Tag: Poetry

Being in England

It is painful to know what kind of a friend I am, what friendship, or a possibility of friendship might mean to another person when they speak to me, me at 22. (I do not do this deliberately) I do not wish to be in the company of threes. I want only to be with one, to be with few people, fewer even, until we have nothing but just the both of us, just two and you. If people knew, they would know that in comfort, I am silent. There is a buzzing with words, a wave after wave with conversations as if they never die. Intimate conversations are dear, but those otherwise are burning, agonising. I have too much to read here in Oxford, and I know this is merely a taste of the beginning. I have come here two years ago, failed at the first attempt and am here two years later. I remember the streets being as quiet as they were before—especially at night—and the people do not look at you as much as others did in London. I am heading to London, the Globe on Saturday with three other people. I want them to know about this silence, that in the absence of words, I am not repulsed, not pained, but am only breathing, only observing and keeping those thoughts silent (though not necessarily negative). People talk excessively, yawn excessively when watching Hiroshima mon amour last night. Why do people not sit silent, listen to the music specifically composed for this film and fall deep into the countenance of Emmanuelle Riva—her grief, her sorrow, her frustration with loving a Japanese man because she is French. She is beautiful.

Apart from school, I want to read when I can, when I want to, not because not reading will put me sterile, will have my head under a metal bat. To promise oneself to fall in love with the next book I read, to know the artist as himself, as herself, and that writing (a novel) is a deliberate act (lock yourself in a room for days, tell yourself you must write, and if you have nothing, you become nothing, produce nothing). A deliberate force without an urge is futile. Creation comes after the urge, an urge becomes essential. I have been searching for this urge, to write new things, academically or otherwise. Searching has become tiring. Have I become one who no longer loves to read but reads to love? The summer gives me more time with the sun, deluding me that I now have more time in this little town as opposed to when I was in Singapore. I am watching many things pass me by.

I wish, unrightfully, you were here. We will watch a performance together—remember our first concert in Esplanade? (we were terribly late) We will walk down Gloucester Green, and walk, and walk. We will rob the trees of their leaves and the river of its moisture. You will speak in laughters that will remind me of my strange comfortable silence. We will head back, believe ourselves to be tired because we must sleep; everyone must sleep. Our call that night summarised: to feel intensely, and to feel inferior in a university. This painful paradox is our common affliction. You know I want to meet new people, those who dance, who draw, who paint; everyone who is unlike us. I saw someone drawing in the Pitts Rivers Museum today. It was a lovely sight.

A year will soon away. When will we see each other again? You once wrote “together but not together was the single realest thing”. To(your)night—yes, it is night over there in Singapore—I am returning it to you.

I must not sink

My fingers are ready to write, my mind is now ready to spill. My feet are thrown outwards, now my pencil will fill. I am far from the sea and you are the sky—all of you are. The suturing of them both is an idea copied and repeated. We believe in individualism but are drugged by the poets and the artists who marry us in harmony and make us believe we are one when we insist we are two.

We have become quieter, our lapses into madness fewer, and periods of an expected decency greater. Value does not exist without limit. So limit has been manifested under the short sunlit period today. We stood peaceful, like rocks beside a creek, listening to a busker singing “Stand by Me” by Florence and the Machine. Everything felt like a grand theatre and I was part of a performance that would never end. I now see why Virginia Woolf would prefer the violent jolt of London to the silent anaesthetic of Richmond. London is one with many voices, each apportioned an identity interlinked. It is a must for Charles Dickens to be born, for Jane Austen to be born, for Christina Rossetti to be born, for poets and artists to exist and immortalise the upset proportions of the world. Will I write a book? Why are we embarrassed by what we read? I must let the soul suspend and not always push it back to the body. I must write more and read plenty. I must not sink.

I, to you

It is with certainty that he will go. It is likely that he was, out of all my uncles, one most capable of intellectual conversations relating to university, to marriage, to the abounding uncertainties as a father of three daughters who are so different in disposition and in beauty. I could sense the tense depression of my cousin—the eldest of the three. There was a tangible command to ensure consistency in treatment and to not let commiseration grow. Fatality is frightening and in the knowledge of being mortally helpless, one cannot help but simply invest in hope. Nietzsche would have scorned at that choice. But if it sustains the living, does sustainability constitute to a lack of utility? Seeing a vase of flowers, absent in reality, put my aunt in grave shock. A nebulous entity too, my grandfather perhaps? I was reminded of the poem Sylvia Plath wrote in the hospital; I was reminded of so many things; buried memories resurrected naturally and they walked, without flesh, without colour, in the funeral in my brain. The possibilities in that evening—for both him and her—seemed so enormous, so cosmic, that to be walking or simply reading in the veranda must belong to an experience that even joy cannot equate to.

His wife, my aunt, my mother’s sister, my cousins’ mother, has her torment stabbed, due to the repeated explanations to the pattern of visitors entering opaque doors, disrupting a possible peace understood only by two. I wonder, after we leave the room so comfortably dull and so cold, what happens to her breathing, to her fatigue and to her happiness?

To be conscious, to be watching a man once so full of metabolism wither like a flower, trivialises all human capacity to help. When will you speak in a language we can understand?

A vacant motel

I adjust my sorrows
To gears perfect
I listen to its beat
My lungs retract

My temper never prone
To overt enthusiasm
From your excess, thus I loan—

The lack thereof—
I don’t feel I ever scorn
To affect

We talk of nudity
Of character, I mean
Your tolerance of mine
Is slowly turning fine
This weight, I bore in you
A trait, I detest too—

Reading and poetry
Breed crevices beyond honesty
To these doubts, no answers fill
Rises a plaintive woe, immortalised by quill

In dreams, in memory

I dreamt of war quick and fast
Of sanguine faces
And whirlwinds of dust

I pray to thee
Imploring whence does humanity
Gain its infinite glee

To a sickening dismay
As with all other prayers
On that bed I lay

Without an answer I slept
Ruminating in the limpid air
There in the far distance a lady wept

To whose horror! To whose gain!
Are flesh and blood harbingers of pain?


This emotion will be unintelligibly, improperly and unjustifiably transcribed. Oh why do I even try! I can no longer figure my way through words; I am undeniably handicapped. These are growing dissatisfactions of which there are no ailments, no solutions! It is a biological disorder; a tumour growing and hurting the insides of my gut, my lungs, my valves, my skull and possibly culminating in the glorious penetration out of my skin—screaming in absolute liberty! Oh why do the bones want more? Is skin not enough?


My brain is now of twisted nerves; I can’t concentrate on the fleeting nor the whims, nor the insufferable smells of cigarettes burning up, they will combust! I feel I am two: splitting into forms of which I know not, my desires are undergoing mutation, my fears are undergoing change like the unpropitious morning weather—rain or shine! what brine!

I want to breathe life into the undying constants and the great contentment that most possess. But this is a desire, a duty perhaps, which is socially obnoxious. A different happiness does not mean a lesser one. I must remember! Perhaps I need to apply this theory to myself, to just lie back, to relax and breathe in regulated fours. I am a brick about to shatter into rubble; I am a lark—indecisive and sickening and brazen! You told me umpteenth times and I am learning not to be. There are times when I value that passionate pursuit yet times when I seek other more joyous activities. The indulgence of which obliterates my propensity for writing and my marking of growth, my dying youth, my moulting self.

I am going mad! My words are disjunct!

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