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):
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.
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:
To develop something I can comfortably call my ‘writing style’;
To broaden my topics and themes;
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.
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.
On the backstreet home, watch out for black
cats stalking your footsteps. Don’t step in
puddles with your high-heeled horseshoes:
the clack draws all sorts of bad folk. Knock
on wooden doors along the way – let them
know you are there, once, or twice:
unexpected deaths come in threes.
Ring every bell – let chimes cover you,
light the path home, keep watch.
Needless to say, avoid the ladders.
They take you nowhere useful enough,
except upwards. Pennies on roads
are only shiny traps – they are not worth it.
Likewise, check both ways when you cross
your fingers, or your reflection in street
windows. Shatter them if necessary.
Take a photo if you must, to save your soul.
Let the itch of your palm be a prayer that you’re home.
Salt the door. Let relief open like an umbrella.
written for Alt Txt – Experimental Poetry workshop, conducted by Desmond Kon
Title taken from Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Sonnets to Orpheus, No.18
14 fixed words (although I guess I should have shifted stanza 1 to make a spine with stanzas 2-4)
before you dive
into the water.
Yes, this world
will burn you. It will
set you alight with desire
and boil your blood.
Feel the heat run
through your veins.
It only ever rises,
higher, and higher.
Can you feel it?
That frantic drumbeat,
the code of a man set aflame,
each cadence a call to arms.
That pounding anthem,of
his father and every father before him.
Do you hear it?
Before the words become whispers,
put them to song:
let that be the song of your life.