Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

Every day the same bitterness,
every day the words hide
in the back of the throat,
every day mouths shut
against the light. Every day
I am reconfiguring what
I want myself to be, what
I want everyone to hear.
There is an art to this
manner of magic, this
two-faced trickery we
call civility. Anger?
Bury it in your palm.
You can always write
about it later, like an
confession letter that
will never be read.
There is some meaning
in meaningless like that,
this way of taking truths
and rendering them
inside-out, fictional
as a blue moon, like
the glory childhood
you reinvented in
the cot of your mind.
Love? Transient,
fleeting, the flash
of a subway ad
as the train whizzes
through endless tunnels,
this snake running in the
dark. What do we know
but nothing anyway?
Sometimes I almost
convince myself that
I am in love not for
the sake of being in love
but rather just for it.
Thought exercises, a lot
of it. Learning how to
open and close drawers
forever, finding the
permutations in which
to reclassify emotions
into detriments. The ideal
man is a cold one, but
warm barely enough,
like the freshly shot-through body of a downed falcon,
the bullet nesting softly in his breast.
Call that love. Call that
the anger that love brings,
call that righteousness.
Come on now. You can see
it – the small gap oozing
blood, the red draining
across the fields. Reinvent it.
This is love personified.
This is how we learn
that we are capable of such cruelties,
that we learn that to harm is to love
is to harm is to love.

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.

Filed under: Freewriting, Poetry


A member of Singapore-based writing collective /stop@BadEndRhymes ("/s@ber"), Valen dwells in the swamp of poetry. He has been published in various publications, including Anxious Poets Society, Eunoia Review and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He has performed his work at the Arts House, the Singapore Art Museum, and in various dingy bars.

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