19, and 19 only

by Chua Han Au

was I at war both with myself and it all
sun and ocean blue
no place to call my home
their magnificence, it don’t make sense to you

to the nights we conquered
as lost souls of our society
with us we had Lana and Panes,
philosophy and Literature,
ambrosial quiches and sweet coffee,
unfounded laughter,
all in depressed drunkards

with every hour
we learn through time —
each suffering’s traded for a blessing
each person’ll teach us a lil’ something

we pull through the night
not because of insomnia but because
sleeping quickens the pace of time
thus we attempt to put it to better use,
somewhere mortal, somewhere breathing

so write,
write about our Singaporean society with a critical eye, but with grace
write about our changing proclivities
write about apprehension for the future
write about transient friendships
write about the sacred ceremony
write about college life

do go back to violins and pianos
don’t relegate talent
to rusty strings

death is anon
so celebrate in dark nights and sing at dawn
do what you do best, boldly

to you, friend
with deep love and illimitable gratitude

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