Tag: Literature

The first of May

A Cheshire cat’s smile follows me tonight. I think of incandescent purposes and of what poetry means. I don’t think I can write poetry like before.

I am reading Plath again, after almost 5 months of a complete abstinence from her gravely melancholic confessions. May has come and spring should denote the freshening of oneself—a moulting, of sorts. I have been reading so much and so deeply into academic writings and Literature that sometimes I am drugged by their elusive and seemingly bizzare ideas. I find myself sick upon dealing with thematic concerns about death, about how “[you] only begin to live when [you] conceive life as tragedy”, about why people who know too much must die, about exhaustive explanations of technicalities of poetry (especially by the oh-so revered Aristotle). I am sick of all that is convoluted, heavy, of principles that command what should be and otherwise. Literature is not about writing about how the sun teases with the clouds, not about what the waters choose to reflect of the sky. I am sick, but am afraid simultaneously. Simply because of the gravity of the bond after graduation—of the lives I’m supporting or possibly destabilising. Yet am honoured, uncontestably. 

I can’t be sick about literary theories and the daunting future of being an academic. I must discover what I want to research and go further: make what is dead appealing and make what is sickening, lively. I need a break from all that is literary, for a moment only short. I am saturated, utterly so.

Alive, alive!

I am losing the flavours I breathe and the sights I taste. I don’t feel tethered by any human connection, by any conscience, by any emotion I want to dispose of so willingly, but, with a metastasising futility. This liberty brings me breeze.

I am reading, reading and reading! ticking texts off literary canons and ingesting delectable syntaxes, intellectual debates about structuralism and humanists’ views! nursery rhymes are made tragedy; tragedy is made simple and independent. Pages that are only less than 300 seem so deathlessly delightful. They make me alive, make me come to terms with the scarcities and plenties I feel within myself. The writing comes alive; I come alive.

I feel insane no more. There is no intensity in emotion, but I am writing. There is no sick obsession with melancholy, but I am writing. I am creating new rules for myself to follow, but break them for evolution.

Golly! I have found a great musician just yesterday and everything falls to place, like snow back to lakes.

I saw, I am not

green towel dances in the wind
the windows are slated with dust—

iron & wine is my company tonight
my love for indie folk grows again
 out of the sick contemporary
a love for meaning, not for rhythms in disarray

I write like I bleed
keeping thoughts private
but end up keeping them one after another
who are they for anyway;
who gives a damn for bloody literature!

I see it in the mirror and in contemplations
seeking from those who observe
more than I do
a womb of cynicism
I see growth: a different man

a different man I, I
so desperately wish
to be

I find myself

I find myself reading your writings ever and anon, as if I am attempting to find relation, association, understanding and answers to what I feel about writing as a whole; perhaps answers to the most enigmatic and rueful questions.

I find myself marring my books with writings in lead – I like preserving writing in its most traditional form, the soft sounds of pencilled writing. I write, ad nauseum.

I find myself chancing upon those annotations of chicken scratches and marvel at the seeming importance of the syntax or metonymy I noticed. Something unusually painful or distinctly admirable once spoke to me in a way most compelling. Regrettably, its appeal now lost; an obliteration of sorts. I struggle to find new meanings, new purposes in the writing and to excavate every detail – from meter to the beginning letters of words, most innately as if these habits were duties to be done when reading. To reestablish the reveries of literay theories by Leavis; to be duly pensive because everything else is going on in a din, and reading seems to be the most salient sanity of all options. When all is seemingly accomplished, I write even more at the back of the book where blank pages usually lie — for ruminations that become alive in the mind! for ideas that are patented by transcription and not by anything else! for diction that I can learn and adopt in a way most fulfilling.

I wish I knew how to write when I was 12 so that I can remember those American memories yesteryear. I now only remember amber lights reduced to a stygian alley when walking alone, of the rosti that was too huge, of natives thinking I was from China because I was Asian.

I find myself watching English period dramas of qualities akin to casette tapes rather than indulging in Akutagawa’s first few pieces of gold. How absolutely fashionable both women and men were in the past, using language in a way most respectable with form. How characters spoke in such admirable eloquence!

There is but too much going on in the mind: of books and literary theories that are greatly enchanting, of characters in films I find wholly related to. Their disposition and everything else! Yes, John Davinier is charasmatic. But I desire like him not, for what good lies ahead of a man who is quixotic, and has luck brush him mere?

Times of ages past

The preference for classical films to modern blockbusters is due to the pure, untainted and raw aftereffect derived when the screen turns black and credits roll. Their scriptwriting is literal brilliance – of which most credit goes to the novelist himself – with elusive sophistication encouraging thought. The rarity of the Anglo-Saxon gives light and glads the ears. I can sense the delicate meticulosity paid to language. Beauty is trivialisation; its syntax is beyond and beyond. Events of the past, written records are made palatable, so to speak. They revive, waltzing with graceful literature in admirable harmony.

Most crucially, the soundtrack – largely acoustic played on strings insofar as you feel you’re returning to delightful times of ages past. Good music is relative, but we can all agree the virtue of music is akin to pleasant weather to a dreadful day.

Sometimes watching a movie is like performing an operation — revealing miasmas of despair upon realities. Are writers all hopeless realists; wishing upon stars that are dead and lost? I could be Gil in Midnight in Paris, juxtaposing past and present, only to widen the polarities of it all.

You told me I’m not yet done and there is always something to learn. I am seeing it now. Await journeys that enable me to acquire lessons in great satisfaction and more things to write about (about films to be enjoyed in the future or other ideas).

What do I write about exactly

They asked me what I always write about, probing me harmlessly with a genuine curiosity. I write about the human experience, basically anything.

“So what do you write about? do you write about sex then?” Boys will be boys.

Ever since I started writing consciously, I’ve been exposed to multifarious worlds that are only visible with the opening of the literary eye. I write about the pregnant moon being a personification of ostracisation, I write about animals: that antelopes have to skip quickly across grasslands for slow movements are chances for rapacious vines to crush their rangy limbs.

Yet, I don’t know what I write about; what my writing falls under. If I confess that all I write about is the human experience, then why do I focus largely on grief and melancholy? What about the other bodily humours? an absence of the others then nullifies my stand that I write about “the human experience”.

What do I, what do I write about?


they told me my dream was lofty
in Singapore society
I conceded
(I was aware, am aware, fully aware)
unwillingly admitted its grandeur…

the social change it could possibly engender —
is not only left to be marvelled at

uproot a forest a tree at a time
creatures die, people perish
to be resolute, work hard and await
the daisy that’ll eventually
sprout from death

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