At Midnight, The Bell Rang

​I think what I feel, right now,
Is the quiet reverberation of words,
As they echo
Ricocheting off the walls.

The mug on the other side of the table,
Still empty.
But it stays there
To simulate the end of a conversation.

Words keep coming back.
They chase tunnels after tunnels
They are trains on the tip of my tongue
Like medicine before it is swallowed.

“Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.”
I know that now,
So come back to me.
The silence just keeps getting louder.

The other side of the table,
Still empty.
Like the other side of the bed,
To gather dust and lost words.

Trains keep following me.
The tunnel doesn’t ever end.
The words are not like medicine.
At least medicine takes away some pain.

I think what I feel, right now,
Is mercy from you,
As you walked away I noticed an echo of your vanishing ghost,
Ricocheting off the walls.

You flew away that night,
Like you said you would.
I just wish we had more time
I wish we had more

A Pocket Full of Kueh

Pictured above: My Father, who kept loving me when I forgot to love him.

Performed at the Foodrama Poetry Slam 2017, Organised by Word Forward, at Blu Jaz Cafè.

My dad never understood why I hated eating kueh. I spent 7 years forcing kuehs down my throat, long since learning that resistance was futile.

I used to run to my dad for a hug the moment he got home. My dad called me a little “Tau sah piah”, because those were my favourite words for a while.

I wonder what happened to those years. I haven’t eaten kueh in a long time.

Continue reading “A Pocket Full of Kueh”

Dead To Me

Pictured: My Ball-Jointed doll, Mindy. 

Submitted on Day 26 of #SingPoWriMo2017

She shimmered under the moonlight, your fingertips brushed over her rivers and valleys, the dip and rise of her mountains, forests and hills. And you breathed hot air on her neck, straining yourself to fit your hands around all of her, trying to hold everything you wanted closer.

I like to think that she had died in your arms. It’s comforting, in a way, to know that she had disappeared together with my memory of you. I’d like to think of her self-destruction as the moment you took her into your arms.

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The Good Days

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Leave the poem writing to tomorrow, I whispered to my hands, for today is a good day. Today a breeze kissed my cheeks and folded away all the chores.

Leave the poetry to tomorrow, where happiness would waver, where things are harsher. Leave the poetry to the sad days. Leave the poetry in the hands of broken hearts.

On any other day the metaphors may strike the paper with veined anger and the poetry might shriek of the poet’s misfortune, on other days the tears may become ink, but today the words don’t bleed, today is kinder than yesterday and tomorrow is waiting to decide, a gentle coin-toss game in motion. The day is not over yet.

Leave the crying to tomorrow, I whisper to the sorrow. Leave the ink off the sheets, forget the feeling of anti-gravity and hold on to the rails, so that you may not float off into space. Hold on to the warmth of someone’s gentle words. Hold on.

Call him back. Mute the group. Walk until you can no longer drag your feet across the burning concrete, until the sun bids farewell. Today there is no rain, no clouds, no grief. Today is kind. Today, you are invincible.

Leave the poem-writing to tomorrow, I whisper to my hands, for today is a good day. Because poems are for the bitter days, not for days like today.

Today is kind. So leave the poem-writing for tomorrow.

Leaving Me

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Close the door on your way out, the draft will get out. It’s cold in here, so leave for better shores. Don’t stay to catch the rain, don’t go to waste your days.

Have your jacket back, you’d need it to survive the burning sun, remnants of broken glass, tread carefully on a concrete road laid out by stone-cold love.

Remember red hair, remember to smile. Don’t remember the bathroom floor, or fogged-up mirrors. Don’t remember the dress. Don’t remember the end.

Remember her in Polaroid photos, forget the hours spent making plans alone. Forget her body, how the curves bent around you to fit all your edges, all your needs. Remember his name. Remember that she was him.

Take back the person you were before, soldier on even before you become one. Hope that the next one isn’t him. Isn’t me.

Do not hate him for loving me, hate me for leaving. Do not spend time wondering if it was you who is hurt when your hatred for him scorches me, when the sight of us cuts into you, when my flayed skin melts from the sight of you.

Ask if we are still together and when I say yes, ask if I’m happy. Realise that I’m perfectly content without you. Realise that I don’t need you.

Take off the jacket, it’s burning outside. Arrive at the wedding, prepared to leave. Notice a girl. Or a boy, it doesn’t matter. Notice she’s been staring at you for some time. Ask if she wants to dance.

Forget my name, at 4am in the morning, when you remember her face, her voice, the shrill sound of alarm clocks. Hold on tight.

It’s not easy the close the door behind you. It’s easier to be hidden in the closet, wishing to be the one hidden in the sheets. But it’s hard to be the one between the sheets, fully clothed, haunted by the closeted memory.

The exit is stage right. Remember to eat properly. Remember to rest well. Remember to close the door as you leave. Don’t look back.

Please just leave.

A Storm In My Head

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Sometimes, depression is quiet. It is as silent and unmoving as a rock on the shore of a beach. Then the tide comes in. Then it is no longer depression, but anxiety.

But sometimes, depression is quiet. I liken it to living in a house full of water. See, when Anxiety is in the house causing chaos and breaking everything and hurting every houseguest, the flood is the last of my worries. But when anxiety is on vacation, the water is at my ankles, and it is raining in this flat. Depression sits in the corner, silent, unmoving, unfeeling.

Continue reading “A Storm In My Head”