Here are my poems and short stories

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Gwynplaine Syndrome

By Alexandra Wang


Smiles reflect happiness or laughter. We are all told that we should smile. We are asked why we are not smiling, even by strangers. Why? Because smiles are supposed to be positive. They make people happy. As they say “smiles are contagious.” We are encouraged to do it, so that everyone else will too.  But more often than not, we smile even though it does not match our feelings. Why do we usually comply with them despite how we feel? To please others.

Gwynplaine is the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s novel, The Man Who Laughs (1869.) King James II condemns Gwynplaine to look like he is laughing all the time as revenge for his father’s betrayal. Gwynplaine will always smile, despite how he feels. He just looks like he is laughing even more, whenever he cries.

Image retrieved from Wikipedia Commons. Frontispiece (vol. II) by Francois Flameng for Victor Hugo’s novel The Man Who Laughs, International Limited Edition, published by Estes and Lauriat in 1869. Caption: At the Green Box.


The Man Who Laughs Movie Poster. Image courtesy Universal Pictures.

None of us are like Gwynplaine. We can frown if we want to right? Or can we?



Gwynplaine syndrome: One smiling despite how he or she really feels.

Notice: The term, “Gwynplaine Syndrome” was coined by Alexandra Wang. Please credit her, if you use it in an academic resource.

Copyright by Alexandra Wang. 2019. All rights reserved.


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She came in to this world
As a tiny exquisite porcelain doll
Children said: “She is so sweet and quiet
They giggled and ran around with her
She was scared, but she continued to smile
The doll slipped and shattered into pieces.

But they ignored the pieces
The doll was afraid to leave this world
The only part that remained was her smile
She wondered, if she could stay as a doll
Kids no longer wanted to play with her
Suddenly everything became quiet.

The new realm was not quiet
The doll was no longer in pieces
She was made of glass, you could see through her
She was glad to be in a new world
She was really the same little doll
The poor doll still always wanted to smile.

Again children knew her smile
They said: ‘She is innocent and quiet,
We can do whatever we want she’s a doll’
The doll knew she would break in to pieces
And would have to find another world
The kids laughed, and later fought over her

Of course, the children dropped her
They walked away after they lost her smile
The doll had to change for the next world
She knew she could not always be quiet
She did not want to break into pieces
She refused to be a delicate doll.

Again she came back as a doll.
But something was different about her
This time she did not end up in pieces
She had a heart of steel and new smile
Children were surprised she was not quiet
She was given a new role in world.

All of those pieces are part of her smile
The doll stands tall, and everyone respects her
She is not quiet and is proud of her role in this world.

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Moon Goddess

Wife, of the hero who challenged nine suns
Disappearing into the sky,
After drinking a potion meant for her and husband,
And was reborn as a goddess of the moon.

Summer breeze rustles the night sky,
like the curtains on my bedroom window.
Stars tremble in the sky like dew on morning grass,
Moon glows softly like a jade disk.

On the silver surface of the moon,
the crystal palace of the goddess
rises in ghostly splendor.
Her pearl headdress quivers,
as she paces cold marble floors.

Goddess smiles as she peers down to Earth.
And sees summer’s restless sleepers,
turn in dream tossed beds.
She places her cool hand on my forehead,
and sets my dream adrift like a
sailboat on the moonlit waves.

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I Know You’re Here

Speak to me. Take my hand. Where are you now?
On the table I see …
the yellow flower.
It looks just like the ones that grew
in front of our orphanage.
Our only childhood home.

Life was never easy. Listen to me. I remember:
Those flowers came every spring
We always had each other and those flowers.
They watched us with their sunny color and charming ways.

Speak to me. Take my hand. Where are you now?
The Nazis took our home away, and separated us.
The lovely yellow flowers wilted.
No longer yellow and dancing in the wind;
Their heads drooped
Towards the ground crying for you,

Listen to me. I remember
Seeing boys and girls marching, two by two.
In a parade of fear and anguish.
They told us, we weren’t human.

Take my hand And then look at me Where are you now?
Escaping to the Holy Land- a new land, with new people
My life was not like that of Moses,
Who led the Jews out of Egypt long ago.
I was put to work once again
To build a new country.

In America, with children and grandchildren
My wife spends each day feeding pigeons.
Pacing back and forth in the street for seeds
Spinning in the street like dreidels. Life was never easy

Where are you? They told me you faded away
but I was never convinced…
I knew you were around somewhere
Lets go back to…
our childhood land.
Take my hand. Speak to me.

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Hua Hua

Eyes shine as she looks up to the star-glittered sky.
When she purrs, her joy lights up the earth.
Her voice is as soft as a butterfly’s wings fluttering from flower to flower.

Behind this soft beauty,
Lies the heart of a tiger-fierce and true.
Dogs and cats bow
As she struts through the neighborhood.


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