How serene the world appears behind my window!
A quiet collage of black and orange glow
Stirred only by cars that wander in and out of sight
Tiny things tracing the strings of bejewelled streetlights.
But! The mind knows –
dark enclaves shrink, fast cars appear slow
sounds drown in silence
only from such a distance.
Should I fling my arms out into the air
let the breeze tangle its silken fingers in my hair
I would feel from the vastness, the hushed intensity
Like a boiling kettle on the verge of its plaintive cry.
Here a honk, there a dog’s bark, there a whistle
(The kettle huffs and begins to rattle)
a revving far away, a few lights go out
(The kettle’s squeak rises to a shout)
And so I slam the window shut to the world outside
So I quench the flame, and let the noise subside.
“At one moment we deplore our birth and state and aspire to an ascetic exaltation; the next we are overcome by the smell of some old garden path and weep to hear the thrushes sing. And so bewildered as usual by the multitude of things which call for explanation and imprint their message without leaving any hint as to their meaning upon the mind, she threw her cheroot out of the window and went to bed.” – Orlando, Virginia Woolf
Oh colour printer
And your slow-rolling duplex,
Consuming my youth.
Your best friend when you’re about
To miss the shuttle.
Artistic ingenuity –
Stomach heaves, heart beats.
Trying to recall if I
Left out the hyphen.
Pre-mixed or kosong?
Now that is the real secret
To fruitful meetings.
Dear external guests
Yes, please feel free to arrive
At Block C AND A.
Truly becomes you.
Ah, latte, fruit, pao
Quite a balanced breakf- oh crap!
Touch and go empty.
Like a blood moon
But far too bright
Out of place
In a purple-grey sky
For all intents and purposes
A sun, for daylight
Emanates from its ruddy face
And hurts the wandering eye.
But still no match
For the blight
Of this poison haze
Under which the city lies.
So what’s one to do
But board a flight
To another place
And bid this dump goodbye?
So tonight I had my first attempt at poetry slam/ spoken word performance, and what an experience the whole evening was. Thank you to the If Walls Could Talk community for the open mic sesh! As much of a bored evil bitch as I pretend to be, I really find the idea of people opening their hearts to an audience of mostly strangers very heartwarming. And there’s so much to observe about people from just watching them speak their secret scribblings out loud (a lot of love and lust-charged poetry there!!), and I always enjoy an opportunity to do that – and spoken word is especially fun because I don’t have to return any conversation. No I’m really not a snob I promise, I’m just lazy. Anyway here’s my transcript (or an approximation of it) for keeps:
Hello. This is about my grandmother’s funeral.
So there she lies, unseen,
On bedding of silky sheen.
Sheltered by the lid left ajar
For a final gaze at the stars.
But- not that it matters anymore.
Her mind had slipped away long before.
I knew her, but only just
To greet as grandchildren must.
A nod, a smile, a perfunctory
address of filial duty.
She didn’t even know my name!
But she’d wave, all the same.
I know her from years of many
Stories my parents told me.
Quite the controversial lady.
But unless you are part of the story
Our parents’ tales are only fiction.
Only fodder for the childish imagination.
So there she lies, safely
Sheltered by life’s brevity,
Delivered from confronting
The ambivalence, the untold feelings
Of the ones she left
So with the many lovely ladies who came up to us at the funeral to say how lovely a person she was, and how sorry they were, I found myself thinking it was all so strange because it was obvious they didn’t truly know her, and neither did they know me at all, yet they were saying all these nice things…and so I came to realise that…
…Funerals are for the living to attend.
Tears are for the living to show.
Sympathy is for the living to lend.
Pretty truths are for the living to know.
Regret is for the living to shoulder.
Relief is for the living to hide.
Forgiveness is for the living to offer
Sometimes in the poetry the living write.
Deaths are felt only by the living.
The dead are just…dead.