INFLUENCE

 


Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

it’s not like they gave
birth to me, it’s more
like walking through
a forest covered in
cobwebs in the deep
of night, it’s when the
village elders check
your body for remnants
and find nothing. this
is when you must be
broken and affixed,
flaws masked with
growth, and there is
the fire of inspiration
cowing, and there is
the hand that moves
without guidance, like
bullets into the sea, like
one’s first knife into an
artery, like the first cry
of a man being born.

Blog time: I have this thing where I’ve always been struggling to think of people who have influenced my writing. Being more a writer than a reader when I started, I guess I didn’t have proper influence during my ‘formative years’ as a writer. While later on, I did find plenty of poets who I drew inspiration from, Siken being a big one, my internal dilemma was that it wasn’t as though all my poetry were inspired by them, and neither was the influence that apparent: I learned to play with spacing from Siken, but I could have done the same from someone else, etc. I feel a bit guilty because if you asked me right now what influences my writing, I feel like I can only say music and I know that should be ok but somehow I’m not happy with it. Perhaps part of the dilemma in finding the influences behind my writing is that it would also help identify my writing style, and allow me to describe it, and that too may be a fight worth fighting.

NEW YEAR NEW ME – Looking Out


Photo by KE ATLAS on Unsplash

Another year, another me. It’s a bit strange – I started this blog as a legitimate blog with some poems from time to time but over time it quickly became a place for me to publish pieces which I could not find homes for, or pieces I just wanted to let loose onto the world instead of being tethered to my notebook.

I can’t say that I’ve changed too much in the past 4 years – I feel like I’m still, at my core, the same kind of person I was, albeit somewhat happier. I do have my demons from time to time, but I’ve learned to invite them in for tea. I’ve learned to find a support network, to be able to rely on others, to be vulnerable and be soft. I’ve learned to relax (somewhat) although the stress of knowing the end to this path weighs heavy.

New Year’s Resolutions – I made some actual ones for once this year! We made resolutions while passing (and downing) a bottle of red wine – so we had to think of resolutions on the spot. I think I made 3 (but I can only remember 2):

  1. To see more, do more, experience more. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone really soon and I want to expand it even further. I want to be comfortable as who I am – I want to grow and grow.
  2. To be comfortable with showing affection to others. I keep thinking of myself as some kind of observer, lone wolf / background character kind of guy and I can’t help but make fun of people and generally avoid my feelings (if any) but this year I’m going to work on that. Last year I had some breakthroughs, even if short-lived, but I’m confident that I can make it this year. I want to be able to tell people I love them without having to go in such a roundabout fashion, I want to be close to people, I want to connect, I want to cross their paths once in a while on purpose, etc.

Writing wise – I’ve been in a slump for some time. I keep reverting back to familiar topics of writing and I have little inspiration to write beyond that. Everything I’ve thought of feels very contrived – especially when I’ve been trying to actively submit my work to journals and competitions. Granted, winning the Arts House competition was great (as it forced me to write 10 ekphrastic poems! wow!) but I feel like my peers were so much better. All of these make me want to write even more – my end-goal is still the manuscript, but can I get it done by April?

As such, here are my writing goals:

  1. To develop something I can comfortably call my ‘writing style’;
  2. To broaden my topics and themes;
  3. To finalise a satisfactory manuscript halfway through April.

One might wonder – who the fuck cares what your resolutions are? You might be a friend, or a random stranger who stumbled upon this blog. In either case, I hope that in the act of posting these publicly, that I can find the courage in my heart not to run away from these goals. I want fulfillment, I want success, I want so much and I know I have to work hard to get those.

COMMUNE


Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

outside it is pouring,
dark spilling over the sidewalk
like a glass filled with the
blood of something fragile.
you and I are somewhere
in this flood of warmth.
the rain continues to knock
on the roof, a witness
to all of this nothing.
time drips slow. quiet.
you and I will part so soon.

BOXING


Photo by Joshua Jordan on Unsplash

It’s not as much a tussle as much as 
it is a boxing match; the dodging 
and weaving like swerving into traffic.
The reason people must inevitably bury
themselves is the same as why full stops
must be full.  You know the steps by heart:
here is an empty space to be filled. Here
is a name erased. Here is another lie 
for you to be placed in. Graves, too, 
must be full. You are boxing yourself
into a coffin. Your heart is full of mud.
Here is an empty filling to be spaced out,
crossed out, placed outside of the boxes
and the self. Here is a list of instructions
for the heart to erase. Here is the box that
got the trafficker hung, here is the weave 
of an executioner’s mask, the judge’s wig, 
here is the tussle you will bind yourself in,
the bullet you will learn to dodge.



Inspired by real life conversations. I’m back on my bullshit of trying to bang out drafts in a single 10 minute sitting. Old title: “Springboard”

Get Your Mind Out Of The Gutter


Photo by Paolo Nicolello on Unsplash

Our issues melt away and run, like dirty water into drainage pipes. Black fishes into estuaries. When we are out of each other’s sight, we’ll be out of our minds. Flushed away and forgotten. Invariably some scum stays: stains on a manhole. Is it disgusting? For me to wish thusly: I want to know everything. What are you doing right now? I wonder as I type these words, whether an old poem would remind you of me. Or maybe, an old Weezer track. A putrid display of cliche. Whether some strange, blackened memory comes rushing back out of the depths of the sewer we consigned ourselves to. Something no-one wants to see nor clean. Things – and people – we’d rather let rot somewhere else. So let me say it again, I wish to know everything. As if repeating it makes it any cleaner. I am scrubbing my mouth with this repetition. No matter how disgusting it may be – I want to know where each river ends, where every one runs dry. I want to feel this world: every festering wound, black-mold enclave, drip of a shedding. Every single shoddy half-written metaphor. I want to see you, behind your squeaky-clean 5-stars public-toilet facade. And I want somebody to tell me – that everything which was filthy was fine, everything which was wrong was right – that everything which was not, will be. Truth be told, I’d love it to be you, but I know. I already know the answer.  My mind has no qualms with being in the gutter, as ever always.

SPREAD

After ‘Mud man’ by Chikako Yamashiro

 the word spread across the town like

rain. we lie, waiting to be exposed

to wisdom from the heavens. we let

the word blot us out, cake us in dirt;

your hands, blooming from the earth

like mangroves. we are tethered here,

grasping at raindrop, leak, and tear.

somewhere behind one of those clouds

god is watching his children, laying

themselves out like clothes to dry.

this poem is not about you, but that’s up to you


Photo by Ron McClenny on Unsplash

I start off every poem by changing

the font to Hoefler. Makes me feel

a bit more … dignified …

as though I have earned my right to say

dear world I am a confessional poet

when I never really do fess up

and do I really write any poetry

and this too is another attempt.

I want you to imagine the ellipses

as pauses in my typing. Maybe

you could picture this:

I’m … cracking a knuckle …

or two… staring out the window.

Which knuckle is up to you.

Which window too …

Got it? Great. Video by text.

Anyway …

I wanted to tell you that I love you.

Wasn’t any big secret really.

Let’s just say … I would

let you decide

what paint we’d use …

or which leg to cut first if I were caught in a bear trap.

at the height of my fever

I imagined you down at the pound

picking out a stray mutt

and robbing me of part of my affection…

And in another breath I want to tell you I don’t.

Maybe this is the world’s ugliest dog.

Maybe you cut both legs and I die of blood loss.

Maybe this is desperation

pulling … me by the … wrist

like I’m a dart. Is this love?

Most of my life I imagined it

as the inertia of fucking

spilling over into society

because it sure never happened to me now did it homeboy

and maybe it’s a feedback loop

of negative energy … and I’m wrestling

myself in a cage match … I’m working

myself into a chokehold …

… if I were to see you tomorrow

I would have no idea what to say.