Writer’s Trap

I found a poem so clichéd it was painful.
Proceeded to use a bandage. Left it where
I dropped it. Clichéd is now a pun for hurt.
It is eye-catching like how Fool’s Gold is an
idiom. By association it is a mousetrap topped
with a slice of cheese. The cheese has holes in it.
I am not actually a mouse. I like metaphors to the
extent of breaking my fingers for them. Wrapped them
in this piece, applied pressure to stop the bleeding.
Found clichés abound under the sun even though
it is nighttime now. No outer space references here.
Just filler in inner spaces without the negativity.

Homework

It is July and it is still yellow
outside. Still afternoon ebbing.
Still a bloody Singaporean tide,
an ocean of red, threads of bagua
in paper notes. Sanctioned fortune.
Sunbeams parking in window stills.
No season parking without seasons.
Money on table, in third quarter.
A sonnet in the works, on funding.
Profit-driven airs recycled by air-cons.
People seeing red before February’s.
Sometimes an orange sunset means
to go. The ERP in the room is still.
Still at home with the green lights.

Mushroom

Under a roof are sweet nothings with everything
present. Like the pan in the kitchen,

if the sound of sautéing is love it would leap,
a delicious scent. Like spores of butter,

home is rooted into the ground even after raindrops
create puddles. Like splashing onto each other’s warmth.

Wall of Text

Every word in here is exhausted. I am writing
in notepad since I cannot write on walls. Wall
is tired and does not want to be written on. Notepad
is tired and resists, being, written, on. There is repetition
since writing is tiring. There is, and will be elaborations
since writing is tiring. Wall and Notepad are not friends
because they are tired. Wall and Notepad are not friends
because they are empty. Wall and Notepad are not friends
because of repetition. Wall and Notepad are not friends
by association, by correlation, by elaboration, by repetition.
They are ions in this poem. They form its literal structure.
They show that I am tired, while Notepad has finally succumbed.
Not every word in here is exhausted, and a wall writes itself.

4-Room Flat

Four variations of lights on
four fingers to type
four stanzas by
four a.m.

Three found sentences
Three syllables in a row
Three unfound haikus

Two; Walls; A ceiling; A door; A window; A floor;
Two walls: Third’s a partition. Fourth’s being read:

“A pair of flats, removed from my doorstep.”

This Passage Spans 13.7 Billion Light-Years

In the grand schemata, you are words in this stanza. In your grand scheme, there is nothing so cosmic like the flings on your strings. If I were flung carelessly like a star across light-years it would be the pinnacle of a civilization. Most don’t go this far however, although you did. You went beyond the end of this piece. Outside the observable universe. Leaving the interior dark. I still shine, casting shadows over what you did.

Gangsa Is Raining

(with apologies to Iain Lim’s ‘There’s A Fire In Bangkit’)

Afternoon there was rain,
but without a space for grammar.

Does grammar require space?
The kind between fonts,
an interstellar whiteness.

“Isthisanongrammar,
isthisanonstanza.”

Ser-ifs and sans are the same.
Like how rain is a tick-er, the trans-it-ions of
a puddle sentence, into a puddle stanza.

Who writes Gangsa without a name?
Who writes without a space?

“Torrentingrain,
torrentofrefrain,
torrentwithoutsiderestrain.”

I just finished reading ‘Sugarbread’ and was left deeply impressed by acute depictions of religious corruption, and casual racism on this sunny island since its independence. This book also centers on the struggles of the Protagonist’s mother in dealing with her traumatic past. It brings to mind of my own.

A friend tonight mentioned that, overhearing a conversation I had with my Mother, about the frustration I had my voice. I seldom talk like that to Mom – It was more of how she purchased financial products (super low-risk ones like the Savings Bonds) for quite a while now but still didn’t understand it fully. But it always hurts when she claims that she’s too stupid to understand anything. It’s a complex she had for years, paralyzing her in times of immense stress. I should have been more patient, in hindsight.

It brought to mind about how Dad was elitist when he was still with us. Before he left he argued with my Mom over rather trivial matters but insulted her intelligence. I don’t understand how someone can take so much pride in their own intelligence just to put down others. Just because she was a diploma holder while he held a degree. I’ve seen him talk down service staff and lower-income job holders, too.

Mom doesn’t want anything to do with her own family, especially Dad’s. Dad’s side consists of people who are mostly Christian, and upper-middle class. She was acutely aware of how my aunts were subservient to their husbands, and unconditionally accepted their gaping personality flaws. In some way, Dad and his brothers were either sexually promiscuous, had terrible tempers, or were condescending in general. She disapproved of my aunts, degree holders and professionals in their own capacity, of putting up with the antics of my uncles for the sake of a religiously-fueled vision of a family.

I’m glad I write poems about her occasionally. Her mother, my Grandmother was a domestic helper who had to deal with her cheating husband’s and drug-addled son’s shit. Great-grandmother fled her home in Hong Kong during WWII just to endure 3 years of occupation by Imperial Japan in Singapore. She sold bee hoon in the north back then, raising five children singlehandedly. Both matriarchs in their own right. Mother is the next in line in generations of incredibly resilient women, all who unfortunately had to suffer due to the men in their lives being poor excuses of people.

At least by writing , I can count the mistakes of the men in my family, while celebrating the women who have made worldly things possible.