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”

As You Roamed The Earth, You Felt The Drying Skin of Age Itself

it is the waking that is the hardest.
the first step in sleep deprivation:
you learn you miss dreaming
of holes, the spaces between lines,

the gap between the train and platform.
you dream of ways in which to die,
how the train brushes against your feet,
the space just big enough for your thigh.

there are other gaps you remember:
misspelled gpas, an empty desk
in class. visions of your friends,
long gone and passed, moss-grown,
flowers atop: a forlorn crown.
their faces eating the light.

in chasing the gap you lose yourself
in the coming and going, in finding
the joy of godless verse, the sound
when you spread her legs, or some
other sex line that marks you adult,
because penetration is the space
between childhood and modernity,
the answer to your wet dreams.

you tell that to your mother, spit
in her mouth, regurgitate the soap.
still dripping from last night, your
eyes clouded with the ocean.
before you leave, look in her eyes.
they are the ending credits of a film.
they are the same sea, the same salt.
you, the end of pages in a book.
you, the closed off dog-ear.

because you never hear of
hungry children, you
eat yourself whole, give in
to desire, the single moment
when your teeth eat into your lips
when your mouth burrows into your tongue.

this dream that eats away at your tail.

all this, to uncover
the space which your voice hides in:
the gap behind the kitchen cabinet.
that unknown place it goes
when you can’t find it, unwilling
to be coaxed out, like the last drop of wine
like a petulant child, forever, forever.

IN THIS STORY, YOU SAYING HOW YOU FEEL “ALL RIGHT” IS NOT A CAUSE FOR CONCERN

In this dream, you shed your skin
and cast away your leather wings;
from your pockets, spill these things –
antiplatelet medicines,

Clopidogrel, Aspirin.
Warfarin, for battles within.
In another, I hold your chin
and nothing else. Come, unspin

this long dream of safety pins
and other stories, wherein
the might of the might-have-been
becomes the force that underpins

the breath of your life worn thin.
In my dream: we swap our skins
you and I, identical twins,
draped in the light of Kuan Yin,

lost in the mist of has-beens
and has-nots, the lines blurring
like your life – now, a tailspin.
I memorise your next-of-kin,

my final act of discipline.
In this dream, we both begin
realizing: that being
alive’s the holiest sin –

prisoners, of human skin.

Spwm day 14

Brittle Jade

You bottled message parlor
woman. You crackled knuckle.
You tremulo. I am divining josses
in your will. I am folding you into
a boat. I am paying Father to take
a short trip. To look elsewhere. Oh,

you cloud of jade. You page of
filled out crossroad answers.
You wreath of drawers. You little
wreck of bouquet flowers. I am
drawing you a bath in absentia.
I am letting you out, like a flood.
I am letting you, out like a flood.

Fear Of Your Empty Beer Glass

Once, you asked me
what I would want for myself;
I answered as you would have wanted,
i.e. mark of a man, a six-pack, job
that pays good money etc. 5Cs
and COE, a happy family. Another
time you asked me ridiculous koans:
what is the sound of two butts farting. If
a NSman shits in camo does anyone see it.
Infantile and tasteless, but very you.
You probably don’t remember that.
But I do, more than I should – I do
remember the days when you would
curse at late hours of the night, asking
to quit. Asking yourself was it right to
have picked up this job in one hand and
these burdens in another – sickened
uncles, greedy half-siblings, the beer gut.
Bosses. Weight gain and hair loss.
These are things you came to love,
despite your reluctance. Nights alone
at the bar, then sleeping in on Saturdays.
Kopi O. Coffee Black – like kopi but whiter.
Paternal pragmatism. Marvel movie marathons
at 4 in the morning. You would have been 50 that
night. So many questions you have not asked and I
have not answered. Will they mix your ashes in the
martini at Clarke Quay? Or Ann Siang Hill?
Or should I honour your life with Guinness
Gao Black Dog Graveyard sipped through a straw?
Should I buy the lots next to Mum’s en bloc
or should I merge the two a la corporate downsizing?
Does the company know? Will they replace you?
Should I arrange for prayers? Do you even
want prayers? How many half brothers do you
want to show up, their hands pawing over your chest
as though to find their missing sorrow?
Do you know that I have forgiven you?
Do I need to show it? Do you remember?
Have you ever forgiven yourself?
When I think of you, mysterious man,
surely, the answer, in truly your style,
is the same: “no, no, no –
it is enough.”

Prompt for SPWM Day 4. Answering prompts from Day 1 – 4 at once.

dislodged

1.

Parallel projection,

Horizontal rejection: I lie

 

Sideways on a muddy ridge-line

Waiting for time to trip and fall.

 

Come now: come, feed off me.

I sit in the shower and wait to slide

 

Down the throat of Time:

I wait to be destroyed.

 

2.

He leaves you behind as debris.

You are free now but discarded.

You are the fruit missing the tree.

You are detached.