My flambe got the canopy on fire

No poetry, but prose today, because the words just don’t come out anymore the way they used to!

Perhaps it’s because of the lack of real personal time and space, what with the numbered tasks flashing in bright red on my planner, and the seemingly endless laundry to be done…? In fact as I write this now, I am simultaneously contemplating if I should wash a tea towel that has been shat upon by ungrateful birds who peck on the cat food (not even intended for them!!), and who ungraciously chirp at 7 in the morning as they feed on the feline breakfast. So much for trying to sleep in.

I woke up this morning, even earlier than usual, and lay in bed for 30 minutes watching my roommate sleep and the ceiling fan spin. Round and round it went, with dust clinging onto its blades – of which I have no more intention to clean because I realised the bunny I hug to sleep every night is probably as dirty, so why be a bitch about ceiling dust when I cuddle a bundle to sleep every night – and I felt strange and unsettled feeling so settled in a place I swore to dislike when I first moved in. As the angels slowly cut holes in the velvet blue sky to let the day in, a sense of panic blossomed in my chest – I couldn’t possibly start to love this place now, because then it would suck when I move out in May!

Notwithstanding the unfathomable amount of things I would have to lug back home (why am I such a nester?), it would also be dissatisfying because of the attachment I might have possibly formed to the way silence is actually a thing here in the mornings – just a silent courtyard with the moon and the stars hanging overhead before they hand the day over to the sun; the way a few rooms are lighted up while the rest sleep on quietly in the dark, and you wonder if the people in these rooms are actually up as early as you are, or if the inhabitants are just afraid of the dark and so sleep with their lights on (potential cause for cancer, you think); how you sometimes see the resident cats pawing the morning dew, and then making little pooping holes – if it’s the cat that you love and whom you think might possibly love you back, you beckon to her from the second floor and hope that she will run up the stairs to you the way she does sometimes (when she’s hungry); how the burnt smell of cheap instant coffee wafts up from the pantry to kiss you good morning on the cheek; how the mysterious gardener has his breakfast in his little corner under the stairs, and drinks hot water from a recycled plastic takeaway container (you want to give him a proper bowl, but think  he might possibly kill you with his garden rake because he doesn’t want help); how the nosy aunty who openly stares at your morning coffee routine whom you once thought unbearable and rude, is now your friend whom you share the sink and some conversations with — all this and so much more, I suddenly realise.

All this and so much more, but knowing that moving out is inevitable, simply because I have been banking all my time and hopes into the cake bank which might possibly collapse like melted buttercream frosting and which probably was a failure to start with anyway. Whenever we have a red bean soup break together, my friend S. always asks me what I actually do with my time – you don’t just study do you, he says. I look at S. and my other friends who seem to be happily involved in school life – clubs, societies, late-night activities whatnot, and then I look at my own planner: just ideas and ideas about how to improve my cake, or business ideas (that I have no guts or vocal cords to proclaim or suggest or push for), more baking ideas, none of which have culminated thus far.

The ambition for a sweet deal (pun so intended, but sorry if it’s a bad ‘un) seems to be mutually exclusive with the ambition to do the best I can for this degree, and also to be able to dance the night away with friends (okay fine we don’t actually do any dancing; perhaps just a really bad movie with crappy canteen food), and also to help out my family in any way that I can (possible shaky financial future right around the corner). Every one is growing old – it just happens that one’s needs when growing contradicts with that of one’s parents’.

RELIGION! my dad proclaims. But what happens when one love contradicts another?

What happens when everything contradicts each other?

 

 

 

 

Today, I stopped taking photographs. Just for a little while.

I decided that, instead of trying to find all the correct angles that would

fit the rule of thirds rule of symmetry rule of composition to

align myself with the right exposure to popularity,

I would take, instead, my sunlight

just for the way it was.

Just for the way the sunlight sauntered through the glass windows,

took a stroll through every nook and cranny of the rust-red brick walls,

lazed on the blanks of the concrete balcony ledges –

until it finally ran across the damp grass wind rustling through the leaves turning the dull green sea

into shards of glimmering caramel crystals ready to

pierce through the morning mist to herald a new day;

the sun wraps its arms around the trees in a strong and warm embrace.

 

Perhaps taking pictures renders me a thief –

after all, I am taking, and always without permission (maybe the kingfisher I am always trying to photograph likes its mornings alone and undisturbed?)

and nobody gives the trees credit for being beautiful either.

 

In retaliation,

my photographs steal back from me:

the days that I am rich with happiness

they let the audience rob me so easily,

and I am poor with sadness in defeat.

 

The sunlight rubs my back with a warm hand,

just the way my drying laundry likes it too.

Years of sun will fade my hanging photographs away –

But I pray that you won’t stop shining down on me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many spoons will it take for you to measure out your love for me?

And how many spoons of sugar must you consume before you realise that all this will never become sweet?

How many spoons will it take for my heart to be stirred,

dissolved and homogenous

with your tea that is already getting cold?

 

How many lines must I write

for me to realise that it is only blanks that I am putting between them

which is why I will never find the answer

to whether

this tea even needs any sugar?

 

Rosy retrospects

Trawled through pages of this website trying to find substantial pieces of writing for a competition a friend recommended before I decided (at page 5) that this was too painful a process. 2016’s resolution: That I will write less terrible pieces of poetry (prose isn’t too big of a crime lord here, except when it’s hormonal pieces of fleeting beauty) – if I don’t have anything good or profound to say, then I shan’t say it. After all, what’s the point of rehashing on sadness already long established?

On a side note, saw a quote by (presumably) some scientist at the museum, something about how science seeks to convey what has not yet been understood in a most understandable manner, whereas poetry does exactly the opposite. Hmm.

Also, as I am typing this, I keep having this niggling feeling of being in the 90s and how 10 years from now, I will look at this and laugh, dressed (hopefully) in some very stylish clothing and sipping some exquisite beverage.

Well, this year has certainly been an interesting one. There are some things that I’ve learned, and many that I’m still in the midst of learning (here I can very lucidly point out: Saying no, Being more opinionated and pushing for my opinions, To stop dropping my phone or other valuables), but in retrospect, as it always is – psh – I can say that I do feel pretty content. I don’t know if it’s because of the holidays and the many glasses of wine, but, I’ve started to think that it’s very easy to be afraid of being happy because we all know that happiness enjoys being chased after, never sitting still for a moment in one’s grasp. (Usually I just be afraid of being happy, or contented.)

Certainly,  I have to credit this to the people around me who have borne my daily moody bouts (sometimes poetically talking me through them), encouraged me constantly, and for the people who inspire me to choose joy instead of sorrow – this Christmas party I attended the other day changed me so much and so subtly in a way that I cannot explain. Well actually, I was just slapped in the face with the fact of how much of a Grinch and stinge I have become. The party and its attendants reminded me how in all that we do, we should do it with Love (or meaning, for the sceptics). Since then I have started to see how much of my pockets I have chosen to fill with bitter anger, sorrow and regret, instead of rejoicing for all that I have and have lost.

This feels like it is going into the pile of Pointless Prose, and so to keep things cheery, what I think I really want to say is this: Thank you, whoever you may be, for being here with me. I hope I fuel your words (wherever they may appear) the way you fuel mine (be they depressing or uplifting). I hope you empty the pockets that weigh you down, pebble by pebble (interesting thought: what separates a pebble from a stone from a rock?), not stopping along the way of course to pick up new ones to replace the ones you let go of. Instead, lift yourself up by reaching for new heights, and I hope you find the strength, or pal, to help monkeybar your way up to heaven (we all have different definitions of heaven, so no shame if yours is an endless pool of cheetos.) With a little bit of luck, courage, and intuition, we’ll make it through the coming year and hopefully, we’ll get to hi-five each other at the end of it again.

 

Now whip out the kettle chips and booze!

 

axis of axioms

A common adage: A dessert is a sweet ending to a meal.

Hours of thought, minutes of precision, and seconds of dexterity – but for what cause?

It only belongs to the end of a meal.

On the menus, in the sequence of a waiter’s questions, as an afterthought: always second, always last.

“Finish up your food!”

“But I’m getting full, and there’s – ”

“It’s okay, we’ll skip dessert.”

Is dessert named the way it is because of how it is always deserted? (Quite close actually; its etymology stems from the French word desservir, which means to clear the table.)

Like our christmas pudding, I have no place on the already crowded dining table, and

I’d like to find someone who would start a meal with dessert, too.

That way, we would start the first lines on the slate – make the first dribbles over the clean linen tablecloth make the first grease stains on the freshly laundered napkins take up the first portion of your stomach and heart be the first comment on the praise of a meal –

oh yes it is scary; the way the tone of an entire meal depends upon you oh quivering sticky date pudding with sweet molasses making their way down your sides; oh the richness of your sauce defies the almighty gravity, only slowing down instead of gaining momentum as it rolls down your wide-hipped sides, but

perhaps it is time that we need to try,

after all, voices don’t make themselves heard by rotating only on the axis of the mind.

I cannot be the optional dessert hoping for you at the end of your meal.

 

 

 

 

It is easier to think of my photographs as postcards from people that I don’t know.

That way, when nobody likes them, or when even my eyes grow tired of them,

That way, it would be easier to do away with them.

If my photographs were from strangers that I did not know,

I could case a critical eye over all their lack of definition (but what is the discourse behind it?) criticise the strange positions (this isn’t even avant garde – it’s just plain ugly!) and scoff at the artist’s inhibitions (what is she, afraid of losing the object? why are all her images focused so squarely on singular artefacts? her depth of field is apparently not too fetching – both in her image, and her knowledge!)

If my photographs were from a place I had never even heard of, how simply I could bask in their beauty (when they actually turn out decent), appreciating the crafter’s keen eye that rushes forth at you so much so that it leaves you nowhere else to hang your sorry head in shame – except standing still, motionless, in front of that picture.

Instead, all I see are lies in the lines of the colour curves that I manipulate on softwares to make my photo resemble – –

 

That is why I think it would be better to think of you as someone from somewhere that I do not know,

That way, we could keep

the lies at the surface as if they were truths,

assess each other’s flaws and beauty and walk away, unthreatened, because we aren’t invested, and so will never have much to lose.

 

 

“Cheshire-Puss,” she began, rather timidly, as she did not know at all whether it would like the name : however, it only grinned a little wider. “Come, it’s pleased so far,” thought Alice, and she went on. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where — ” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat

“— so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

 

– Alice in Wonderland

 

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

Famous – Naomi Shihab Nye