evening, the
pushing of the
hour, and the staying
of the day, you listened.
Every time we touch, I count.
But all I learnt in this exile
was that every muscle in my hand ached
for yours. Yes. We are not alright. This isn’t
love, but a close second. Careless creator, why do you
make hearts that bruise like overripe fruit? Things go to pieces.
The self is the same – it must be taught that if I ought,
then I must: to grasp the heart, enter the chambers, shut the door;
to eat the heart, to eat the heart. We all have blood in our mouths.


for prompt 29

How to Fulfil a Prompt (poem for SPWM 2016)

There are little Aprils remaining on this Earth.
These childish, dark months are diamonds.
Yet like this long ramble not worth a kopi-o.
Dr’s Chee’s wife likes to go for strolls outside.
家里aircon 坏 liao, she said dripping Niagara Falls.
They couldn’t repair it, money was very tight.
And to witness poets write nonsense, Desmond replied.
What can we do with infinity? Alvin asked.
He contemplates giving himself another bonus.
Write poetry, he continued, talking to himself.
It’s the endless by-election, Dr Chee’s wife said.
The clean wholesome historic Murali Chee-BYE.
Another clash of national colours, I replied.
Like another April, fighting words flying verily fuckingly.
Except the trains break down again, travel in loops.
Like in this poem, I am not Valen, I am Persona.
Not the video game, I am a woman named Persona.
The loop isn’t a Mobius stripper but a harlot rollercoaster.
In any case the poem just keeps continuing.
There doesn’t appear to be an end for these people.
But it’s always interesting, Desmond said, Facebook emoticons.
It’s as if we forced ourselves into boxes for silly bonuses.
Now is the time, to wear the collar with the ‘poet’ dog tag.
Stick out your paw, if only to write mediocre poems again.
And you’re fine with it? Alvin asked.
まあ!気持ち!気持ち! Dr Chee’s Wife exclaimed.
It was always a fetish to write poetry online.
To join in the daisy chain of MRT date poet memes.
It was hip and happening and in-ter-llect-leck-ual.
Until these young folk reaffirmed their existence.
I saw her reading once, at the Symphony Theatre.
I saw she loved SingPoWriMo, the purple one.
She loves Eeeee Eee Eeee by some Tao Lin.
She loves anything with a made-up title.
I saw that she loves the green version also.
I was a bit off my rocker that opera night.
I thought I saw Pooja performing the opera.
Or was it Joel, mixing some getai and Taylor Swift?
It’s some remix for sure, clarinets, a rush-hour symphony.
Feels like a fresh breeze in our poem’s moratorium.
Its empty sound that is beyond mortal comprehension.
She raised her hand; sliced the opera in twain.
Like you would when you cross the street, a child.
From her bag she brings out her book: Ethos.
Or at least, I think it’s a chapter by Aristotle.
She does not have small hands, so she blocks it.
She needs to re-read it, like a JC mugger.
She reads the papers for politics, but never poetry.
Today is the paper of never moving forward.
Today is the day for ‘We Are Majulah’ to berhenti again.
Today Murali pays for his speech drawn as a mural.
It depicts the epic of town upgrades, and poetic license.
It depicts the Eden of some rehashed town council.
Murali pledges for the past to be buried again.
Buried in whatever substance parliament chooses this week.
I wish he would tell us of love, life, something I care about.
I know nothing of politics except these silly words.
Especially as I reach the end, content running dry.
Content running dry, like an inkwell after April.
I lie, I use pencil and tablet, Certificate of Screenshot iphone.
Someone’s already monopolized inspiration, made anthologies.
Ruth Tang EP mixtape not-yet-played on radio.
Some wuxia epic that throws me back to 1988.
Alvin holds on to his books, unbirthed and unborn.
Desmond rolls in his bed, a make-shift grave.
Writers are really no different from poems they write.
They do not sleep, they do not sleep, they do not.
Now I just want everyone to take a dip together.
Into where everything is black and unforeseeable.
Friends and fellows, this is how to fulfil a prompt.
How to fill a life.


death, it looms

death: it looms, above our car
i can hear her, knocking on the sunroof
a cloud, she; our car nothing but a coffin
when the two of you fight over us
i am reminded that i, too, am but dirt
i suppose that’s all we were.

when the car stops at a red light
when from my pit the sky starts to shrink
don’t you dare tell me you’re sorry
don’t you dare offer to help me out
don’t you dare ask, how i got here
shovel in one hand and mud on your fingers.

Examination Questions (50m)

Q. How did you know you loved? (5m)

When we had ran all the streets to the end,
learnt these veins weren’t enough to contain
young blood. We could have traced these roads
to each other’s heart by heart. When every flat
was a hill and every sunrise we saw
was first and the last, I had known for sure.
He would never be as sufficient as We.

Q. How did you know he cheated? (15m)

I did not. All I ever had were children
tugging away at the hem of my shirt.
Life isn’t a metaphor. No tower, no
lightning, no stopped clocks. No –
he never did say anything: but he
addressed all his poetry to ‘You’.
When addressing Us was sin,
the unspoken word, taboo,
I knew then that we were shrinking:
the distance to his house, dates, even
the sex, shortens. When I wiped his nut
butter off and wished he could unfuck me
that night I swore I had saw him nod, twice.

Q. How did you feel about it? (5m)

I wanted to get lost. Lost from this city,
into the wild. Find a place where birds still sing
to each other. He could not lead me by the hand
any longer, so I was already halfway there.

Q. What about the darkness? (10m)

You get accustomed to it. When the
world tucked itself in I spent many hours
feeling it: the flaking bark, tiny insects,
muddy soil, crackling kindling. I dug
a hole and slept in it; letting the mud
embrace, smother me. I wanted to be
part of something greater than me again.
Then, I saw him: looking down, covering me
with the warm earth, with his caretaker’s hands.
That was something I would not have minded;
that was the moment where God deletes
the trees and sets this little death aflame.
Darkness was but a temporary refuge –
the absence of light made space for me,
and nothing, nobody more.

Q. When did you start living again? (15m)

When the smoke blanketed my sleeping body –
I ran for it. Ran from this inferno threatening
to consume me, as I did with him. As if
running could bring me back to you.
People die when they are killed;
nothing can retract the dagger.
With this I learn there is
no right route, no connector, no
end line. I ran into this city, a city
with no name, no shadow, hence nowhere
I belonged. It was at this moment I saw you:
smiling on the hill, never-ending horizon behind you.
At that very moment, I swear, you had eclipsed the sun:
and so, like everything else, my life was open ended as well.

Many answers. Hopefully can get at least 30/50 arh.

With (many) Apologies to Kendrick Loo.
Original Post Here:




this year has been one of the most life-changing ones for me. the old milestone which every singaporean son must conquer: the ever-dreaded national service, something that to me, seemed milder than the days spent in NPCC back in HCI. I thought this way even when my head was still bald, and my rank holder, empty: now, here I am with my chevrons, facing what I must have once been – absolutely terrible.

deadpan aside, the oppressed is now the oppressor: but now, I guess I can truly see the frustrations my commanders must have had – you really do end up caring a whole lot for them, to the point where you feel responsible for them to do well, and to this end, you feel the need to scold and punish them, as though they were your younger brothers. i knew i was younger than most of my men, but in my eyes, they’re all 16. with this mindset, I guess it helped me to do my job better – i had to counsel them, talk to them, motivate them, scold them, bond with them. I don’t think I will ever forget the time I’ve spent at 9SIR.

I’ve also managed to get into law school, or, to be specific, law and business school, much to the surprise of some of my friends who believed that I would go for something like the arts and social sciences. to be frank, i’m pretty surprised at my own choice, and being able to get in at all. i’m still in shock myself. it’s like I thought all about getting in, but not really much about what would happen afterwards. but that’s a thought for another afternoon.

this year I’ve also seen so many different people, from all walks of life: in bmt i saw more jc kids than I ever wanted to, and I saw that not all of them were just stereotypical bookworms ( although there were the token few..) . in scs I saw different teammates pass me by, some useful, some lazy, some hardworking, some girlfriend-obsessed-to-the-point-of-uselessness, some slackers, and of course, some great people – great people who would eventually end up following me to my unit and therefore being forced to put up with my crap, for at least another 12 years. and last, but not least, I saw several different recruits, from all sorts of backgrounds and all walks of life. sometimes you reach a point where you think you’d seen it all, but I find that NS constantly changes this mindset, for better or for worse.

this year i’ve also come to terms with several deaths: the death of a website that used to be more or less integral to my identity, the death of its attempt at revival and the death of what motivated me to write for so long. websites aside, on a more serious note, I’ve also seen several people come close to death this year. thankfully, none of those lines were ever crossed, but my fingers remained crossed nonetheless. on a more melodramatic note, I’ve come to terms, finally, with the horrors of junior college, and those hazy, hellish days. I used to keep thinking about the whole incident, but now I’ve stopped losing sleep over it. I’ve also almost completely forgotten about the details. safe to say, I’ve moved on from what used to tie me down.

I’ve also felt the effects of time passing this year, much more violently than ever before – I can see and feel the change come. I witnessed changes in my body, personality, and mentality. I can almost physically feel it.

the only thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the fact that my writing is still trash.

which is, I suppose, comforting to know that I’m not the only piece of trash around here.

happy new year to whoever is reading this. may you always be surrounded by good vibrations.