Category: to those who won’t reply

eighteen steps

We are close yet so

far apart. How is it that

our footsteps imprint on the sand,


on the beach. Longer than

the time we have left, and that

says a lot. Because wind tends to

blow all the sand grains around,


a foot, no foot, left behind. Smooth

surface, sand grains coming together,

falling seamlessly, afoot,

for tiny crabs to crawl.


We leave our own marks on paper,

on the corners of your favorite

chapbook, dampening pretty pages

with tears and while I think that your tears

fall from a very pretty face,

I still wish you wouldn’t cry on my



You loved to read from a book,

you like the paper between your fingers

and the black ink right before your

eyes, but nowadays even reading

glasses can’t help you. Fragmented, you’d cry,

it’s all fragmented and I don’t like the world

I am seeing! Oh dear,


I have never loved the world I have been living

in; perhaps I should have been born somewhere,

else – but you always told me to

stop with the nonsense! be thankful for

the life you have. In your company, I am actually

glad I wriggled out of your womb.


I, You. We don’t come together nicely,

our skin doesn’t coalesce like how I,

foetus, embryo, egg, non-existent, grain

of a being, used to nestle in your protection. Under

your care we fit together for nine months,

flesh and skin running along


the same seam. 9 months, 36 weeks, eighteen

days, all multiples of three. Although we’re

a family of two, I know I’ll miss you

enough for three. Baby steps, we shall take,

to prolong the time we have left…



you close your eyes

and I wish you hadn’t.


i’m back! after a ton of exams and a¬†

bout of inspiration, i am finally OMG [writing grind, that is] ūüôā

I’ve recently gotten a copy of LONTAR, #7! It’s great and I’d recommend¬†it to anyone who feels a little down in the dumps :).




The Fallen Dream

“I hardly write, now.”
That’s scary. It’s petrifying, it’s my worse nightmare come alive and into the living, natural world, sinking its claws into me. I miss the smooth, curving undersides of Comic Sans as you slip into Times New Roman, the sharp-lettered alphabet pinching into my skin.
“I hardly write.”
No, you can’t do this. You were the person who got me a typewriter, who got me a job as the reporter for that one lousy newspaper back in ’70s Town Jupiter; you were the one who flicked reams of paper at me and demanded I put my thoughts to paper. I can’t lose the person who taught me what love is – that is, my love for the written word – to leave this chapter unfinished.
“I hardly…”
You hardly try. I can feel it, for I bug you to write everyday, be it on your Dell laptop, “I don’t mind you tapping so loudly in the middle of the damn night”, I massage your fingers, numb and inflexible from disuse, with great care, to allow you no excuses for lack of writing. You aren’t even trying to write, even short pieces or long prose, flash fiction or flashy-worded poetry. I’m telling you to try but you aren’t trying. You’re hardly there whenever I talk to you about my love – our love – for writing, our appreciation for Sputnik Sweetheart and Making Love To Scrabble Tiles. I don’t think I deserve such a lacklustre response when last time, you could hardly stop talking about those books for twenty-four hours.
It’s not about you. You had to understand, it’s always been about everyone else. Everyone but yourself; the world, the writing, the word before you. You come second to the smell of parchment paper and inky keys, you come third to cups of tea accompanying manuscripts, you come last to three-am writing urges, okay? Do you understand? You don’t have to dot your ‘i’, for I’ll dot the last sentence of your novel for you – I’ll finish the tale for you once and for all, and slam the book shut on your face.
Then I’ll let people read you from cover to cover. I hope your pages crinkle and yellow, and that readers comment in critical awful-ness, not critical acclaim. I’ll withhold my comments. You withhold your anguish, but why would you? The world wouldn’t care, unless you’re some famous bloke, or something.

I am Sad, and I won’t deny it


I am sad, and in no universe or seventeenth layer of Hell will I deny this feeling.

At first it was anger that erupted from within me, searing up  the length of my limbs and wrapping around my torso in the most violent way possible. It was rage that seized me and it was rage that made my tears hot and sticky as they trickled down my cheeks. It was rage that ran through my veins like the sweetest, most toxic of poisons, and it is rage that caused sharp pin-pricks of pain to blast through my ear-drums.


It was anger of finding out. I felt that my lungs were deflating within my being, and I felt like something–someone–had betrayed me, and in the worst way possible.


Then it was a cooler layer of anger. A less-heated, less-explosive version of anger. It still hit me hard, though. The chilled flames licked at my heart and burnt me from the abdomen all the way up to my heart. The flames tackled the organ and sent out obstacles, hard chunks of emotion and pain and hate, thick impurities that  restricted blood-flow. I could not breathe and I was not sure whether I even wanted to.

It hurt me, my own anger hurt me more than the thing that had hurt me so deeply in the first place.

Sadness settled in, after  along while. Sadness led my limbs to sleep and stroked the pillow with tears from my eyes.

How will I handle this?

I had devoted my grades, my sleep, my health, my social life, my everything to my passion. And I had honestly felt that it was worth it, because, well, it was my passion.

But in life, as a student, I have too many true loves–too many passions I am caught up with. When they clash, they cause burns and scars running up my heart, Lacerations criss-crossed across my eyes;¬†anger has blinded me, needles to my lungs,¬†sadness has rendered my breathless, and despair–the despair that comes with having to give up one passion that you’ve carved out hunks of your own flesh for–despair has sucked me of hope and the determination to strive on.

I’m sorry, but can you tell me what to do?¬†I know I’ve turned to your songs before–I’ve turned to your albums and YouTube videos of live performances and I’ve rewatched your choreography many times–not enough to be a ‘hardcore fan’, but enough, enough to refuel me for ¬†my next mission I embark on in life,¬†your music gives me strength, BTS.

However, I am in need of advice. I would like advice from a person, to a person. Human beings to another human being, who has her head lost in rain-clouds and her heart trampled on too many times.


I am sad. I will not deny it. I seek advice. I will also not deny it.

What Did God Say

I set yet another alert for poetry competition.
A dull ache, the slam of boredom against a world to explore,
hits the spot
between my eyes.
i close my laptop. But before I close
my laptop, I make sure to set another alert:
poetry competition Singapore
And in another heartbeat, breath bated behind lips and
tinged with hope’s loving caress,
poetry competition Singapore teenagers

As if God heard me, I hear a voice:
When did setting a limit, a boundary, a perimeter for yourself to carefully toe around, make anyone successful?
It’s okay,¬†I respond, the steely edge of bile cutting into my throat,¬†I don’t want to be successful. I want to be happy.¬†

My laptop lid shuts. It is my cellphone that
catches my attention next–I have the attention
of a frightened clownfish tangled in a net,

The notification light is green. Hence,
I have three emails.
There is that hope again, unfurling like
a midnight moon flower,
petals shifting in harmony,
in tune with the way cerebrum juices
slosh around
inside my head.

As if God heard me, I hear a voice.
The unknown , lilting accent serves me this:
Checking your email won’t do you good.
It will not  help you grow.
What will help you grow would be
to find out how the midnight flower blooms
and whether it can bloom at another time
and which time does it light up the dark
the brightest?

God is discerning, I think, with a perfunctory nod.
What he says must be truth. So I
open up Google with nimble fingers, used
to racing over the keyboard, searching for
writing techniques and poetry examples and
Jerrold Yam pdfs
and which time does it light up the dark
the brightest?

I am fifteen years old and I hear God’s voice in
my head and he tells me to eat sushi.
Confused, I go to the nearest outlet, paying with
a part-timer’s salary. Seated before raw fish,
I take out my notebook, and flip through it;
my goals,
my lines,
my mind-maps of characters I hope I can write alive,
and get to the last page.
Before I can wonder aloud, what to write,

God speaks–
as if he heard me,
I  hear a voice.
He starts questioning. I am
not a philosophical person,
not am I a botanist,
nor do I know exactly what I want (does success still translate to happiness?)
but the knowledge of knowing when the
moon flower blooms
fills the void in my chest.

I smile to God,
and I say yes.

My Niece and Her Intergalactic Battles

My niece likes Star Wars. And not just a bit, but¬†a lot–her interest in the galaxy and machinery and all the other twisted elements borne out of an amazing writer’s¬†proliferated imagination engulf her small frame by a ton.

My cousin–her mother–recently bought her a new toy, except that…it wasn’t really a toy. My niece received a set of 100 magnetic pieces in different colours, in standardized shapes of¬†equilateral triangle,¬†elongated isosceles triangle,¬†large square,¬†smaller square. They’re tinted with magenta, blue, yellow, orange and green–and will soon be worn with my niece’s fumbling and tumbling about with them.

I went over for dinner just two days ago, a nice Saturday evening with a sky that was so gray and blank it hung like a slate over me. She lives in a nice condominium; the balconies are gorgeous, (but she, my five-year-old niece, is obviously, obviously much more breath-taking than the spectacular view of the city).

Before dinner, she took out the set of magnetic pieces, and proceeded to slam them down on the floor in a hurry. Her flurried actions caught my eye, so I knelt down and assembled some pieces myself.

I would actually like to interject a thank you to her. My five-year-old niece gave me a break from rapid typing up of documents; playing with magnetic pieces may not appeared to have appeal, or attraction (if you get the pun) towards a (cranky)(sleep-deprived) teenager like me, but a profound feeling settled deep into my bones, nestling themselves into the aching nooks of my body:

Peace. It had arrived, and what a blessing the feeling was! My stress and anxiety simply melded off as I sat there with my niece, assembling magnetic pieces together into weird figures, or buildings, or…whatever that she was instructing me to build.

Crash! We had built some sort of farm-house thing, and it had fallen to the ground, clattering around the glass coffee table and the nice play-mat my niece received from her teacher, as a gift for behaving well (perhaps she is the epitome of Things I Cannot Achieve, being a polite and ‘good’ schoolgirl from the start of my lifetime). She didn’t cry, nor did I, although the farm-house vaguely resembled a two-story, sleek, stylish apartment modelled after those cool apartments in Korean dramas, the modern pads for the better off.

ūüôā Not the point.

Anyway, she picked up the¬†magnetic¬†pieces (hopefully she won’t have to do the same for her heart, next time;)) and embarked on a new construction project. I cooed¬†What are you building, honey around five times before her intense gaze swung from the coloured pieces to my confused (possibly,¬†pimpled) face and announced proudly, “It’s Darth Vader’s ship!”

Darth Vader’s ship…Did Darth Vader have a ship? What was his role again; who’s father was he? I had some brief recollection of¬†Luke being a possible offspring of Darth Vader…was that even correct?

I decided to broach the subject. “Do you want to build the farm house again”, I tried to assert, but it was met with an unsatisfactory grunt as she gathered more pieces to build what she proclaimed was “Darth Vader’s chair” (honey, it looks like two crackers) and “Darth Vader’s screen” (can he take selfies with that, or does he make use of the screen to see if his boyfriend/girlfriend is cheating on him?)

My niece looked at me, and quite hesitantly, asked me if I’d watched¬†Star Wars.¬†

“It’s a saga, right?”

“What’s a saga?”

“…Er, no?”

“Can we watch ¬†Star Wars later?¬†Mommy! Can we?

Regardless of my lack of knowledge about¬†Star Wars, one of the famous’saga films’, and regardless of my lack of expertise in architecture (all my buildings ended up looking like mottled loaves of bread as compared to my niece’s creations), I know one thing: I want her to be fighting battles in her lifetime, yes, but I want these battles to be worthy of her time. I want her to emerge the victor in most, but lose, in some, so she is able to recover from the ‘rough and tough’ from one battle, yet come back fresh-faced for the next war.

My niece is five years old and standing a little over forty inches, and has a common condition called eczema. The skin around her ankles and the top of her wrists are a little crusty, and they get red and inflamed when she is exposed to certain things, like a type of fabric on her own couch.


While I understand that ezcema is a lifelong thing, a condition that lingers with one for more than a certain ‘period of puberty’, I hope she is able to build her own fleet of starships, conquer the Darth Vaders within herself and uproot characters stymieing a beautiful end to a well-fought saga.


Written in response to the Daily Post daily prompt ‘saga’

Diary Entry || To Those Who Won’t Reply

prompt: write a letter/diary entry to anyone who¬†won’t reply you! keep this practice up for¬†at least once a week , every week, for the remainder of the year!

I have a crazy idea, and that involves writing diary entries of (mundane) events that are currently occurring in my life right now, and addressing them not to a hardcover diary, but an¬†actual person. People who will never reply me, not in a million years — aka¬†ye ye (my grandfather who I never got to meet before he passed on),¬†po po (I was blessed with spending the last five years of her lifetime with her in Singapore) and people like my favorite singers/actresses/authors/people whom I appreciate greatly for their talent, but at the same time, people who are busy holding down the life of a celebrity, hence, they will not reply.


This is a no-strings attached kind of thing; because the people I write to won’t reply, there’s no judging involved, no weird eye-lash blinks or ticks of the jaw once my diary entry is ‘read’. I crave for this kind of freedom when writing, especially when delivering personal recounts–let’s hope that I can keep up this little experiment of mine for the remainder of the year!

pict. source