this is all we have


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these are all the things you are: careful, mild-mannered, careless, hands aligned neatly together such that the uneven beads lining your angular wrists make soft indents on your scarred skin. uncertain eyes raised towards the spring dawn from beneath the pale red umbrella, a small breath lost as you curl yourself into the damp palm of the bronze buddha and stretch a thin sheet of rice paper over yourself – lighting the match where your heart lies quietly.

yet stepping backwards into the dark exhibit in the corner of the street on the last day, this is all we have left: thirty-three pale reflections of the moon dotting the curl of your spine, overexposed photos of a thousand altar candles and symmetrical sketches of museum corridors – ground over two hundred and sixteen hours and packed into small teabags to be dropped into the insides of a handmade doll, sealed and preserved with blunt pieces of loose jade:

animate stories, significant names, beautiful writings and shared glances buried beneath sleepy grins, wide lensed portraits and the loud voices of women behind counters hard-selling displaced language and history.

A/N: 三潭印月 (san-tan-yin-yue, Three Pools Mirroring the Moon): Refers to three approximately 2m-high stone Qing Dynasty Pagodas which were erected in West Lake (西湖,杭州) which are often lit at night with a thin veil over it. When this happens, the holes in the pagoda will project an illusion of several moons on the water surface, effectively creating 33 moons on the water surface – out of which it is really difficult to tell which is the real moon and which isn’t. These stones are also printed on the backside of the 1 Yuan RMB note. This was written after spending 9 days in Jiangnan – Visting Shanghai, Suzhou, Wuxi, Nanjing, Haining and Hangzhou – part reflecting on the people and events, part reflecting on how i barely know anything about chinese culture and perhaps should begin to actively try to get to know chinese culture better. 

do not misunderstand

a/n: rework of an old piece.


sometimes we all like to pretend that we are infallible:
blessed with the ability to mould ourselves to concrete walls,
palms closing in on flimsy plastic and transparent sheets,
where cleavage furrows would form where our knees ended
when in fact we’re flawed, contemplative,
rusting cylinders of water,
illusory embraces,
dripping so that

sometimes when
we realise that we’re
no longer infallible, we’d re-
call ourselves strung over bus railings,
knees clicking halfway through the parking lot where it all
started, palms clammy and open, clambering for the small gaps
between the freshly painted wall and the old stairwell with cold
cement: long dried, tangible, clean and mostly, un-blessed.

now, it’s been

five days since i began recognising
his double eyelids in the faces of
strangers, damp towels dripping
floors and

every plane and shadow beneath

the rim of my umbrella as i rub
the pads of my thumbs over its

contour and, soundlessly, erase.


start with a prayer. ride pillion into the sleepy
sunset. press dried flowers to closed
eyes. blow the candles out. see,
i’ve been told

in hokkien
i’m part burmese, wait
aren’t you indonesian?

my response lost beneath
windswept smiles.


we are incapable of keeping silent,
our hands shifting out of reverse,
loose fixes and joints no longer reliant

on soft and hazy physical alignment.
your last breath punctures in reverse,
but we are incapable of keeping silent.

we lack the right imagination, fervent
prayers and lighting of incense,
calculations reversed to keep us silent.

then you drained nitric acid through fluorescent
makeshift altar candles dropwise,
reversing the tips into an alkaline solvent –

and the filmy layer of effervescent
steam gas air breath closed your eyes
to uncertainties left out of context all too frequent.

we are all but a queer heartful of gas and yet,
there will be no lapses between our hands
when pressed firmly together, reliant
and a little more capable of keeping silent.

SPWM;17 day four – write about something you’d say no to. first attempt at a villanelle, haven’t been very truthful to the structure but it’s something, hee. title from sleepy, hazy multivariable calculus lectures this morning.

그럴 텐데 ( i would )


let’s forget
all things that fell

together apart into

each half-light, the selfsame
shade of blue extending along
flat planes

tipping over the edges,
circling in coffee-filled bottles,
spiralling in the glare of

your shadow

but think about
the lazy rain and our


lazier smiles smirks
scowls and hazy sighs –
or perhaps nothing

at all.

more for personal venting than anything, haven’t written in ages; for one i’ve held too much guilt for, and missed too much in my memories until i realised that there’s really no reason for me to still be doing this.