30/1/17: Raphael.

Raphael.

Where do I begin?

I miss him. I miss him I miss him I miss him.

The random dinners, the plots to take over the world. The songs, the album in the workings, the needlessly overcomplicated bread recipe and the earth sandwich plan.

I miss sitting in his attic, making contingency plans for underground churches and zombie apocalypses, self-sustaining houses that drew energy from a box that said “infinite power”, miss the times he called me Fearless Leader.

Jokes on you Raph, I’m neither fearless nor a capable leader in any sense of the word.

He was the only one brilliant enough to take my insane ideas and turn them in to a reality. Who else could turn my four-chord song about a friend who wasn’t dead but was actually dying into a musical masterpiece? Who else could write a beat that fits my absurd rap with pauses for shots in between?

In this vast world, there are probably countless musicians who could have done it.

But he was the only one brilliant enough to pull it off, but at the same time stupid enough, or perhaps kind enough, to actually go ahead and do it. Plus, he’s possibly the only person I’ve ever met who could work with me almost perfectly. I’ll be blunt and say that nobody likes working with me. My erratic, last-minute, fiercely individualistic working style puts off everyone and is the reason why I clash with certain individuals in church whom I shall refrain from naming. But when I worked with Raphael.. yes, we argued, yes we had our creative differences. But I felt he got me in a way that others didn’t.

That’s not to say I’m completely devoid of friends now. I have friends. But some part of me died along with Raphael.

At times I feel like I don’t know what I’ll do now that he’s gone, but if I’m honest with myself, I do. I’ll keep living life one step at a time. The days will fly by and eventually the years I’d have spent without him will outnumber the years with.

It hurts. Thinking of you brings a smile to my face but it hurts.

See the truth is, I’ll probably just do the exact same thing I did when he was around. Go for random lunches and dinners, write horrible songs, plays, video ideas.

In that regard, life will be the same. It just won’t be as fun, or as meaningful, now that he’s gone.

All this being said,

I know that he’s in heaven. Frolicking in the clouds, fixing the wi-fi, building ethernet cables out of clouds and probably redesigning the angels’ uniforms. Maybe God called him back because they needed some help with decorating the place.

When Raphael was with me, I always felt invulnerable. I felt like there was no challenge in the world that could defeat us, no obstacle we couldn’t overcome. I sincerely believed from the bottom of my heart that as long as Raphael and I worked together, we could achieve great things. I look at my hands now, and myself in the mirror, and I feel all that conviction has crashed.

I love him like he’s family, like he’s my brother, like he’s one of the most important people in the world to me.

I can’t wait to see you again, Raph.

30/1/17: A Short Break

I haven’t written here in a long time, though not for lack of things to write about. Anyway, I’ve decided to shift over my old blog here, so now I’ll be doing my random posts here. I’ll make it distinct from my poetry by starting each of these posts with a date.

SO.

Since my last post, a bunch of stuff has happened. One of my best friends passed away, I acted in a self-written, self-directed musical, and I have an inclination that perhaps I’ll be going into full time ministry in the future.

I do have a few poems backlogged which I hope to post here over time.

Why did I suddenly start writing again?

I guess it’s because I feel like I’ve lost much of my motivation to write.

And part of that is because of Raphael, so I shall dedicate my next post to him.

Dichotomy

Another slam piece where I stole a lot of content from stuff I wrote for SingPoWriMo. Is it plagiarism if I steal from myself?

When we were younger
I enjoyed playing snakes and ladders, rolling dice with friends
We ran out to the playground, and over the course of scraped knees and bruised elbows, would climb hand over hand to reach the highest point
When it rained we would go inside, and paint our blank canvases every shade of fun we could imagine

And I thought that adulthood would be the same
Still we would avoid Snakes and try to climb (corporate) Ladders
Still we would race each other to the top of the Pyramid (scheme)
Still we would feel happy when we drew (a salary)

And in this dichotomy we find ourselves, in this dichotomy where we put our toys away but we are children at heart. It is here that we find managing funds to be fun to manage.

But one day you said
Put away Christmas stockings and buy stocks
Stop sharing time for time shares
Stop watching Sesame Street and start watching Wall Street

So I
Gave up board games for board meetings
Traded Jack and Jill for Jack Daniels
Stopped laughing at Donald Duck and started laughing at that Donald fuck

We stopped watching cartoons and started watching our health
Gave up hopscotch to drink Scotch,
Traded birthday parties for a worker’s party

Now
We’ve realised that not all stories will end happily ever after
Cancer is no longer just a zodiac sign
The best medicine is antibiotics, not laughter
And my poems don’t even rhyme
Much

With a childlike wonder I approached this world, wandering through emerald meadows under an azure sky. But you brought a monochrome wall that robbed my world of Colour, drowning it with black and white. For you could not stand the dichotomy, the boy within the man, the child that rebelled against the ever Ageing body that approached adulthood with each passing day.

You judged me guilty of clinging on to childhood, and the verdict was a death sentence

So I’ll put down my rattle
Trade it for a rattlesnake
And let it sink its fangs into me
Until every drop of my blood turns to venom and the honeyed words I speak poison you slowly.

And you will see that the cot is empty
That I take my rest in the arms of the living, and you will find a child buried amongst the bodies of unrealised ambition. In a graveyard along every incarnation of myself that died prematurely, that could have been, but never was.

So I will break the rattle, I will poison the milk, and the baby boy who looked up at the world with wonder from the boundaries of his cot will be killed. The baby in the cot, who dreamt of a world without borders will be struck down in a gross miscarriage of fantasy to make way for the adult that you want to see.

The child will perish to the new me
The toys will fall to the new me
The cot will die
Die, cot, to me.

Oodles of Noodles: A Love Story

Inspired by a poem by Chris Mooney Singh, this is a little different from my usual stuff

Some like them hot
Some like them cold
They bring joy to the young
And comfort the old
You can find them everywhere
If you dare to be bold
And with this wonderful dish
Our story unfolds
With

Oodles of Noodles
Oodles of Noodles
Oodles of Noodles
Again and again

At Cold Storage one evening
I pluck from the shelf
A box of instant pasta
All for myself
It’s my standard routine
I’ve done it forever
Say my grace, Eating pasta and trying
To make myself feel better
It’s

Lonely macaroni
Lonely macaroni
Lonely macaroni
Again and again

So I set up a Tinder
And on my profile
Asked for someone to share noodles with
To eat together for a while
It went on for days without any reply
I was getting frustrated and didn’t know why

Then one day you showed up
A bolt from the blue
You said I like noodles
I said I like noodles too
You told me you knew how to get a cheap meal
Noodles two for one, what an excellent deal
You had

Groupons for Udon
Groupons for Udon
Groupons for Udon
Again and again

So Tanya and I ate our noodles that night
And biting noodles with love, soon turned into love bites
It was one and the same, with noodles and each other
We eat, pray and love (though not necessarily in that order)
The soba was cold but the loving was hot
The noodles were soft, I definitely was not
With someone to share noodles with, life was so sweet
Tanya from Tinder, she made me complete.
Everyday was

Tanya Lasagne
Tanya Lasagne
Tanya Lasagne
Again and again

But the noodles went stale
And the fire was dead
The soup bowl was empty
Like your side of my bed
We still ate, we still prayed, but the day you bought rice
I knew our love was Bollocks, and it wasn’t Bolognese

The night we broke up we watched terminator 2
A final sweet memory between me and you
And as Arnold Schwarzenegger sank into molten steel and died
We shared our last bowl of noodles, and said our goodbyes

Pasta la Vista
Pasta la Vista
Pasta la Vista
Again and again

So you left, so I stayed
Everyday I would pray
For you to walk through that door
And we’d eat noodles once more
Now you’re all but forgotten
I’m no longer haunted by your face
But still I remember to give thanks and say grace
Saying

Amen for ramen
Amen for ramen
Amen for ramen
Amen and amen

For a friend

This poem is not about a crush

It is not about young love, infatuation
It is not filled with metaphors of springtime
And it most certainly is not about you.
This poem is about a friend, nothing more
Nothing less

It is about a girl
Who, though younger, has experienced far more growing up than I have
It is about someone who dared to venture on the ascending path to love
Fell from the heights,
tasted bitterness and rejection
And emerged far, far stronger
It is about a girl who dances with fire
A girl whose eyes light up with passion
When she speaks, her hands paint the air with sparks and her tongue will not be silenced

She once believed she burned like a star
That her fires were her own self destruction, and she was dead long before anyone could reach her.

I beg to differ

She is the glowing embers of a hearth
A calm, familiar warmth
Keeping a broken boy together simply by being there, because hope survives best at the hearth

She is a righteous inferno that convicts me of sin, that burns with prejudice any falsehood or bravado, revealing what lies underneath.

She is a shot of brandy on a snowy mountaintop to a dying hiker, injecting her fire into a stone cold heart and burning in the throat she bring us to life.

She is the second star to the right, and I the lost boy would follow her to where neither of us would grow old, we’d soar away and never land. Friends, nothing more, nothing less.

I lied. This poem is about you.

You, whose appearance is put on display for everyone to criticise the moment you step outside
You, you who have faced rejection from those you were not trying to please

Who are treated like a piece of art on display, where your sole purpose is to appease the eyes of onlookers.

If you were here I would write a stanza of how you are sitting there in the corner listening to me. But you are not, so I rehearse my words now and hope I one day muster the courage to say them to you.

You were born of the sign Virgo
The Earth greets you as her Daughter
Mercury is your exaltation, and Jupiter danced for your conception

Remember this well,
When those who do not see beyond the Sierra veil and Clarendon filter
Call you shallow and weak
When forked tongues lash out and slather your skin with venom
Remember this

I’ve never believed in astrology, but tell them this.

Tell them you were born under the star of Virgo
Because this statement stands loud
And much like their words
means absolutely nothing

 

Stronger

Foreword: Not the most tasteful of my poems, but one I’m proud of nonetheless.

You were once a boy, playing war in the playground. Brandishing toy guns that lit up and made pew pew sounds. You would run, you would fall, but you would always get up, scrape dirt from your infant knees. You were a seed, lying in the dirt, waiting to sprout.

Now you are a soldier, and you have learned that war is not a play. The gun you carry still lights up, but the sounds you hear are the dying wishes of those whose lives you have taken, and the unforgiving bite of the rifle as it spits metal. You have taken root, branching up and out, but there is still a long way to grow, my little plant, my infantry.

You were once a child. You learned how letters formed words, words formed sentences, sentences formed paragraphs, and paragraphs in turn formed letters.

Back then you learned of the ABC’s, now you learn how important they are. When A’s become aphrodisiacs and B’s are bittersweet, C’s are consolations and D’s stand for defeat. When F means you’re a failure, you fucked up. When your value is reduced to a series of letters and you are only worth what your report card says you were.

But soon you will learn that in the end they are not important. That you cannot be defined by letters, that you were not designed to be so simple, reduced to a grade, that you are not confined, not born to fall in line, and that the F you see is simply telling you to Fucking get it together and Fight harder next time.

You have changed. You have risen from the dirt, brushed the dust from your ever growing knees, picked up your rifle, and you have changed. You have cast aside the dunce caps and robes of failure, traded them in for the graduation gown of a scholar and you have changed. You have invested too much money into the stupid vending machine called life and you have change!

You were once a zygote
You were your mother’s egg
Now you eat eggs for breakfast
What was once your very existence now is your snack.

You were but a sperm, swimming in a pool of what ifs, of unrealized children.
Now you casually release sperm to pass the time
Ride the waves of orgasmic success, feel the bliss as you reach your climax,
You are alive, with every beat, with every shot, with every stroke, you are so alive.

Take a moment, exhale and understand you are not who you were before
Now open your eyes.

Can’t you see how far you’ve come?

Thunder Girl

Foreword: I performed this at a slam, and stole a lot of content from the pieces I did for SingPoWriMo. Because I am a terrible person and

You were the first rays of summer

Cliched as it may be, I did not believe in love at first sight till you ran past me in the stadium. With that first lap you captured my attention, and as you passed me on your second lap you took my heart with you, never sparing me so much as a passing glance, yet my eyes eternally trained on you,

Chasing that dream, reaching for your back
Sneaking glances at that ass

I approached you but each time our eyes made contact my poetry turned to dust, my words lost in transition. You twisted my tongue in knots and left me clutching at grammar and gasping for words to say.

I trained my tongue,

Oh the things I dreamed my tongue would do to you if it were not always tied in your presence.

Whisper saccharine words into your ears
Artificial sweetener, yet you love them
As you love your Diet Coke
Because words are free, guilt free, calorie free.
My hot breath would linger on your skin
Claiming even the air around you as my own
For Zeus does not deserve such a goddess

In your company every breath would be a
Sonnet, a haiku, an asingbol
Every style of poetry would praise you
A prelude to a prayer of thanksgiving
If you did not always take my breath away

Two white production lines in a
Red factory of speech, churn words
Manufacture moments of infatuation
Hours of desire
Days of unrestrained longing

To this boy born to a tropical island, you were a thunderclap that brought on the seasons,
The spring of infatuation and love, of hope for new beginnings and fresh starts,
The heat of summer, as feelings climbed to heights beyond reason, beyond restraint, of swimsuits and sunny days
The fall that followed, as our paths diverged, and your appearances in my life grew less frequent

Until finally everything ceased, the fire dimmed to but a small candle, as love hibernated, and winter returned.

A year passed before you reappeared in front of me one evening, still dragging around the bit of my heart that you stole. And as spring came to life, and the heat of summer dawned upon me, I knew it was only a matter of time

Before I fall for you once again.

Four things I have learned about bullies

One
Bullies are evil poets

When I was seven, my mother told me
Sticks and stones can break my bones
But words will never hurt me

I am nineteen, going on twenty
And the number of sticks and stones that have broken my bones is a whopping zero

To be fair, there is truth in her words
Words do not cut you
Words make you want to cut yourself
Words do not leave bruises on your body
They make you see the imperfections that have always been there
Words do not kill you
Words leave you wishing you were dead

Sticks and stones cannot break this heart
Because this heart is a boulder
Weathered down through tempests of abuse and insult
This heart is bedrock
Where anxiety and fear come to rest.

Bullies are just evil poets. If poets are the Jedi, bullies are the Sith

Two
Bullies are kleptomaniacs

When I was seven they took my pencils and erasers
When I was nine I switched to pens and they took those too
Whenever I played with legos they would take the bricks
Take the red bricks so I couldn’t build the cottage to hide in
Took the yellow bricks so I couldn’t build the road to salvation
Took the blue bricks so I couldn’t build a river to drown myself

I couldn’t build a warship, or a train station, couldn’t build self esteem

But even without bricks, they couldn’t stop me from building walls
Around my heart
It took me far too long to learn how to care for anybody else
Because I first taught myself how not to care

Three
Bullies follow a doctrine of atheism

And this is simultaneously their greatest weapon and their weakness
They wait for you to show a moment of vulnerability
An insecurity, an imperfection, and they strike.

I remember after school I would stop at a bubble tea shop on the way home
Order a Hazelnut Milk Tea with bubbles and seventy percent sugar
And every Tapioca Pearl down my throat was another emotion I would not let out
Fear, anxiety, down the gullet
Apprehension, confusion, frustration, straight into my stomach

If poets are Jedi, bullies are the Sith
This very same power called language we use to create beauty
They use to tear down.

They twist the ABC’s and the HIJK’s
But they would drown in my Tea
And never get to you
Don’t let them get to you

Because nobody laughs at the tears you don’t cry.

Four
Anyone can be a bully

I became a bully once
Emboldened by hard liquor and soft lighting
I crossed lines and words that should have never have been said
Severed friendships, broke bonds, ripped holes in my friends

I guess I was sick of being the only one who was so broken.

I have since sworn off Vodka
Because poets are Jedi, Bullies are the Sith

And only the Sith deal in Absolut.

Look Down

Foreword: This poem is a clear example of how my spoken pieces don’t translate well to text. The “look down” reprise is meant to be sung (stolen from Les Mis) and the lines at the end in particular are belted slowly and powerfully, whereas the earlier ones are sang at a regular tempo. Sigh. But none of that is conveyed through mere words.

Look down, look down
Don’t look them in the eye

Within four walls of red brick and ivy
Steeped in primary colours
Plebeian and patrician are separated
By academia wall

Two tests determine whether you
Are “gifted”
Decide and divide who will rise and who will fall

For those deemed worthy
A separate class is established
Remnants of our past as a British colony
Perched on a pedestal, the principal lets down golden staircase so that the elect can ascend an ivory tower and

Look down look down
Upon your fellow man

From there you climb the academic ladder. Peers and teachers alike remind you of your status. Titles are callously flung, “integrated”, “express”, enforcing the divide between you and the normal.

So pack your bags, pick up your pens and prepare to pick up the pace. Struggle to keep your head afloat and understand fully why it’s not called the human walk but the human race

Your brilliance dims in the presence of true genius. Swept up by the tide you sink beneath the waves and fade into obscurity.

For years you look upwards to the skies
Forever falling short of the heaven’s fires
Your eyes may twinkle like the diamonds reflected in them
But you can produce no light of your own

The galaxy is your stage and you dance
Amidst a sea of nebulas,
yet each subsequent star you encounter shines
infinitely brighter than you

Look down and see
The beggars at your feet

Prodigal son
Returns empty handed to a house
That is no longer home
To see friends who are no longer family

Porcelain smiles crack beneath the weight of your difference
Though you fill the gaps the smile is never quite the same
You fade into obscurity once again

Look down, look down
They’ve all forgotten you

In your desperate climb to the pinnacle you fell and found a broken crown
Now you rule an empty kingdom
Because you had a few good subjects
And you thought that was enough

Two roads diverged before you
And you chose the one you could not
follow.
Now I drift on endlessly in a crowded space
Counting the constellations and wishing I was amongst them.

Look down look down
You’re standing in your grave