Do I dare disturb the universe?
the run dissolved into futility. a train missed, and it was all the fault of the man who refused to stand on the right. the path, too far, obstructed. the train moves on; several others are catching their breaths.
on a hospital bed, a bag of medical tears find its way into your body; a complicated machine beeps faintly, in diminuendo. i could feel the second hand of clocks tugging along my bones, ears, ticking louder than your presence. i did not wish to metaphorize this but you were getting less audible, less alive; in reaching out, i came in contact with your already freezing and nearly finished skin. many of our conversations were made in my mind because i had not dared tell you many things. i kept them to myself when i should not have. up here, your imagined voice repeats its warmth, the kind that’s more comforting than hot chocolate on cold nights. in reaching out, i hoped to tell you that i love you present tense, wishing, that you might feel the same mellow and tender glow.
“doors are closing, beep beep beep –”
listen to the late people’s chest ward rhythms. huff, huff, huff in diminuendo (this sound is getting lethargically awful). a wind trailing from the train’s departure slams my face with a stinging thrust as i pounded my own lungs, incapable of catching your last phrase over the loudspeaker announcement. instantly, your final breath slipped away like paper in wind, adrift, gone in my memory.
i am looking at a foreign image against the closing doors: this body, this lip. advertisements of fertility is everywhere and the clock is ticking louder than ever. in the worse second, i caught my words mid-air and everything that should have reached you, reached beneath those wooden tracks instead; they die out in a flicker.
you forced my hands by the oil jug and gas stove.
under this masterminded party,
i caught the blame you fanned over so easily.
i admit to never learning how to tame this orange matter,
my knees shaking itself into soot
like blackened efforts,
shuffling wherever the humid wind blew.
we could both see a solid figure
decimate into untouchable specks
(you didn’t care who I was to you anymore)
the last guilt you made me swallow
through words stuffed down my ear canal
led to sprinkles over the sea. it mirrored
a dead body’s last wish floating downward
into a cold abyss of unsalvaged souls – like me,
you said – before calling it suicide.
i am okay if y’all are wondering!! this was written a few months ago, at first chasing a sonnet form but sidetracking into free verse because i had the choice. heavy attempts to domesticate the scenes but that needs work. i’m truly envious of people like Joshua Ip (hi joshua you are REALLY awesome) who come up with upsized versions of sonnet compilations like nobody’s business. senpai.
meanwhile, here’s to the first post of the year! 2018 shall be the attempt to move away from despondent sidewalks into sunny beach walks with terribly good ice-cream on a cone. in other words, thank you for reading even this and happy new year xx
In a postcard on its way to you, is an early summer.
and at the top rests
your name in blue-black ink.
taking my time to miss you, to
have your name curl
like a peaceful sleep: Cassandra.
in this one card,
there are no fancy stickers.
no purple dolphins
just several small words from a small
person. i write from the premises
of the Arts House, where playful
dens and parliamentary chambers reside.
Make known to me your breath,
while my relay finds me a weaved mull,
cotton fabric with lion motifs, hanging
half-dry on the laundry line
facing the sun. just
now, the light was good.
a super overdue poem to my lovely pen pal. i just like the sound of cassandra, even though – disclaimer – that’s not my pal’s actual name.
but it was written in the arts house, late last year during SWF. i was in for a cosy session with authors/ pen friends Heng Siok Tian, Phan Ming Yen, Yong Shu Hoong and Yeow Kai Chai (get a copy of their collaborative work, lost bodies here. it’s 100% worth the purchase). the talk was a lovely experience, and one thing i got to feel was this alluring absence of passion… it lands itself on the side of neutrality, lending a wistful overbearing sigh to the room.
so this poem was a challenge to use their template for their first day poem, the first and last lines. i never came round to actually send it, so i thought i’d give this poem some fresh air here. there you go, my half-dry laundry cloth.
bought another line of
blank blankets. white sheets
and golden streamers,
you’re all of them.
festooned like merry-go-rounds
the lights popped jumpy and brought
me back to 8 year old loves –
wrap around me tightly
and we’ll watch snowflakes
finding their place out in the woods
wearing motley coats
with standstill greens as tutelary angels.
i don’t mean to allude
you to a fir tree,
but i really like your shade
of deep, sentient turquoise.
i lifted my head
to see you grin slightly,
a definite chin looking
as you as ever.
if only we were this close
under store-bought christmas
lights, some dreams
won’t have to stay expensive
and out of reach.
i can’t say i’m feeling christmasy – too many people have left the nest. but aside rustic memories of the good and bad, it’s been a while since i’ve ever spoken up for myself. as i ruminate on the past year and on the next, perhaps not everything can be waited upon – people come and go like snow to water to mist to clouds to sea. permanence is hard to print on paper, on text. and just like my fleeting words maybe it’s best i migrate from fall to rise, with an overlay of confidence so i learn to stand up a little bit taller, so people can see me for who i am. sounds despondent, but i promise everything will get better! nights
is stirring the unwanted tornado from my chest,
a kind of uncomfortable comfort
especially when i’m with you –
you being one underseving heartbeat too close,
two superlatives too disparate and
three unread messages away
rips my inner lion bare
and exposes my mouse-like heart,
all crummy and undesirably weak.
i am not as strong as you make me out to be.
in a space for people talking and face signing,
it grows undeniably selfish for me
to steal a position meant for
a better person – with a warmer soul,
with better words to offer than these.
maybe catastrophes are better belonging to themselves,
so i’ll find refuge in the sea
where the calm should swallow easily.
and because i want you to stay safe,
i’ll rid myself kilometres off your radius,
stepping out of this friendship
so my whirlwind wreckage and unmeasurable disastrousness
cannot possibly hurt you anymore.
“Because music, as an art form is essentially playful.” – Alan Watts, Life is Not a Journey
sliding arms and gesturing
with the classics –
connect the passing pauses,
bubbling in scaling riffs
as a refrain tunes in. people work
from black notes and bathroom-made hums;
they’re imagined as powerful slurs
like bright autumn leaves and
old souls dancing. i have always liked
seeing cotton chords hanging
beneath Apollo, spilling
moments all over the stage floor
slipping into its stream – and still,
relive a conductor’s final touch
that misplaces with revered purpose
into its primary taste, sweeter than ever.
KOTA DENGAN SENYUMAN || SENYUMAN YANG KELUPA
I know the white background is horrible but wordpress does not let me format this piece into the alignments above so I had to ss 😦
This is the work of a twin cinema, a form where the poem can be read as two vertical individual pieces or read across horizontally as one solo piece. The name was affectionately coined after Poet Yeow Kai Chai’s favourite band Two Door Cinema Club. My portion of the poem sits on the vertical right. It’s my first try on twin cinemas and it was pretty exciting; I can’t wait till I’ve got time and inspiration to write more of these. Hope you enjoyed it!
immured sentiments leans
uneasy on crossed legs, in
cups and palms; every part sits
as a naked skeleton
as some dates would stay
better not knowing
wake up not knowing
my hands are not free /
abandons the old skin,
to catch a glimpse
of what it might feel
to don broken smiles everyday.
the machine money people
trains the chugging thoughts
coined from the silver gears of city
breaths. some buttons to
purging the production
of answers on paper,
answers you have seen elsewhere.
the belts are wearing off
so loosely, and no one
is there to have them replaced.
even in the presence of two legs
and a mind
they are still
in circular motions,
like the drills of a marching
band on national day.
Equipped with stationary
textbooks by the side
I begin to finish a segment of
the machine money people
once said that
there was only a singular
mechanism that produced success.
I do not stop to add gas,
only to press on.