Could You Love This?

It falls alone like wilting flowers.

La vie en rose

Like a lipstick stain, left on a carseat
An egg-shaped rock chosen by gay penguins
A butterfly wing on a windowsill.
Just shy, just short of a prior.

Je suis amoureux, mais je suis mort

What is context but a broken backdrop,
What are details but lines,
What is a story but colours spilled beyond?

Someone sings in a kitchen, alone

‘Et ça me fait quelque chose.’

Toes rounding the corners of old ceramic tiles
Ragged, cracked, abandoned,
But the singing continues, carrying on, carrying forth.

Que sera, sera.

 

i wanna take you with me baby lets just fucking overdose

i don’t know what to say, today.
but i guess that is how we had always been,
with lips steeped in silence
soft bodies folding over
spilling
easily
pooling around
our unspoken conversations

this is the norm, to talk about
things we could talk about
and to think about what i want to show you today
whether you would laugh at me again
please, laugh at me
i am but a clown waiting for the tightrope to snap

does anyone else see this?
the pretence of a joyous departure
the idea of adventure
the blanket globe
our assumed future
where are we going? does anyone have a map?

14 hours
13,060 kilometers
5 more years
you, and me
a westbound train

all you had to do
was say you never want to stop dancing
to our off-beat liquid love
and all you had to do
was live like you wanted to die
like tomorrow we were going to fall off the earth
like the flat-earthers were right

if only —
all we had to do —
why couldn’t we —
if you were —
why —

I have questions in my stomach
where our butterflies took flight
but I still vomit wings into the bathroom sink
I want to know everything
and you are an overdue library book

all you had to do was —

I Should Learn To Read Bus Numbers Better

 

frangipani_edited

I took the wrong bus and ended up at your place today, dear.

The trees still look the same, even though it’s been a while since I last saw them. There is still graffiti on the walls and it still smells musty, like old lifts. But the diggers and aluminium walls weren’t here before, so I suppose some things have changed.

It’s not hard to just take another bus and get back on track, and I was already late after all, but it grew more enticing, more sensible, and perhaps a little more fun to wander around the block of HDB flats and pet a stray cat, hope that no cat-hater ever finds it. But the cat doesn’t really care, it just purrs as I scratch behind the ears. I left it sitting on the bench, and I watched as the cat yawned and went back to sleep.

You never liked to leave your house, but I’ve only noticed this in retrospection, from hours of Instagram-chasing. I’ve always been like this, too late, only remembering things in retrospection, realising things and noticing it, miles after something has passed me by. The person you knew before now wasn’t shielded by rose tinted lenses, just blind to things that weren’t reflective.

Do you remember that there was a frangipani in front of my block? The white flowers were always in a pile beneath it, like it never stopped growing and shedding, all at once. I never told you how when I was little, I used to watch my friends climb it, while being too afraid to ascend. But I wasn’t afraid of the narrow ledges, you held my hand as I tight-roped across.

It has never occurred to me, how much of me you never knew. It has never been like me to notice the lack of information we had of each other, and perhaps that was where we went wrong. I think it was where I went wrong- Not that all of it was my fault alone. But it seems to me that I never asked questions that were important, how the surface of our concrete ground seemed enough for the two of us.

Occurring to me now, is truth that remains buried deep under. Occurring to me now, only after everything is over, is the part where I went wrong.

Everything, in the end, became all about me, didn’t it? You know the answer- No one else will know the truth we hold within our bodies. Tell me if you know it, please, if I’ve finally gotten it right.

There are more important things, clearly. I know that now, and it’s far too late to tell you about everything I know. The fact that I know will never be enough. The fact that I’m different will never be enough. The fact that I’m sorry will never be enough.

It’s not that I want you back. I don’t, you never liked telling me that you didn’t want to go out and you left me feeling used. You gave me dog tags with our names engraved on it and I lost them, deep in my body where it became tidal waves of anger and sadness and regret, and I know it’s because of you.

But it’s not about me, or what I know, or who I am. It’s about you, what I turned you into, in poems and stories, it’s about who you were that I never took the time to know. I knew you then, but who you were was lost to my obsession with little things. You, who never let go of me, the tightrope walker.

A branch from the frangipani tree in front of my house broke a while ago. Some kid tried too hard to climb. Nothing will make that tree the same again. But it keeps growing.

I boarded the correct bus this time. I won’t look back again, so listen carefully, before the wind steals these words that will never be enough:

I am sorry.

And just like that, you were gone.

Sonnet for Cold Showers

– Written for SingPoWriMo, Day 7’s Prompt: The Found/Fount Sonnet Prompt:

In this creative prompt, we’ll be working with a new version of a classic poetic form, quaintly named The Found//Fount Sonnet.

Yes, it’s one more thang to add to our expanding catalogue of Southeast Asian forms. The Italians have the Petrarchan sonnet; the English have their Shakespearean and Spenserian sonnets. Billy Collins has written “American Sonnet”, with Tomaz Salamun penning “Sonnet to a Slovenian”. And of course, from good ol’ Joshua Ip, we have his collection, Sonnets From the Singlish, which co-won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2014.

Take the found//fount sonnet as a fresh, newfangled formal variation of our very own.

 

—————————————————-

I shiver under the icy shower and grieve for your peeling skin
While we wash away all our evening sins,
letting you scrub away all the dead cells from my body; rinse and repeat
Nonetheless, we scald our tongues on all that we eat
If I could put this moment, your hands on my body,
open mouthed kisses and sandwiches gone soggy,
in a picture frame, I would somehow be
whole, even while everything still tastes of clay
I would be home, on your bed while we lay,
watching an otter as it searches, frantic, for another hand to anchor itself upon
lest it floated away, into nowhere, under nothing.
I want to shiver under cold showers with you, where we could still be something
While we still have all the time; so turn the lights on
For our burnt tongues, lost skin, shivering bodies and please, say that you’d hold on to me.

Building Hope On Broken Things

– Written for SingPoWriMo, Day 5’s Prompt: The Speculated Fiction Prompt:

Imagine you open up and explain everything about your life today—your biggest fears, hopes, ambitions, habits, the technology– to someone who lived in the past (any time period before the year 2000– you decide!), and they went back in time and wrote a science fiction novel about you. They knew (know?) no one would believe it was fact, so they exaggerated and fictionalised some elements of it. You somehow find the novel and open it to a random page. This could be any page. You find a poem. Write that poem.

I wrote about an Immortal who fell in love with a Time Traveller.

1591, Berwick, Scotland
We met in an alley, I said I wanted to be something more
As you yawned on the stake, gone before you smoulder

1662, Port Royal, Jamaica
The soft leather of a necklace fell around my collarbones
And you lead me to the harbour, waiting for a storm

1781, Yorktown, A British Colony
You hand an empty gun to Alexander Hamilton, knowing,
And you tell me you will be waiting for me in

1890, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France
I cleaned the sheets where Van Gogh once lay,
The old ones wrapped around a stolen painting of a hill, your eyes twinkle

1900, An Unknown Village, China
The screams are earth-shattering, and I say something about life, birth and death
You push me into a muddy field and we run before the farmer gets us

1966, San Francisco, America
Your arrival was marked by pointed laughter at my outfit, and I hand you a banner
I bring you up to speed while we march, and I watch you lose time

1999, National University Hospital, Singapore
We stand in the hall and listen to your mother’s screaming
This is your time, your beginning, your past and present. The next time I see you, it’s

3020, Who knows, Wherever
The walls gleam as I wake up from a New Year’s Eve Party
Your arms wrap around my waist and you say hello, and I say you found me.

1509, Berwick, Scotland
A witch cursed me to an eternity to count the stars in the sky,
You, with stranger eyes haunted by what will happen, has happened, took my small hands, and told me to meet you in

Sayonara

DSC_1592
Photo Credit: Taken by @snarksparkle on Instagram

Performed at Blu Jaz Cafè for the Luna/tic Poetry Slam (Open Mic), hosted by Word Forward. Performance found here.

Your fingertips leave my body
Like grains of sand cascading over a boulder
Gently we part, your lips still lingering over mine
We smile. No more love poems.

I’m falling and crashing into the asphalt pavement
The rain is cracking down on my exposed spine
Never have I felt this much pressure on my hands to
Get up, get up, let go of your ghost-

How often do we get to live like this?
Your hair falls around you as you toss a giggle over your shoulder
I catch your hand and we leap off a cliff into the sea,
Happily, everything falls and settles.

The wave hits me like an angry mother
She crams her salt-riddled palm down my throat
99 paper roses and a pocket full of heart
I feel the pull of the tide and my lungs are-

Softly, your fingertips are dancing over my chest
Platonic plates shift and fall back into place
You are so-

Why is it that I am crying over the last petal as it falls away from the 99th paper rose
Did you know that I stayed up late to make them for you?
When I told you I love you did you know how much it hurt to admit that?
My bones are breaking from letting go of you.

I want to be in love with you.
We float above the Dead Sea like otters
The salt stinging our wounds as our fingers seperate and mend
Alone, is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever tried to be.

I wish you would stay the night, just this once
I hang on to the bits of you that you’ve left in my room,
Screaming my sorrow for the lost emotion in my body
The fluttering in my chest took off from my aching heart.

Loving you was the most unselfish thing I had ever done.
I wonder if letting go
Would be the kindest thing I’d ever do.