Following the Last Act


When the curtains fall -that’s it.
Well, everything ends eventually.
So, there isn’t any real meaning to it.
No extended metaphor. The only conceit
is mine. The story just ends, its characters,
presumably, not having learnt any better,
and people may or may not like the ending.
That is OK.

Personally, I’d rather the end be some coherent,
overarching image, one that I can wrap myself with
like a blanket. Something clear-cut and/or
emotional, like calls from telemarketers, so
I know adequately how to react. “Hello is this-
NO, THANK YOU!” Or if these things came with
a bowtie and at least asked for your name first. I guess
I just wanted someone to give me stage instructions,
like: “look shocked!” Or look “absolutely miserable.”
A script to memorise and execute to the letter.

But still some signs swim beneath the skin
and spur me. There is a goldfish in my wrist.
I feel fireflies running down my back like a cape
and the curtain is drawn ad nauseum.
In my chest is a round of applause.
In my eardrum there is a telemarketer,
dialling the same number over and over again.
There are tadpoles in my fingers, toads in my toes and

I feel like I want to dance now.
I feel like I want to dance
even when all the lights are off.
I want to dance like nobody is watching.
But I know you are. You always are.
The fairy sitting on the mantle, here
but not here. You have taken stage front
and centre forever. Every character
has the face of you. You are every
seat in the audience, every line spoken,
every rose thrown, every bow taken –
yet you are no encore.
You are not your own sequel.
The only conceit is mine.

So, thank you.
But I’m going to burn you, this poem –
so make sure you read it.
Read it, for me.

Written for Epilogue Slam 2017

triptych #2


“I know what I want

But I don’t know where it is.”

I’ll keep looking

Around in circles of dust

Left behind, in the afterglow

And the aftermath.

“I know what I want

But I’m afraid to ask.”



I wanted to feel it again.

I want to feel the familiar

Movement: wrist in rotation

Pen in motion:

Thinking with ink.

I wanted to write

But about what?

It gushes.

I’m drowning with the feeling

That I’m supposed to be inspired:

After all, surrounded by books

What can you do but write?



In circles I navigated on the trails you’ve left behind. Old words older photos modern letters symbols characters. (Some made up.) This path seems familiar (because I’ve been down this path before). Walking around in circles again. The buzz of city life like flies on roadkill. Everything continues to move because nothing stops. We are not Warsaw. We are not still life. The signs are like tracks obscured by the lalang. It grows. It hides yet it grows still. Still I dream. Around and around in circles again.  Now, the platform seems different, the station has changed and shrunken. How do I go back to where/what I was? I am in a new place yet I knew everything was the same. I’m lost for now, but still I know that this is where I wanted to be. Now, I know what I wanted, but I was afraid to ask. Still, we’ll move forward, circles into circles into circles. Today yet again, I caught myself thinking in circles.



layout of booksactually: a bad sketch


Spent the better half of today completely lost. Went down Chinatown. Past familiar restaurants where we had reunion dinners. I wanted to buy some books I read about in the Straits Times from BooksActually, but I had never actually been there. I saved the address in my phone as 125A Telok Ayer Street, but that was the original address. The store had moved twice. When I reached there I removed my earphones. The music was good. The cats lay on the books near the door. My mood was good. I felt like I had to write something, so I typed this on my phone. Could have been better but I’ll post it as-is.

In retrospect, I should have went to check the address first before I left. When I was lost at Ann Siang I checked my phone and I saw the address had changed, but I was skeptical. Actually,  now that I think about it, I think I knew it had changed for sure then, but I just didn’t want to leave yet.

#1″  was here.


Books I ended up buying: Echolation – Mani Rao Sonnets from the Singlish – Joshua Ip Payday Loans – Jee Leong Koh I Didn’t Know Mani Was A Conceptualist – Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingde and a photobook on Japanese Cafes.