit: Jessica Spengler)

Best Unwritten, Unspoken

Words unwritten, thoughts unspoken
the Inner Voice knows silence–
whisperings behind her ear,
let them be weighed on Death’s scale.
Keep the lies locked
and toss the key away,
because jealousy’s in plain sight,
words metallic, uneven still,
masked smile and unrelenting eyes.
Multifaceted groups are not for her;
she rises beyond all pretensions.

~ Tianjia Liu, 2013 ~

Author’s Note: Pretensions are better kept silent. Pretentiousness constrict and bind groups of people into a “bubble,” where competition outweighs humility. Better blunder and explore than succeed temporarily and be closed off.

Photo Credit: Passion Façade door, Sagrada Familia (Jessica Spengler)/ CC BY 2.0

Blue Hue

Blue Hue

"Blue is the drop of evening dew"

“Blue is the drop of evening dew” (Photo Credit: Nicolas de Camaret)

Mesmerizing blue sings a soft hue
breaking versatile rays underneath
parting clouds and lush greenery
into the lake and reflecting above.
Blue is the drop of evening dew
clear without white calms me so.
Clothed like daggers, not if you look
closely enough in wells of hue.

~ Tianjia Liu, 2012-2013 ~

Author’s Note: Blue is psychologically calming and attractive to me. Alight with life, blue is versatile, cold, indifferent, yet oddly calming. Imagine waters bouncing, a sky devoid of white, blueberries ripe in a bush, hummingbirds hovering sipping nectar. All blue, all’s calm, right? Every color is so much more than a “color.” All represent something, someone. But blue speaks the loudest to me. Seeing my friend Blue soothes me. Inherently, blue is my color of choice. Sky blue, navy blue, dark blue. Hue that speaks optimism and pessimism, but hues that are versatile. We have a gift: to see colors as rainbows, not only the shades of gray some animals only see. We mustn’t neglect its prowess.

Colors as a whole produce magnificent rainbows refracted by prisms and raindrops. A color wheel includes the primary and secondary colors. As a volunteer at the Discovery Science Center I learned and taught about colors, and performed chromatography experiments. Chromatography is the splitting a color into its basic components. Only red, yellow, and blue cannot be broken down. So, black is not black. Black is the conglomeration of all three primary colors. If you take a black marker, draw a circle on filter paper, and insert a wick connecting the a jar of water to the paper, you will see the water-soluble ink spread like a flower. With red, blue, and yellow exposed, black is at its barest components.

Photo Credit: Blue-footed Booby (Nicolas de Camaret)/ CC BY 2.0