A POEM CELEBRATING SOME THINGS THAT DON’T WORK

Acrostics. Academia. Balancing work, life and a healthy sleep schedule. Breaking up in your head with people you don’t even go out with. Confessing to your first love at the wrong place and time. Denial when you don’t mean it. Even if you do mean it, does that really work? English as second tongue. Editing. First strikes when you don’t have the time to think them through. Fuck as a vulgarity, not a noun. Falling into love at first sight – how cliché. Generosity just because people ask. Honesty when no-one does. I as a singular noun. I as a concept. Just joking, fake philosophy and pseudo-spiritualism. Jamming words together to sieve out poetry. Kafkaesque as a word. Keto. Listing out words and calling it poetry. Laying out scenes and calling it love. Lying about the writing process. Love as an independent variable. Misreading the Tao Te Ching as Dao De Jing. Making an audience hum while sober. Memory loss. Monkdom. Never making the first move. Or just being content with letting things slip. Or just being content with repeating yourself. Orientialism as a concept in the 21st century. Pretending to be woke when you’re still asleep. Puns that no-one appreciates. Puns disguised as poetry. Quokkas. Quips about things no-one cares about. Quantum theory. Running to lose weight. Rote memorisation. Rhymes that don’t rhyme. Lines that ruin your form. Short-term memory loss. Slaying your daddy unironically. Slaying as a concept at all. To be honest about things that you’ve never thought about. Thinking about things that you’ve never thought about. Thinking about people 24/7 that you’ve just met. Thinking. Underestimating when love can strike. Overestimating when it does. Forgetting to keep to form again. Uniqueness as a selling point. ‘Valen’-themed lines because really, how many times do those work? Writing poems to people who will not read them. X starting any word other than xenagogue. You spilling your personal life into groups of 5000 strangers, give or take. Zen Buddhism, but as an aesthetic. Zealotry, but only for self-destruction. Endings without satisfactory closure

spwm day 16

Passengers

I am the first to awaken the first pod to crack open I am the unfortunate accident 90 years too early I am the lonely man the first man the first man to walk 90 years too early I am a system malfunction of a man I am the ship and its pods and the cracking I am silent I am cruise through asteroid belt I am in isolation malfunction in space isolated I am despondent I am an engineer engineering the fastest route to Nirvana 90 years too early I am the hammer cracking you open Aurora I am smitten I am reviving you I am revival I am sperm egg zygote I am your malfunction lonely man unfortunate accident 90 years too early I am devastated lying Scheffler in a pod floating through space I am the place/space in space/race only man in this space/race unfortunate I am prepared to die with or without you I am dying 90 years too early I am being written into your book covers closing like pod doors like millenniums like Buddha’s palms I am the We in the contrived ending I am sperm egg zygote Homestead and Avalon 90 years too early I am hammer glass shatter penetration penetration I am devastated in a pod floating through revival I am an engineer engineering Nirvana dying lying through space 90 years too early malfunction sperm smitten written malfunction unfortunate Aurora unfortunate revival 90 years too early Aurora Aurora Aurora

spwm day 6
For context:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/chris-pratt-jennifer-lawrenc…/

Holes

Holes

1.
When the holes started popping up so did the epiphanies. Men and women rushing to the mountain, eager to find where they fit. When it showed up on the telly I wanted to switch it off – but there I was, rewinding and rewinding the footage, trying to see if anyone I knew had gone there. I had hoped that they would try going in, like a key in the lock. If I could, I’d push them in myself.

2.
Having spent my life on the path, I learnt one day that I was but a stepping stone, when all this while I thought I was moving.

3.
These holes, they stretch all the way through. One in the hole slowly moves, elongated in all directions. There is no way of turning back. They walk deeper and deeper into the the earth. I sat that night in front of mine, peering into the black. This was my hole. Of all the other holes my size, my heart had decided that this was my own. And so I could not muster the strength to go, nor the strength to leave. So there I lay, imagining myself walking through miles of stone, with no light, no sound, no end to be found. I imagine another me having made it through. What would that me look like?

4.
I sat on a hill in Vietnam, looking into the distance. There, I could glimpse into infinity. Surely somewhere, elsewhere, there is a home I do not see myself in. That is a world of nothing but happy places, a glorious plane, one I cannot and do not belong.

5.
There can be no salvation for me now. No escape, no return. The walls close in, like mothers whispering love. This is the path I had chosen – and now I must die on it. Or worse still – I don’t.

Merely Players

Paralyzed and emotionally stunted,
poet finds solace in unread words.
Sometime tell me it’s wrong to
be. Mad, about everything and
nothing. Sad about something
for sure. If God is real, is this
ataraxis, or bad writing?  Am
I a background character on
this ugly stage? The man in
a tree costume. I feed, off
the bright of these stage
lights. I stand reluctant.
I want to live – I want to
die. I see your message
and I don’t reply. The
sun rises; I turn away
into falling leaves,
denouement, exit
stage left; to no
applause, no
audience,
no no no.

Naturally

in this there is no justice, no law. Here
I throw myself against you, oh Wall,
oh Mystery. Who am I to say who you
are?  But I know this: I crave for you
the way plants grow towards the sun.
Yet I cannot see you. I cannot know you.
I have never truly known either.

But here I am: walking towards you,
ever so slowly, my feet moving to
some unknown anthem, sick beat.
A single moment I could convince myself
that I needed nothing else; drooped away,
over-ripe petals pondering,
thorn of a plastic rose. Just
once I made the mistake of looking away
and finding that I have already forgotten –

paraphernalia sets the scene for the
night’s play, the stars prance in the
seas of your eyes, boats in the fog,
the lead who peeks from behind curtains,
my keepsake, some fucked metaphor,
my dream-catcher fever-dream.
I write poems about
you, who does not yet exist – and who may never exist.

Yet
here I am,
forever floating,
engulfed by the fangs of love.

and it will never let you go

You knew when it’d come around. It’d never knock on your door, like a mailman with a parcel. It wouldn’t call you beforehand. It was all predetermined. It would kick your door down, yet creep in afterwards. And the time would indisputably be at night. It suits the ambience after all: it suits the mood of the scene. Just you, in your house, and it, walking down the hallway, muffling its breath, hushing its footsteps, creeping, slowly. Yet you hear it still, like the heartbeat of a dying man. It comes. It strikes, only when you least expect it. You can shut the door. You can turn off the lights, lock yourself away in the closet. You can pretend it’s not there. That it doesn’t exist. Yet the end is invariably the same – by the time you start to feel its presence, its scaly hands pounce: and it clutches onto your guilty, guilty breast.

To Mimic The Behaviour Of The Blissful

The same-old, age-old, all-too-familiar facial movement: it’s like wearing a pair of old jeans. Same same but different. Likewise, the smile’s stretched out, stretched out to reach the ends of the world, and the teeth are bared- an impromptu dentist inspection, files of recruits falling in, trying to stay still, stay tidy, et cetera et cetera – with the eyebrows raised, ready to strike. A naturally man-made phenomenon. If the situation calls for it, you should appear happy; if you detect the same-old suspicions of joy, ditto: monkey see monkey do. Be their mirror, just as they were to you; they smile, you smile, because we are all happy, joyful, exuberant, altogether now. Yet, the creases in your forehead betray you: layer onto layer onto layer – Son, are you bothered by anything, Son, did anything happen , Son, you could practice smiling more, Son – parataxis, questions like quack doctors clamouring to save the sick, to revive the dead, to console the cheerless.  They pile up in the corner of my lips. I can feel them, pressing onto my cheeks, both from the inside and the outside; much like that time when you knew you were happy, but you didn’t show it, not by nurture but by nature; yet you caught yourself smiling when no-one was around to see it. Back then, you knew that smile was beautiful, even without looking at it.


 

I have a problem with smiling.

I’m very conscious of my teeth. They’re very crooked. Some in some out, some big some small. I didn’t brush my teeth enough when I was young. I was also often told that I didn’t smile a lot, or I always appeared moody: so I believed that this was the reason. But I could still smile with my mouth closed, so it wasn’t the cause – I soon realised that this disconnect existed for me, between emotion and action, feeling and behaviour: I could be happy but still appear the same, to be in the default state, the ‘stoneface’…my family won the lottery with my A-Levels certificate a few days ago. My mother was ecstatic, telling me how lucky she was to have bought 4D that day with the certificate I finally got back from my friends a few months after it was released. Who has the time to visit  old HCJC in the middle of sunny Singapore when you’re spending every bloody day in the mosquito-infested jungles of Mandai and Joo Koon? I digress, but she hugged me and I could see just how joyful she was, her smile was from ear to ear, and I suppose I was happy too, because honestly I am, I was, I swear, but then I caught a glimpse of my face in the display cabinet door, and I soon saw the ridiculousness of it all – a mother smiling, joyful, embracing the son, standing there limply as though in the wake of a car accident. 

will probably revisit this sometime, had difficulty ending it….I’ve made about 4 revisions now. I also wrote about this subject back when  I was way, way, way angstier. 

Anyway taiwan comes next week. the jungle awaits me…