FREEWRITING EXERCISE #102

In recent months I have been
abandoned by sadness. More
accurately, I have left her behind.
No more the plucking of leaves
from her overgrown crown, her
laurel of memory. She would not
let me go – a root, tangled around
an arm. My fingers planted in
the bark. As a trade, I had to cut
off my tongue, toss it away. Only
then, could I recognise the future.
Like a door out of nowhere opened
into a garden, and you reading
quiet under the shade. I plant
the seeds of speech in the bed
of my mouth. So much of my words
are poisoned. Everything runs dry.
I have been waiting for months
for something to bloom anew.
I pull a finger from the tree.
Ink, sinew, sap, blood.

FREEWRITING EXERCISE #101

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Door shut.
Silent afternoon.
Mother, couch.
Phone, charging,
candy crushing
comic reading
quiet waiting.
One call.
No answer.
Two calls.
No answer.
Please, come,
sit down.
Rare visitor
appears again.
He wraps
his hands
around fists.
Bald brother
standing unsteady
voice trickling
into phone.
Answer muffled.
Breakfast cold,
voices unsteady,
mother trickles
within kitchen.
Locked out.
No context.
I sit
in silence.
Shut afternoon.
Quiet, rare.
Couched calls,
mother waiting.
Cold. Cold.
Cold. Cold.


Freewriting Explanation: Every day, Valen shall use 5 minutes to write completely unprompted and uninterrupted, letting the words lead the way. There is no end purpose to each piece, but rather, the pieces are allowed to develop naturally in their own way. The pieces are then uploaded without edits.

FREEWRITING EXERCISE #100

the wilted flowers on my balcony.


The flowers on my balcony bloom
but shed their petals in a week.
The floor is now an aftermath.
I sweep up the shredded white
and place them into the soil.
I live so comfortably well that
I only have to kill once in a while.
An ant, a spider. A wayward fly.
Tonight I will sleep without guilt.
Tomorrow, I will wake fresh-eyed
to find that the world has become
the same awfulness it was last night.
As angry, angry men sit tall in their
highchairs of power, I will be here,
eating breakfast alone in this house
filled with sunlight. With each new
day, I come closer and closer to
accepting the reality that I cannot do anything.
My words vanishing like smoke signals,
nobody in miles around, a vise slowly
chewing on my skull. I wake to a ocean
drying itself up with a rag made of
skin. I see a person walking backwards
into the sea’s stomach. I think of my friends
who I know have been worse off than me
and remain so. This is the ugliest scene
I have had to confess to recently, seeing
myself in the murk of a lake but then
finding their faces at the bottom of it.
My own problems I drop one by one,
watch them sink through the slit and
mud, a small inconspicuous bubble,
roughly the size of my voice, floating
to the surface. Maybe there is heaven
after all, but maybe God doesn’t exist.
Does anyone else share this neurosis?
Is it fair for me to be happy? Not sad?
I feel so small and everything is just
the right size to crush me. Crush me.
I’m sitting alone on the bus right now,
and everyone feels like an informant,
watching this shuttle breeze through
empty space, building after building
fading away like eras. Maybe I need
therapy. Maybe there isn’t any real
good in this world except for what
we can muster up. The spare change
we’ve left in our pockets, sticking up
for the little guys. Recently, I let him
build a web in the corner of my room.
I can clean it up, easily, but I let him
make a home until it disappears.
The only kindness I can afford him
is that I will not be the one who does the killing.

————————————————————————-

Usually I take 5 minutes, but I didn’t time this time around. I haven’t written any poetry for a while, and I still want to stick to freewriting, but I think I’ll make it less stressful for me by removing this self-imposed rule. I’ll just write until a decent base is done, then I can come back and work on it later.

These past few months, I have been busy with life and other things, but now I have some time to devote to writing again. I’ve barely written anything submission-worthy, so I need to get back into the swing of things.

This piece is inspired by some internet drama my friends got into recently. I can’t help but feel a bit powerless, so I finally had a source to write from – anger.

FREEWRITING EXERCISE #99

Photo by Anna Utochkina on Unsplash



words scrawled on an unknown wall
last names taken without context
faces as smooth as a washboard
mingling in a sea of cotton buds
and in the air there is capitalism
that quiet + usual summer bloom
as we walk down the red carpet
of suburbia and middle-class living
and everyone is dressed and draped
in a thick viscous layer of every
conceivable form of advertisement
I think I will buy a watch tomorrow
just because I can and I will slowly
continue to die at an astounding rate
at the very least I’m taking you with
me to Disneyland at some point
everyone loves a copyright monopoly
Love I don’t know where I’m going
with any of this truth be told
if the truth is ever told, anyway
on my eyes white cartoon gloves
I feel the crowd parting to point
I am a clown I am a clown I am a clown
Clown world clown world clown world
Nobody is worth not laughing at
and nobody is worth treating seriously
as we all cram ourselves into the world’s
smallest clown-car and gracefully
careen ourselves off every cliff

Freewriting Explanation: Every day, Valen shall use 5 minutes to write completely unprompted and uninterrupted, letting the words lead the way. There is no end purpose to each piece, but rather, the pieces are allowed to develop naturally in their own way. The pieces are then uploaded without edits.

FREEWRITING EXERCISE #98

Photo by Zhu Liang on Unsplash

head empty no thoughts
head on backwards
eyes staring into the past
like beams of light in a thick endless fog
there’s so much anxiety
my brain is wrapped within like bubble wrap
I close the door and leave the house
with my unhappy face on
I close the door and dim the lights
and take off my unhappy face
to put on an even unhappier face
I don’t have any reason for the things I do
My being, like my anxiety, is a clusterfuck
It’s like rolling 3 die when you’d rather roll 2 die
It’s like stepping into dogshit in your own home
and you don’t own a dog
sometimes I just get really really angry
I feel all my expressions scrunch up like a paper ball
my shoulder’s arc slowly rising like a tide
and my head is empty
with no thoughts but
some kind of unnamed anger of sorts
some would call it sociopathy
but they would not understand what that means
some would call it anxiety
but like me they’re an armchair therapist
writing down patient notes on an imaginary clipboard
in the plush white chamber of their straitjacket lives
spent going 9 – 5 and then some more to build the wealth of somebody else
who will never work a day in the whole of their lives
as the entire planet becomes a hardboiled egg
and evil men wearing average faces rise into power
and all good is lost
and I’m just here writing about something which doesn’t make money

Freewriting Explanation: Every day, Valen shall use 5 minutes to write completely unprompted and uninterrupted, letting the words lead the way. There is no end purpose to each piece, but rather, the pieces are allowed to develop naturally in their own way. The pieces are then uploaded without edits.

GOLDEN POINT AWARD 2019

Ecstatic to announce that I’ve been awarded Third Place in English Poetry for the Golden Point Award, 2019.

The Golden Point Award is Singapore’s premier creative writing competition for Short Story and Poetry in the nation’s four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.  Established by the National Arts Council since 1993, the national literary writing competition is a significant platform for discovering new writers whose works exhibit literary merit and encouraging literary expression in Singapore.

The winning works can be found here: https://www.nac.gov.sg/naccorp/naccorp/events/golden-point-award/golden-point-award-past-winners#winners-list-2019

FREEWRITING EXERCISE #97

Photo by davide ragusa on Unsplash

A ball on a table, my thoughts
unspool and drape off the edge,
sentences unravelling their silk
as my words break formation,
their knees buckling under the
weight of yet another period.
I am constantly catching up
to the kite-strings of my own
tongue, and all its struggles
against the walls of its cell.
Apostrophe, apostrophe.
Nothing makes sense anymore
and it is nothing people care about.
My tongue is tied into a
noose. I am sat in a room
forever watching myself
say the wrong thing
over and over again
until I can no longer
remember what it is
to be right. Thoughts
rattling in the chamber
of skull, how all I can say
are but meaningless now
in the totality of every
word that has ever been
uttered, every sentence
said in a courtroom, every
I love you I love you I love you
quickly extinguished between
the neighbouring firework of
two world wars, and perhaps
a third, and how every word
sounds like defeat if you’re
willing to let yourself be, and
I want so badly to wrest
control over this language
and ride it into the sunset
my anxiety’s lasso twirling, twirling

Freewriting Explanation: Every day, Valen shall use 5 minutes to write completely unprompted and uninterrupted, letting the words lead the way. There is no end purpose to each piece, but rather, the pieces are allowed to develop naturally in their own way. The pieces are then uploaded without edits.