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.

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
no no no.


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.

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

dream notes

Last night, I dreamt
of an old friend picking
up smoking, cigarettes
with the look of pencils
(because she wanted to be
a teacher, you see).
I dreamt of people
I did not know.

Last night, I dreamt,
aside from her smoking lead,
of a table mired in the middle
of nowhere, all of us seated:
just a circle of forgotten things.
Names, dates, faces, friends,
spaces – between our chairs,
each drag of a cigarette,
when we try to speak.

Among the ashes
rises a tribal smoke,
like children, in a morning
class: unsteadily,
uneasily. These signals,
I continue to see:
call placed with no receiver,
dreams of quiet revival,
a slow stir that rouses none.
A fleeting, meaningless dream.

Love, an Asingbol

Love is that brute that killed Caesar, that unfaithful disciple, that Buddhist, Shi Ming Yi, caught for conspiracy: a liar, a cheat – human.

(cont.) It is the counting of flower-petals, the Tinder chats, the Grindr photos: words spoken from one spouse to another and another other.

Love: it is the sore lack of space for my tongue, the choking hazard that I took voluntarily much like a monk in meditation – sokushinbutsu.

(cont.) It is the rapture, the stairway to heaven, the highway to hell – it is the fence we can’t jaywalk across, the first and last cliché.

Love is immaterial, mostly impractical, barely immeasurable – it is that impierceable veil, that imprudent wall: that impersuasible tryant.



Write an ASINGBOL, an obscure new form indigenous to Singapore, the way the pantoum is Malayan or the tanka is Japanese. It is the expedient poetic form created for our expedient society. It’s also essentially an “impossible” poem, befitting of our “impossible nation”.

Here are the structural requirements:

The ASINGBOL is composed of exactly 140 characters including spaces (right, take liberties with counting pauses or caesurae as characters). Written as a single clause, all the words are not capitalized, with the sentence always end-stopping on a period to emphasize its statement of exposition and assertion. The asingbol attempts the near impossible — to be completely literal, at the points of its making and its subsequent reading, devoid of irony or metaphor as if to make disappear the hyperbole altogether. It is written like a dictionary entry espousing a single definition. It is also incapable of being read as symbolic. It celebrates the text as pure object.

Green is the colour

green is the colour
I shall wear today.
green is the guise
I hide myself with. 

the sun rises
and I stare into your irises.
what are you thinking of today?
when I think of you,
I wonder if anyone still remembers me. 

once again,
the morning intrudes
past the boundary of the curtain.
it sheds light on my disgraceful state.
yes, this is home, truly, where I am. 

the familiar has become familial
and the house has become a bunker.
my friends have all become
neighbouring countries
and I –
I, am no longer,