Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

A half-finished bridge is a lure,
a line to an unmarked haven.
Hanging in midair, the eyes
naturally complete the shape.
Workers on the edge, melding
the rebar, their helmets lit
with the light of progress,
process. I distract myself as
we duck under them, our cab
ducking in and out of snaking
crowds, looking for the next exit.
My family’s in the back-row, and
in my memories this will be
a different city, a new country.
A junction can become a crossroads,
a crosswalk becomes a scramble.
Turning past a night market,
its citizens bustling about,
hustling their wares and
going about their days,
my mother says that
this place is still so undeveloped
compared to where we come from
but I wonder if that was meant to indicate
some kind of success of government policy
or whether some sign
of how this becomes the market of progress
progress progress progress progress
it is measured in dollars and cents
it is measured in numbers and statistics
rising arrow-like before the lurch
towards God himself in the upper-right corner
of the umpteenth bar graph
I am tired of thinking of progress
it would be nice if we could live
for the sake of being alive
and not for slaving our lives away
paying off a degree or a loan
that lets us qualify to slave our lives away
I am almost back to the hotel now
and I can sleep tonight forgetting all of this

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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