we are all things, but not

Once you told me that we were both cats, in another life. With your head resting on my shoulder, I believe you. One day, you told me that I could have been a queen, which is something you have repeated many times since. You said that I have a look. “What ‘look’?” “Just a vibe.” You called yourself a king, and then a commoner, you also said that you were enlightened. I believe you. Once, I said, “no, I am not a queen.” I am a sage, or a wizard, a hermit, an aesthete, ascetic and then you insist that I must have been bourgeois. I don’t believe in the universe putting two together because it’s complete bullshit because ‘the one’ isn’t made, it is a choice but then you tell me that I am you and you are me and that we are one and I believe you.

dusts

Butterflies or moths, powdered wings atop
fluorescent lamps, or tungsten
either way, it always meant a visitation
from the after life

the elders would say,
“that is your grandfather”
“this is your grandmother”

i am staring at the moth
wide-eyed and scared
I remember asking my mother why
and she shrugged, with shoulders slumped
towards the boiling pot of water

I was a kid at 8, 9, or 7
and the moth had wings broad
like the neighbour’s shoulders
shielding the setting sun through
the wire-wrapped fence, speaking to
father
long shadows

i remember the old wives tale
and it never struck me odd
maybe because if ghosts came back as moths
or butterflies, i didn’t mind that much

it meant that grandfather had wings
whispering his memories, into the house
fluttering unspoken words,
maybe my parents were quietly
recollecting, from dusts
that fell off the wings

the fan whirs in the smouldering heat
of an equatorial, ancient summer
night. now the moth spreads its wings
guarding the tungsten lamp, wrapping
light. i blink

men without shoes

Men without shoes are
either
crazy or criminal

feet uncovered, on asphalt
built by hands, glittering
in gold

he stole bread
only to have shoes
taken away

men without shoes are
either
crazy or criminal

mad as day,
they’d say
because he has no shoes

in a hand,
a bottle of liquor
and a smile

mad

he is sprawled on a
park bench
drunk out of his mind

who bears to walk
without shoes?

who took his shoes
away?

chasing sunsets

We are always chasing sunsets
before the sky dissolves
into darkened ash
Maybe it’s the thrill of the moment
even
for a little while
but the five cent coin
rolls itself into the gutter
and the quiet recollections
squares itself off
and the AM track is white noise
by the laneway
I don’t see what you see and
maybe that’s okay
Or the aversion of bright headlights
at the tailend of things
and the noise is louder than it has
ever been and we are standing by
a telescope gazing into–
watching fast cars
and street lamps collide

insomnia

“I lost my temper at myself” said
the character from Anderson when
she punched herself in the mirror

What garners that kind of courage
because I am losing my temper at
myself and in sleep I am duty
bound not to dream

Lest I am running
and my teeth are falling out
— fists unfurled to show five
and blood spit in the sink

The heat sways with the
electronic drone of a semi-broken
lamp and I am watching shadows
flee

My eyes are closing though
I could’ve put myself down earlier
but I never do

202746658

things would have made more sense
if it wasn’t for this mall
and bright lights
and haze
and the noise,
maybe

I couldn’t hold your hand just quite right. Clung for a while and then I gave your arm back to you and my arm back to being mine, and I looked ahead wondering where to go from here. It could’ve been warmer maybe if the air-condition wasn’t so cold

again, the noise

It feels like we had left each other way past when our fingers clasped but the sweat, and words slipped through the cracks where our hands held tight but not tight enough. Your face looks different. I’m trying to capture it but  all i’m thinking of is the conversation where you are not a part of and home and work and when someone told me “ko tinguk kan sekarang orang putih ni semua pun pandai makan nasi oh”

I dragged you to my favourite store. You shirt smells burnt. Cigarettes. Strong. Not you. Not how i’m used to. I gave you a scowl. You asked why. I leaped to the other lane to get away. Saw you walking out for another cigarette, maybe? Malboros was it? I wanted to see the pack, but you said no. I don’t know what for or why I asked to see – maybe to capture something of you that i didn’t grow into knowing.

How did 6 months feel like a trillion hours spent on nothing

Standing on a ledge looking at tiny people. this mall is deadly. the city is only ever good for the vices in life i told you. I miss it when i can but i’ll never miss it in the remembrances where my head reels into the crazy lights and neon satchels and mannequins without faces, wearing clothes we’re supposed to see ourselves in; pale masks and vague illusions. billboards, tv, radio, shiny.

black is the colour you choose, like. i always preferred navy blue or a midnight shade.

we didn’t eat.

you left at a quarter past eight, maybe. and i walked into the hotel lobby. tried to make sense of the bright lights again wondering if the dizzying hue, and the glitz from this girl’s dress could set things right where my eyes met the arrow up button and i pressed the 17th floor, more lights, a view of cars streaming into the highway and with us and leaving and waiting and waiting.

what did dr seuss say? don’t spend your life waiting? time waiting? but it’s all we ever do anyway. minutes tick by. I had spilled everything walking on that clean floor, tiles reflecting steps– dirtied. I don’t know about you going up that bus. Did we walk the same pace?

libras and scorpios are incompatible

I sat on the gray suede couch, fiddling with an iPod – was it hers or mine? She was standing over the mess of a counter. A pot of boiling water, pasta in hand ready to drop. Eggs, bacon, cream.

There was a strand of hair in my bowl.
We ate and left the plates strewn on the kitchen table. I went back to the couch. The song that came up was Expatriate – The Spaces Between. I told her to listen. “It’s a great song.” So then I gave her one-half of  the earphones. She leaned closer. We kissed.

Or did this happen before we ate? I think it was when the pasta was boiling. 

I had my hands pressed against her neck. She’s got really short hair, blonde. The song was still playing in both our ears. I wondered: how the fuck did I end up with you. You’re a Libra. It’s not written in the fucking stars. Our signs aren’t compatible. When are we going to end? I messed up your hair. You’ve got the softest sighs. 

Digital

You’re my favourite poet
I tell him in
An imagined–
quiet
vague
disguise

The LED flashes
Cyan
And our words matter only
as much as
the screen that glows
A white separation

We are voiceless?

I had the Holy Internet
Tell me that we are each other’s
kryptonite
So I let it set

only because we are digital

And this note on an app
Tapped with letters
Drawled in blocks

What do glowing
alphabets mean?

We are voiceless
to each other

Bukowski never angrier
But only in my head

Written on Google Keep