[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.]

[SingPoWriMo Day 8] Shhhhh about day 7

Day 8 Prompt:

Write a pantun.
The pantun is a Malay poetic form that dates back to the 1400s. You may have heard some before—the national song “Di Tanjong Katong” is one. They’re difficult, but it’s the weekend, and it’s our heritage, so suck it up. 1) Usually, a pantun is made up of four lines of roughly equal length. 2) The rhyme scheme is abab. Half-rhyme is completely acceptable: it’s more common than full rhyme. 3) The first two lines are the pembayang (shadow), which set the tone of the poem—often, they’re a set of symbols, question or a riddle. 4) The second two lines are the maksud (meaning), which give a more literal answer to the riddle. Specifically, the third line explains the meaning, and the fourth line delivers the punch.

Momentary

with gusto the buzzing honey bee,
flits over one flora for another’s offering
the honey it gathers will stay as sweet
as that of the overlooked petals, still spread openly.

it seems there’s hope in such stubborn persistency
of the silky layers splayed for dreams of coupling
yet eventually the moon lingers longer than sun
and the bud falls to better protect the whole plant.

 

[a note: if you want answers re: what happened to day seven, the prompt was to write a poem about an artwork currently on display in ngs. i love ngs too much to sully it with my shitty writing lel

also!! this prompt was so hard cause i am very very bad at writing to fit a particular form or format where are my #freeverse kiddos and also i am very bad at rhyming. my rhyming is usually cringey, neither in halves nor slants and just not beautiful but instead clumsy. so yeah you actually see some of that here with the second stanza being aabb instead of abab cos ey shitty brain HAHAHA]

[SingPoWriMo Days 6] A lil copout

Day 6 Prompt: Write the poem you need to hear/have written for you. (I didn’t manage any of the bonuses, so nada on that front)

untitled

its ok to not know what the fuck you’re doing
that drainage density increases with rainfall yet in the tropics where theres the most
rainfall that shit just doesn’t happen cause trees.
bloody trees.
that when you’re lost and scrambling at your notes for just a strand of sanity
it’s ok to just draw a lil star next to the question
and meet your teacher for tea.

having an angsty day at school?
yeah don’t worry lol me too
but it’s ok if the smile feels strained
when you can’t tell if they can tell that the message your face is sending doesn’t match the one in your brain
“have fun at nrp, have fun at ssef, don’t come back till you win a gdamned prize”
that’s what they hear me say
but “oh dear god, your portfolio must be spotless, what about me, what about mine”
goes the voice in my head i’m quite desperate to hide

i know you don’t want to think these things
neither do i
when genuine happiness for your dearests’ various accomplishments is tainted by
your own brain comparing to your blemishes and stains and cries
but it’s ok to think that you’re blatantly incompetent
as long as you’re not satisfied
cause at least you can try to square your shoulders and furrow your brows and
get that geog assignment done by 5.

[a/n: the most cop outs of cop outs lel just ranting essentially. i was v angsty in school, and doing a really frustrating geography assignment. that all]

[SingPoWriMo Day 5] i’m not lying, even, not really.

Singapore Poetry Writing Month Day 5 Prompt: Write a poem about everything you would like to say yes to.


i’m not lying, even, not really.

when i’m telling my mother about my friends’ boy troubles,
that a likes b, so on and so forth, while b likes c,
she looks over knowingly and asks “what about you, and which boy is of your fancy?”
i blush, grateful that my family’s at least this open, and deny any involvement in these stories
i’m not even really lying, strictly.

 

when my father tells me all the good traits a boyfriend must have
patting my head before enquiring if i have a “good male friend” currently
i’m caught, momentarily, in all the responses i can possibly offer him
before deciding to just shake my head, and say no, not at the moment, not really.
i’m not even lying about that, technically.

 

when my grandmas on the phone
asking in loud, boisterous chinese
if i am in a “relationship”, and who’s the lucky boy?
i laugh, quickly, buying time to find a response
this one’s just a tad harder to avoid lying about, so i don’t beat around the bush
and i tell her i’m not thinking about dating boys right now.

 

when my class plays truth or dare
hollering about how we’re “too old for this, guys, come on”
and i have to tell the truth when asked if i have a boyfriend (“be honest! karma will know if you aren’t!”)
i can laugh and shake my head and say no, don’t be ridiculous, who has the time in this economy?
and i know i’m not even lying, really,
but i share a smile with my friend who winks at me surreptitiously.

 

and when in ethics class the lecturer asks if a lie of omission is the same as lying itself,
i stay silent
not sure if i want to know the answers to that question
cause i pride myself on being an honest person
just that sometimes, on some things, i talk in half sentences.

 

no, mama, i’m not interested in boys right now (or ever, because have you seen a girl, oh my god, they’re so soft and so much easier to love)
no, papa, i don’t have a boyfriend (but i do have a girlfriend, you know the nice girl that comes over every week, ho boy don’t i have explaining to do if this ever comes out)
no la ah ma, where got time for boys! (girls though, that i have time for, do you know how much less time i have to waste reminding them not to mansplain things to me?)
no la yo i not dating, a boyfriend and 3 essays due next week? who do you think i am, superwoman? (a girlfriend and 3 essays due sound manageable though. sorry not sorry.)

 

the ethics lecturer keeps talking
unaware of the flashbacks and monologues going on within me
the words ive never finished saying and the people i’ve deceived
and he asks, how much should we forgive lying out of necessity?
that’s when i give up listening
and drop a text to the person most dear to me.

 

 

 

 

//

[a note: not strictly personal! also! i know i started on day 5 ok SHHHHHHH HAHAHAH also ya i did manage to fit in #bonus1 which called for 5 nos to be include in the poem about saying yes, but however i did not eat cake (which was bonus 2.) but anyways I AM TRYING THIS SINGPOWRIMO THING OUT I ACTUALLY DO HAVE A POEM FOR DAY 2 HAHAHAHAHA SO U KNOW. I MIGHT CLEAN THAT UP & POST IT AS WELL. ho boy but also really this is really not about me it’s maybe a portion of my life but not fully YA JUST DON’T ASSUME THINGS ABOUT ME FROM THIS PLS THANKS OK I AM OUT PEACE]

lil ranty rhyme-y thing-y

sometimes to make myself feel half decent i’ll tell myself i deserve better. that for some reason despite all of my crookedness i don’t have to deal with the same in others. and that when you jet off yet i linger i can ask myself how is that what i deserve? that i am always the one more eager but everyone has their own different emotions and all of them are just as real as another’s. just because i feel my own the most intimately does not mean that mine’s the only one that matters and i do not think of these things often but yet now i do, yet now i do.

maybe it’s not about due, or being deserving. it’s high time i let go of the comforting notion of karma. regardless of my faults (of which there are many), that doesn’t justify me refusing love just because i don’t think i’m worthy. i don’t have to do this to myself that’s what it boils down to it reduces down to the truth that tears away my self perpetuating berate hitting me with a sign in my face that says “you don’t owe fate anything” and maybe i don’t. maybe i don’t.

a wise man once said that we accept the love we think we deserve but aren’t we such terrible terrible evaluators for our own self worth? isn’t it ridiculous how a quote from a book for a teenaged self still stands true in the face of adulthood? a cheesecake to you might not be a cheesecake to me. then whose words should we believe?

anyways i think i’m just a lil sad and a lot confused. about my arrogance and my shame and me wanting to pave my own lane; fuck fate. about deferring to higher forces and considering if that’s laziness or humility. about preserving pride or happiness, and the strange strange way those two elements intertwine. i’m sick of this. i’m sick of this complexity, of making decisions, of being vulnerable to my very own emotions. is this what being alive feels like? when can i stop lying to myself just to make myself feel better? why does everyone i choose to trust die?

just a lil sad and a lot confused. but what’s new? •u• *shrug*
[a note: i feel uncomfortable calling this a piece or anything! its just me being a lil ranty & this is how i keep my rants from being to aggressive, i guess, i prose poetry the crap outta them. shitty art for shitty emotions, i guess.]