prose 2

everything in me seizes up when i walk by your desk. every time. i cursed the teacher who assigned you two rows in front of me midway through the term, bemoaning the loss of your mindless chatter to cut through the boredom. now i can’t celebrate it enough, that it is jim the new transfer student that has to sit next to an empty table 4 times a week. that at least i can sense someone else to my right in class. hearing the scratching of robert’s pen on paper might not be your rhythmic tapping, but neither is it not complete silence. if i don’t look up, i can fool myself for just a bit longer.

my grades sink. i don’t really care, because we committed to the same college, which everyone said was dumb and that we’ll never make other friends. well, i guess i’ll have to now. at least in five months i won’t have to stare down the minda-shaped-elephant-in-the-room every morning at seven. sometimes, i stay awake through the night just so i can guarantee that my brain won’t be able to process anything the next day, much less the concept forever. or loss.

you know what i’m pissed off about? that no one uses voicemails anymore. or that everyone uses snapchat and instastories instead of just recording videos that actually stay on your phone past 24 hours. because i didn’t know i would have to live on memories forever, minda, and i’ve been replaying those stupid voice messages we send each other when we’re too lazy to type too often. so often i know every hitch of your breath. its so stupid. do you think snapchat would send me the silly videos you sent me at 3am while cramming for your bio test if i just emailed them? they have to have your face saved in a server somewhere, right?

last year you tagged me in a facebook post you made when you were 14, talking about how you wanted to be a doctor. you said “HAHAHAHA @AMANDA ISNT THIS HILARIOUS REMEMBER WHEN I WASN’T GONNA BE A BROKE ENGLISH MAJOR”. forget about majoring in english, now you won’t even graduate from high school. how is any of this fair?

a/n: save me i don’t know what i’m doing someone teach me how to WEAVE

prose

in her ears, she had a teenage boy band singing about home, about foreign lands, about wanting people to be nearer than they are.

she felt that, slumped back, with one earbud in and the other dangling down. she had no desire to expend the energy sitting up would require. she wanted to hear boys crooning about the exact emotions she was feeling, she wanted to hear the unfamiliar sounds of bike bells and tram signals. she wanted to hear the unfamiliar tongue occasionally pass her, wanted to hear the water in the canal lapping away under her feet. she wanted to keep nursing this cheap coffee gone cold, she wanted to feel without thinking. she wanted to just be, and for some reason, watching the silver light glint off the small canal waves, she did.

maybe it was okay, in this strange, foreign place, to not feel at home.

forget the fact that she never felt otherwise anywhere. but in this moment? the displacement in her surroundings could only mirror the constant displacement she felt inside. so it was okay, if only for now. so there she sat, underdressed and overstressed, watchig the dusk set.

to not feel at home, and to not feel a home. if you don’t think quite too hard about it, they could almost be the same thing. not exactly, but almost. close enough, she guesses.

a/n: what! jenn is writing prose ?!?!?! yes but i have no idea how to make plot and scenes cohesive lol save me writing is so hard

a lil piece in appreciation of one of my fav pieces of poetry

You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant’s fate.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

— The Old Astronomer (To His Pupil)

i think its hard to fully comprehend how important the last two lines of this stanza are to me.

obviously, there’s the astronomy aspect, the one supernatural element i cling onto for support and guidance. in the absence of religion, i turn my faith to the slightly more tangible aspect of the world — that of gas and liquid held together by will and gravity. the stars will always hold some sense of awe to me, the comforting notion that i am, and hence my impact is, but a tiny speck with no real consequence and no real finality from a otherworldly perspective.

but other than the obvious astronomy involvement, the duality of the quote — that we love the things other fear, or the things that may eminently or presently hurt us can still be loved anyway — hits me somewhere deep. not gonna lie, i was introduced this quote by a larry stylinson video, but it amazes me how well these two sentence capture the complicated feeling of being closeted and internal homophobia. i have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night? the stars are the love i feel, the quickening of the hummingbird pace of my heart i sense, the involuntary quirk of my cheeks that lift the right side of my lips a tad higher than my resting left, the stars are the valves clamped around my chest, my hindbrain, down deep in the heat of my body, the stars are the catalysts that trigger their united, grasping action. the stars is the joy you feel loving, and being loved. the night is the black, inky mess pressing down on you when someone enquires pressingly about which nice young fella you’re seeing, pressing further and further till your vision is a shade of nothing and your heart is kicking up a desperate panic from being claustrophobic. the night is the sensation of scratchy concrete on your back from being backed and backed and backed into it by society’s touching concerns of why are you still single? let me introduce you to a nice young man, of look at you, with your nice long locks, you have a face too pretty to be wasted! find a partner quick, and procreate. the night is the omnipresent fear that looms large, that makes you make plan upon back up plans in the anxiety shrouded dark. i have lived a life of fear and worry in large part thanks to my sexuality but the mere possibility of feeling the overwhelming encompassing happiness another human being can give me? it makes it all kinda worth it. worth bearing with. i have loved loving you too fondly to be fearful of their judgement, i can say, to a imaginary you with an imaginary face feeling the improbably happiness in the warmths on the tips of my fingers.

and if i don’t end up paired? if i end up untwined, as i am presently, with just me, a job, and a dog on the side? then there will be no need to tell anybody of the stars anyways. there will be no need to hand society the heat-seeking gun with my exact body temperature coded in. i will keep the gem carved knife to myself, hold it close, close to my heart, so no one can take it from where it resides to stab exactly where it resides. i will not give society both the weaponry and the justification to engage it if the stars don’t shine overhead of me. though my soul will set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light.

i don’t know. i have a lot of emotions about this quote. and a lot of emotions about being queer. i guess i wanted to share the love i have for these two beautiful lines somehow somewhere, and this was where.

he’s not the sun, i am

he’s not the sun, i am

On July 22nd of 2010, a month and a bit more after they won the Cup, the longest solar eclipse of the century happens. NASA warns people not to observe the sight with bare eyes- there’s too much power in the sun, they say, and it can damage your retina.

That’s funny, Jonny thinks, stopping in the archway leading from his living room, where he can see Patrick perched on his kitchen counter in too long sweats and badly rumpled hair. That the only way we can witness such grandiose phenomena is with extreme caution.

And then Pat looks over the top of the newest shitty romance novel he’s been reading, and does that smile where it reaches both his dimples and his eyes, and oh. Oh. That’s not funny at all.

[a/n: first prose piece posted here! wrote this a long while ago for some fanfic thing lol. probably the only context you need to understand this piece is that jonathan and patrick are hockey players? cause i am nothing but predictable. & their team won the cup (or the hockey championship trophy) that year sometime early june.

i actually quite like this piece? because if you know me in real life you know one of my greatest gripes with my writing is that there aren’t a lot of layers to unpack, or symbolism, or references in general. i’m a very literal, confessional writer and i don’t know if i like that? it’s what i’m familiar with for sure but i would also like to improve in other genres and styles. so this was one of my first successful attempts at branching out, lel.

thanks for reading! <3]

[lil update & some more poetry] what does it mean to be from the east? to not be from the west

y’all i have a writers’ block greater than my emotional instability y’all nothing is coming out on the upside i am consuming a lot of content instead of creating sad excuses of it caught a couple of art shows fell in love with a new band tore up a couple of new books got infatuated with some girl & cleared myself of those hormones

tripped, fell, and wrote some really personal shit

wasn’t gonna post it but i have so little content anyways so i cleaned it up a bit and here it is lol.

it was based off a singpowrimo prompt asking writers to convey what the “east side (of singapore) meant to them”, and me being a strong #westie interpreted that as “everything the west isn’t”. if you’re familiar with singapore geographical stereotypes, the prompt likely makes a lot of sense to you, but if not: the east side is considered wealthier than the west side. amongst other things, but that is the main the stereotype i built this piece upon.

i do not particularly like this piece of work — the rhyming’s too stark and clumsy, the diction too plain the tone too desperate the insecurity complex a tad bit too exposed — but it was cathartic writing it and like the only content i’ve created in a while so have at it. have at it.

what it means to be from the east? to not be from the west

i don’t know what you think of those who live in the east
but on the mrt to changi with my luggage secured between my knees
i see houses worth more than my father’s cumulative salary
housing those who probably don’t spend their life fretting about university fees.
/
they probably don’t dabao cheap mexican food from the stall with no chairs
the few of us, burrito bowls in hand, asking eh bro so sit where
the first friend nods and speaks of a place
in our hood where we can sit and stare
/
it’s at the basement level of clementi mall
the little nook where the lift meets a corridor
there’s a single wooden bench, but we deem it too good for us
curling up on the floor instead, grasping tin foil wrapped quesadillas
/
and in between scoffing down hummus and lettuce
we watch passerby scoff at our scuffed shoes
legs splayed wide bags thrown open yet somehow uniforms still neat
and we decide that yes, tonight shall be the evening i share with these bums my life story
/
people walking in to get to their cars probably didn’t expect to see
3 school girls sitting round, haggard and mocking mortality.
/
but between the giddiness of being trusted and the arrogance of intimacy, there is little room for shame
so i wipe up juices spilled without feeling too much heat high up on my cheeks, stained
looking from human burrito to the vegetarian one
one to escape the numbing cold one to be consumed
thinking, man, we must look so dumb
/
and i am sitting here looking over at the both of you
thinking how large a role geography plays in designating friend and foe
and i am sitting here thinking about how fond i am of clementi
looking at the places i can feel solitude safely in, at the places where safety and support is offered to me, at the places in which i feel authentically me
which might not be much to onlookers
but is so personally settling
/
the west side might mean shitty food and hobos like us
neither dignified, nor presentable, at least not at this hour
but we’ll gladly sit on the floor and we’ll gladly take laughing too loud than strictly allowed
over your shitty hipster bars manned by goateed asian men who charge 3 bucks for a water.


yeah. i don’t know, man. i felt comfortable and i felt home and maybe i longed for this wrongful home for too much & too long but writing this let that misplaced longing be released and reallocated back where it belongs. home may eventually be a person but it will not and cannot be this person so right now it will be the collective masses residing in nyc. thats safe longing. a more rightful one. as usual, click on post for tags.

Masters of War

 

[a/n: wrote this in cca couple of days ago during a writing exercise where we listened to Bob Dylan’s Masters of War and wrote anything we wanted inspo’d by it, so obviously i wrote something completely unrelated to the actual well meant message the song conveyed & instead made it about myself. lel]

untitled

I just want you to know / 
I can see through your masks
it’s this again isn’t it / the game of superior acting / just who will deceive who / and who will receive what

 

 

And you turn and run farther 
/ When the fast bullets fly
if I cajole answers out from you / are those answers well deserved / is that trust well deserved / i know you’re taking a gamble / you’ve never done this before / and I doubt I’m the right person to lead you through this turmoil

 

 

But I see through your eyes / And I see through your brain
a heart is a heart is a heart that wants to be loved / when my words aren’t enough I’ll borrow from the others, alive or dead / it’s easy to get caught up in one’s own art / it’s easier to get caught up in my own heart / so remind me, baby, that one’s willingness to offer affection / should never couple with an assumption for returned warmth

 

 

When the death count gets higher / You hide in your mansion
not sure if I fired the bullet into the ground or if you nudged the gun down / you’re impermeable your face your tears you cry and I will never know why and all these emotions you claim are not yours mystify you’re unreachable you don’t to be reached I need to respect the words you speak

 

 

You are not worth the blood
 / That runs in your veins
false / false / false / I don’t know what things you say to yourself / but if it’s berating / if it’s degrading / its false / false / false

 

 

Even Jesus would never 
/ Forgive what you do
jesus does not like those who are so confident to assume what is not true / which, to be clear, refers to me and not you

 

 

All the money you made 
/ Will never buy back your soul
or so I tell myself / but you have to understand, darling, souls are hard to maintain / money can be placed in banks / the happiness of cold hard cash / while inhumane, is easier to process / how are the giddy emotions of gambling away further happiness for heightened joy presently instead / somehow worth the risk of a future crash

 

 

And I’ll stand on your grave 
/ Til I’m sure that you’re dead
emotions have got to go, man / I would like to file a complaint with god / these hormones, they were an inefficient design / why not make me a robot that would have been easier than all these emotions I possess.

 

[a/n again: not sure what to feel about this piece since overall it’s just rather clumsy both content and form wise. yeAHHH so i took 2 lines of lyrics out of the song (in italics) and extrapolated my own response to it a line below. also yes shush i am aware i did the exact same thing for lanterns although i did use every line of the song for that look this was timed writing and therefore my creativity re: form was limited ok!!! instinctively turned to shitty prose (?) poetry. free verse my one true love. + this was designed to be read out loud? so slam that shit out. ++ pronoun use is a mess ikikik it is also lowkey personal/confessional aiya i’ll tag it as so la]

lanterns

[a/n: updating this as it has been newly edited thanks to comments from lim yuhua who served as my editor for this piece in cca!!! she really ironed out a lot of the details & am super thankful for her suggestions <3]

lanterns

tad bit of desperation for reciprocation here, isn’t there, darling?
     even a non-sentient being would be acceptable, wouldn’t it?

“i watched the lanterns tilt
”
i am in bed. i am without pants, without defense, without offense. this bed has room for two. this bed has room for one and more. this bed has one.

“i cursed the breath and sea
”
i am sitting here, thinking. she is sitting there, talking. you are lying there, listening. i lie down.

“spelled as poetry
”
i am sitting here, thinking. of the things i have told you and the things i have yet to. of the things it will take for the latter to become the former. this thinking is dangerous business. i stop. i lie down.

“the dreams i could explore
”
the air conditioning is turned on. it doesn’t need to be so. when it is so, the door closes and i can hide. i can hide from not being able to look away from your lips. i can hide from your masculinity. i can hide from your femininity. i can hide from the jealousy and the wish for intimacy, the wish to map the shape of your hands in mine with mine. this hiding is counterproductive, a reminder of all the things i want to need. apparently i can only hide from everyone but myself. this hiding is dangerous business, then. i stop.

“i left them at the door”
restless, i push the blankets off of me. do you see through me? can you tell what i am doing? can you see the emotions within me, like liquid dye in clear water, ribboning and ballooning and dispersing?

“i watch the lanterns tilt”
i sneeze and pull the blankets back on. the used tissue goes next to my pillow. it’s gross. the air conditioning is cold. i turn away from the cold. it doesn’t stop it from being cold, but at least i’m putting in effort. there’s a chance the cold has yet to figure out its influence. a small chance is still a chance. i could turn the air con off. but then i’ll boil, skin frayed off, dissolved, and everyone will see my used tissue. you will see my used tissue.

“through days of darken guilt
”
i curl, fetal, wrapping my hands around the roll of fats i call my stomach. the cold can cause stomach cramps. i thought of what your shirt looks like off. i’m wondering if her aircon is on, if the cold makes you feel emotions the way i do. i think of your emotions, of the complex, weaving nature emotions tend to be. i wonder what makes you feel the unwelcome emotions you obviously do. i think of why i want to know. i do not think you want me to know. i do not know.

“i prayed for newborn skies
”
i wish i were more solid. in the brain, on the stomach. are you exercising now? you said you will. am i exercising now? i have yet to say i will. i should, though.

“to lift me up so high
”
the weight chokes. my hands spasms, twitches, grasping on nothing. am i imposing on the two of you? maybe you both want alone time. am i choking? am i the subject or object of that sentence? i think it may be both. my grammar’s not that good. neither is hers. nor yours.

“i was blind now i can see
”
my phone chimes a notification. my phone is my best friend. it tells me hockey news that by tomorrow i will forget. it tells me hockey news i will think about till next year. it tells me presently you want to tell me something. i’m thinking about your hands now, for some reason, as i open the message up, and it is about her. and why shouldn’t it be? i have my hockey.

“how could i ask for more”
i think about the plans i have for the future. the education i will receive. the hockey i will watch, the hockey i will inspire, the hockey i will further. the people i will meet, will remember, will forget. the places these things will occur in. and which is permanent? will geography betray me the way a human can, has, and will? will hockey leave? the answers of these questions, they make some decisions easy. i will choose what’s best for me. enough.

“and let them sisters soar
”
i think about the soft belly and the hard ice. i think about your red laughing face and the white solemn ice. i think about the cold, unforgiving surface that breaks bones, hearts and brains. i think about the players that sweat on it. i think about your face and your glasses and the way you talk to her in shorthand and the way i desperately want my own shorthand to talk to someone with cause the ice can’t tell me it loves me and the ice can’t patent a smile just for me the ice can’t smile at all the ice can’t love me back
except it can. it might take years and years and years but. i think it can.

[end note: title & words italicized not mine. theyre from a gorgeous song called lanterns by the white birch. also its funny how what you write can cause deja vu like now i’m immersed in hockey once again cause yknow. safety.]