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.
spwm day 13
spwm day 7
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)
Should come back and edit this some day
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.
this year has been one of the most life-changing ones for me. the old milestone which every singaporean son must conquer: the ever-dreaded national service, something that to me, seemed milder than the days spent in NPCC back in HCI. I thought this way even when my head was still bald, and my rank holder, empty: now, here I am with my chevrons, facing what I must have once been – absolutely terrible.
deadpan aside, the oppressed is now the oppressor: but now, I guess I can truly see the frustrations my commanders must have had – you really do end up caring a whole lot for them, to the point where you feel responsible for them to do well, and to this end, you feel the need to scold and punish them, as though they were your younger brothers. i knew i was younger than most of my men, but in my eyes, they’re all 16. with this mindset, I guess it helped me to do my job better – i had to counsel them, talk to them, motivate them, scold them, bond with them. I don’t think I will ever forget the time I’ve spent at 9SIR.
I’ve also managed to get into law school, or, to be specific, law and business school, much to the surprise of some of my friends who believed that I would go for something like the arts and social sciences. to be frank, i’m pretty surprised at my own choice, and being able to get in at all. i’m still in shock myself. it’s like I thought all about getting in, but not really much about what would happen afterwards. but that’s a thought for another afternoon.
this year I’ve also seen so many different people, from all walks of life: in bmt i saw more jc kids than I ever wanted to, and I saw that not all of them were just stereotypical bookworms ( although there were the token few..) . in scs I saw different teammates pass me by, some useful, some lazy, some hardworking, some girlfriend-obsessed-to-the-point-of-uselessness, some slackers, and of course, some great people – great people who would eventually end up following me to my unit and therefore being forced to put up with my crap, for at least another 12 years. and last, but not least, I saw several different recruits, from all sorts of backgrounds and all walks of life. sometimes you reach a point where you think you’d seen it all, but I find that NS constantly changes this mindset, for better or for worse.
this year i’ve also come to terms with several deaths: the death of a website that used to be more or less integral to my identity, the death of its attempt at revival and the death of what motivated me to write for so long. websites aside, on a more serious note, I’ve also seen several people come close to death this year. thankfully, none of those lines were ever crossed, but my fingers remained crossed nonetheless. on a more melodramatic note, I’ve come to terms, finally, with the horrors of junior college, and those hazy, hellish days. I used to keep thinking about the whole incident, but now I’ve stopped losing sleep over it. I’ve also almost completely forgotten about the details. safe to say, I’ve moved on from what used to tie me down.
I’ve also felt the effects of time passing this year, much more violently than ever before – I can see and feel the change come. I witnessed changes in my body, personality, and mentality. I can almost physically feel it.
the only thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the fact that my writing is still trash.
which is, I suppose, comforting to know that I’m not the only piece of trash around here.
happy new year to whoever is reading this. may you always be surrounded by good vibrations.