Roses

“I like my lattes without sugar; thank you very much,” I said, before realising that statement of preference was about as necessary as the roots of a rose. I grabbed my coffee, and sat down under the false ceiling sprinkled evenly with the multicolours of Christmas cheer. It was a simple wooden chair, made cold with mass-production and an over-reliance of air conditioning. In front of me, a computer merely a few years old, yet betraying me at every click. And so there I sat, on that warm December Day.

I thought again about the roots of a rose, those parts so essential to the development of such a powerful symbol, yet discarded every time before the symbol is presented. I thought, “Maybe this would be a good symbol to use for some future poem.” before accepting that any poem about roses would probably be detrimental to my mental health. I stared blankly at the screen, thinking about everything that has been said before about what I write, about how much I had complained how difficult it is to break out and get your work seen, about how much effort I had poured into this pastime while constantly thinking that my work is utter garbage. Inspiration came like the holiday cheer: hard-hitting, and yearly. Or so it seemed. With no possible avenue for me to be taken seriously, and with no motivation to move on, I had no choice but to accept my incompetence and move on.

My next series of thoughts were directed straight towards my routine-driven life and the end of all routine coming soon. Some might liken one’s military experience to a rose filled with thorns, while others, like myself, liken it to the sinking of Atlantis. A probable tragedy with a lot of great stories. And while Atlantis was sinking, my Republic of Optimism went down with it. Filled with a constant bitterness, I had no choice but to accept that nothing good can come of anything unless I move on. Speaking of which, my coffee was a bit too bitter, which sucks considering coffee was my world.

The arctic ice was melting, and my coffee was getting more and more dilute. Ordering my latte iced was another regret to add to the list. In a dramatic turn of events, I went back, and added some sugar syrup, successfully suffocating any remaining resemblance of genuine café-loving vibes. “Some things I do don’t make a difference, and some things I say don’t have a point,” I wondered. While everyone worked on something meaningful, I worked on meta-writing and an unsuccessful WordPress poetry blog.

I would have gotten my latte without sugar no matter what I said. Self-service, they called it. I wish I could do myself a service. My words were like the roots of a rose. Pluck them away and the symbol goes to waste. But at least the pretty picture would still remain.

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Imperfect

the changi sky a colorless blue as it
cracks with the shine of a raging dawn.
another day back at home with an imperfect set
of teeth and lips, chipped off by fiery slip,
a violent kiss, a bloody spit, driven off,
discharged, home by one at night.
another dark hour I sleep without
sound, the morning brings lesser hope:

I am tainted. by my own set of imperfect
wishes and expectations, the lingering sting
of Mr. Brightside. I never (I never) expected
my pain to sustain me through these tough times.
“don’t outlast me” my scream an echo
my wishes are fallen, redundant shadows.
the ornament has shattered, the damage is done and
no damn resin can fix the gates of the past.

Upheaval

back again. it would have happened sooner or later.
the familiar mist of the morning march and the brakes of a
/ stopping train / through the hours looking upwards as
the gray clouds drift in our favor, for now.
back again, the melancholy of the afternoon purging downpour,
the alternate plans of static exercises, punctuated with collective endurance.
back again at the plans and preps, into that territory unfamiliar,
unburdened at the climax of first light’s march.
back again, the weekend shorter than ever before, each minute a moment.
back again, on a wet sunday evening before the everyday begins once again.

Happier

happiness comes from being a better person:
get fit, get ripped. that’s the first way to be happy.
hit the gym, lift, sweat, push yourself. your results
will motivate you, push you towards more.
more happiness: niceties. gifts. cards, and love
push yourself towards goodness and you will get
it back: this is true happiness: wealth. manage
your money. if you can’t afford one, money’s your
child. your net worth is your worth, your worth is your
joy; never stop to think. this is what you want. everyone
knows what you want: this is what you want. this is
happiness.

Running

it was the third month of satisfaction when I started to run
with the wind caressing my face as I push on
towards the front. I was, for the first time,
in a long time, running. past the rare green
open space, past the polished school gates,
past the landed properties and traffic breaks;
it was the day I started to run.

it was the feeling that I missed, to be between
the parks and roads, to be under the MRT tracks.
I was running through all those sights familiar
for the first time in a long time, catching my breath
along with the memories of the day that I stopped running.

day by day, they flew further and further away,
from pigeons they became the tints of a rainbow,
lost beyond those granite-paved ways.
once I started, they were all too far for me to believe;
those scrapbook fantasies of easier days.

 

 

Daybreak

the alarm went off at six in the morning,
and I woke and rose up grudgingly to the rooftop
of the mediocre, satisfactory hotel in Kathmandu.
I was there to watch the night turn into day.
from a distant view came the shine of dawn,
surrounded by the airborne tint of brown
up above on the rooftop, no one could
hear us sing; but we didn’t need that.

perhaps daybreak is what we needed for now,
with its glow descending on each picture taken
perhaps for now, this is what a miracle is:
the fact that we are here, that we were there.
and those few seconds of break
soon will be over, and what then?
it’s no matter; another day begins
the sun won’t shine on the summits much longer.

Summer

smoked salmon skylines streak across my sights
while I run back hesitant, bold and unafraid.
the everyday life outside proved to be too much
to handle, with much ado about nothing more
than a soiled hope of things getting better. these days
pass slowly, with each string strummed individually and
with each chord uttered nonchalantly. day by day, winter
slowly comes. there is an abrupt pause additional. and then
I start running back again. posters and persons greet my face
with their equally blank faces, and I fly past them to get back home.
everyday is an arthouse movie that gets no reviews,
an album streamed by one of your two parents, and then abruptly
paused. the same summer song plays on repeat in a foreign
tongue none but some understand, but what’s the point?
summer starts when the silent streams become rivers.

Moulded

do you remember that first swipe on tinder
that was made unreceived like a foraging wasp
spreading its toxicity as an unwelcoming sight?
the lone yellow star of the dim forest night flounders
in the kindled heat of its anxious plight; do you remember
that night seven years ago? or maybe six?
the night where you cried yourself to sleep, blessed are you,
the vulnerable and weak, or so you seemed in the moonlight
as the scars of that morning grip you by your ruffled mane,
as they proselytize you to their own version of the truths that remain

do you remember when your thoughts were your own
before the solitary wasp gave way to greater pride?
I do not.

Reality

the next monday morning, the hunter enters the den,
and drags out the golden shroud of a lion made un-alive.
of gold the cloak shimmers as it floats down to the central isle,
custom permits its validation and absolution (a right of goodwill),
and so the dead travel to the mountains of old,
enters a pariah, an ambition in stone, a granite passage
emerging from the core.

to him this is everything, everything
it represents. his words evade caution, and need no protection.
his words are true, and truer than true. so be the words
of an undead few. his word is sacred, his word is cursed.
concealment evades the caution it deserves.

upon the mountain the snow lies in stasis, obfuscating
the path soon to be trodden. upon the zenith his words
were crystal, clearer than night, truer than the angels.
the lion stays dead, deader than the deadest, its cry remembered
as a fading vibration. far away, he weeps in his silence,
as he fell below, without his life golden.

what would he do except confide
in the molten truth he chose to relay,
what he believed would save a man
when he believed it would save

Together; Changing Times

there’s something special
about hearing a familiar tune
on another’s speaker; there’s
something cool in those bars
of rhyme and reason. do tell,
why did you not say before?

there’s something calming: seeing
a typeface you use to write
poems each day for a month or
“the quick brown fox jumps
over the lazy dog.” you’re
another with which I have similar.

~

would it not be better for us
to grow old together; friends
lazing at a hawker center, with
kopi o and whatever the future
can bring us. newer magazines
of chili crab coastlines, a new
design, a sense of rhyme, a
new aesthetic, and a tune of mine