emptiness.: A poem

empty silhouette on colorful background
Beverly Pan/Staff

imagine a child’s brain, full of numbers and letters

and colors and imagination in its best form.

it’s a working engine, taking in the world and

processing it and outputting the ideas and thoughts:

the tree’s green,

the sky’s pretty,

life is good,

i’m happy.

now imagine what would happen if it were emptied,

the thoughts draining, the colors fading to monochrome, knowledge

filling the brain and ideas seeping away;

i’d call that high school.


becoming an adult.


i remember in sixth grade, my orchestra took a trip to Disneyland.

i remember the giddiness that overtook  me

for weeks, i remember packing for this

3-day trip and blasting the happiest goddamn music

i knew.

i remember in eleventh grade, i had the same trip,

better even, because I had a lot more friends.

there was no particular feeling in me:

just another event.

just another trip.

just another 3 days.


i don’t know when excitement left me, when

life became a sequence of events, a schedule which

i desperately tried to fill in the hopes of

filling my empty life,

filling the brain that was already filled with

syntax, circuits, morphemes, shakespeare:

filled with education.


fulfilling is a particular word.

if you think about it, it’s kinda like

“full” + “filling,”


i guess i’m pursuing that —

filling what’s already full,

doing whatever i can to make some sort of purpose,

some meaning,

in the stretch of time known as my life.

but what if you interpret fulfilling as

“what’s full is filling.”

“what you have in life is enough”?


i guess i wouldn’t have anything to say to that:

just empty words.

Contact Candace Chiang at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @candace_chiang.