When you grow old, life becomes more distant from yourself. You see yourself becoming more distant from yourself. That, is maturity. I am finding the eyes of the little boy at the MRT. Sparkling, small, staring right back at me. I am finding the child with the fat, soft body. When you grow old, life becomes more distant from yourself. I am almost doing it, I think. I am almost growing up. I am an adult. I no longer feel my hands. I no longer remember how its like to have hands with textures, hands on window panes, on faces. I am growing old, I think. I’m being less dysfunctional, I’m finally trying to stop thinking about your face. I am growing old, now am I proud? No. It’s what I am supposed to do. I know that you are happy now. I am happy now. I need to remind myself. I am forgetting things. (funny). I am learning how to scream and be angry at people. I am learning how to be angry at myself, not merely out of righteous indignation. I am growing old now, I am feeling grown up things, I am feeling grown up things. The more I see this world the more I know that this world is not I wanted thought it would be when I was young not a story of boy meets girl, not the story of you marrying me, not the story of boy girl, naked in a room together, forever (naked, not sexual, but I love you. This is the most comforting image in my head and so I keep on returning it. I’m sorry. I know that it is wrong. I’m sorry, I know that it is wrong and I should nt be doing it but it is the most comforting image in my head. hands, when we were angry, hot and sweaty. Will I ever fall in love again? (I have problems) Stop idealising my problems. Put your hands on your feet, feet on your hands, ceiling on your head, head on your ceiling, hands inside your mouth, your mouth inside my hand, little hands and big hands and hand and hands all over, little hands and big hands go away go away. I put my smile on my teeth, my teeth on my smile I see the words in plastic bags, plastic bags in poetry, white skirt in the dancing little thing floating, floating, red scribbly words are beauty and beauty and floating till a dog pounces and runs and chases till a dog screams a boy screams lies dead on the floor, joking. Till I blow on your stomach–hah, not your dick. Till I stop crying, stop acting like a little girl stop trying to find a Daddy who is not old sad and old and fat and depressed and dirty and disgusting and gross and eczema ridden. Everything passes, until it is gone. Until you are gone, one day like a speck of dust swept away, to be clean, made space for the new. After all, aren’t we merely–propagation of DNA?
Can’t wait for my peace. Fantasizing about books, libraries. The epic of Gilgamesh. No A levels. Finally, a quiet brain. Writing. Yale-NUS. These two years in Tanglin have been a vacuum– me a Butterly resting in a caccoon, from the world, playing with myself.
These few years, have been me playing with myself. I am shedding this cacoon. It is time for me to go outside. To see the world. To play. To love. To touch, fondle, have my heart genuinely broken by people that I come to love. Not, lying in soft green beds. Lying in the real world. On the tarmac. People staring strangely at a girl breathing in the traffic. Or not.
Playing, playing with myself/ playing with myself/ Time to put away the toys my little hands. Time to hold someone real. Time to genuinely fall in love, with a real person, not someone who could see me. Time to feel the skin soft upon my body, feel the air against my skin, close my eyes, and laugh. To have my day packed with people, to have too much to do, to little time. To love my family. To live a new life, with God. To love. To be settled. To love. To be settled. TO be kind. To see.
‘how many more years, Amanda? How many more years before I can go and see my daughter?’
My conversation with Lucy. I can’t imagine, living in someone else’s house, being detached, looking in, playing politics. I am sorry.
Why do I get to dream, but others don’t? I walk and walk, but I still make no friend.
/In a stranger’s land. You breathe. Thank you for making me feel less lonely that night. Thank you for sitting with me in the dark.
No more lists now. Just days, just life. I am happy, despite and because of this messy and beautiful world. Thank you.
Let us not kid ourselves. The only reason we are here is because we are afraid of loneliness. We are two strangers clinging on to bodies, in an attempt not to float away from this earth. Do you feel it? How hard I am holding on to you— my fingernails dig into your skin? You cling as tightly as well. You don’t pull closer, you don’t pull away—too scared to be close, too scared to be apart. That’s okay: we look like we are lovers and that’s enough.
And so, I must learn to call you beautiful: your deficient jaw, stubby eyebrows. I will trace my fingers over every corner of your face and find a way of looking at you. I will kiss your nose. I will run my hands through your hair. I will tell you that I’d stay.
Maybe. It will never be the right face, the right words or the right moment. But today, you are enough for me.
Ode to an egg
Cradle the egg in your hand,
Just because you are Man
doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate
the egg did not mate
or the little embryo lying inside
That would shiver, slide and glide
in it’s little home.
So tap it, once, twice, thrice
against the kitchen table.
Be gentle, little chef
the little soul that once was, left
to fade into the universe, somewhere
In-between; beyond you and me
Mixing with the salt, peppers and tomatoes
—It’s little soul dancing on your nose—
The chicken-that-could-be sizzles on your pan
till it solidifies, turns white
You lick it with your teeth
perhaps even with a little ground beef
And because of it,
you will live well today, sleep well tonight
The baby chicken in your tummy; the soul who might’ve
There is a man in my head. He is fat. He sits on the edge of my bed and masturbates the whole day. His stomach stretches all over his t-shirt. The strange thing is, he is always smiling. Smiling as he masturbates, as he comes—dried cum on his thighs, his arms, his hands, on the bed, from over the years.
I went into the room to say hello. He smiles.
‘How many times today?’
‘I don’t know. I lost count’
Because it is the only thing my hands know. It is practised, this movement, up and down. It feels strange not to come, not to have that feeling built up in my throat, my stomach, that pressing. How do you not do it? Doesn’t it feel strange—your body limp, dull, boring. The pleasure feeds me/whole/makes me whole today, today, today.
This is exactly what I say to myself. Come, come, come. Would you stay, little girl? Accompany me? This bed is really warm and soft. You would fit perfectly right next to me, your small little body. Aren’t you tired? You look tired. Why are you walking away?/Are you scared? Are you scared? You look like you want to run away.
Don’t you notice the cockroaches and rats in the room? No. Don’t you notice the stale, pungent scent, don’t you notice the dried semen, the floor crusted with your cum, that your hands are aching, that you have not bathed in years? Don’t you notice you, in this room.
Aren’t you tired? You look tired. You look like you want to run away. I sigh. He lets me sit down next to me and I lean into this chest. His breasts cushion my head, envelopes me. He strokes my hair, lets me lean into his body. Massages my face, my neck. Are you feeling better now?
I don’t really want to go. It’s true. The room is dark and cold and damp. The bed is perfect. but still. I tug my head—out of habit, I don’t know, because I should? I don’t know I just go.
‘Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in agner; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, o God of my salvation!’
Why did you turn your face from me?—
Back in the playground,
I was a child. You held me,
handless; kissed me,
lipless; loved me,
You must have been watching. Why then,
let me sit alone in the swing, the water, the night?
I asked you for three leaves
from the trees that grow from your earth.
me, myself and I;
father son spirit;
you, me God. Instead,
you gave me a bench filled with
When I reached out to touch you, you were gone.
Perhaps, I have fallen in love with the feeling of being lost.
In the night, I see nothing. I do not try to search. I feel the pavement under my feet.
I know no one is thinking of me. And so, I am thoughtless, imperceivable untouchable, unknowable.
Perhaps I hide my face from you because I do not want you to look at me. I am too used to hands that do not know how to touch me, words that do not reach me, faces that I do not recognise.
The mud falls into whatever shape it does. The water will seep through loose spaces, separating, dripping from one hole to the next. This will happen again and again, until it flows from river to lake to ocean. The sea will turn into the sky.
A child would reach out his small, dimpled hands and think ‘how blue, how beautiful, how happy’.
Perhaps I like the sky too much. There is nothing to be seen or discerned, it just is.
My architect says that a room is different depending on how you experience it: Which chair you choose to sit on—the one closer to the window or the corner of the room; each evokes a different emotion, another part of you. That is why he moves every year, to different parts of Singapore. And this, I add: Because all bear the trace of someone who used to be: stray hairs, someone’s fingertips. Everywhere we go, we leave a part of ourselves behind.
I want to experience as many lovers before I die so that I can find every part of myself and lose it.
Deen comes out of the shower, naked. He asks me to take of all my clothes. We go onto his bed. He lies on top of me and kisses me. He is warm and wet; his tongue discovers the spaces in my mouth and the edges of my teeth. He discovers the shape of my vagina. Then, when he is ready, he fucks me. All I can think about is how strange it feels to have something inside of you. How white the ceiling is and how the windows are open. How funny he looks with his face contorted in pain and pleasure, his mouth slightly agape, his eyes half-open. How funny he sounds as he grunts, like a grumpy old man.
Later, I meet up with his friends. They smoke. They make sex jokes about a girl who has had sex with every guy in the group. Her vagina is so loose that they can fit an entire fist inside. Her moan is so soft. She does not feel as good as when she was a virgin.
How do you look at me—naked, clothed, sideways, or in my eyes? How do you touch me— with hands used to pleasure or hands that you use to bathe yourself? It doesn’t matter: you will not know that I touch myself to sleep. I hold myself: my shoulders, my neck, the bend of my knee and that is the only way i can fall asleep. You will not know how many times I have looked at the mirror, trying to find every possible face I have.
Deen has a slim, long body, thin and muscular. There is a gentleness to him—his crooked teeth and straight-forward, boyish look. His body is very cold, like a naked fish and I am water, wrapping myself around him. His hands are tentative, curious and he prods my body like a misbehaving toddler. Being with him is like being with a child: he tells me about how he misses his girlfriend from two years ago. He asks me: could I be his replacement girlfriend? And I let him, because we are always missing someone else.
He kisses my cheek, his lips, wet and small. He holds me, strokes my hair till I fall asleep, tells me that I am the only person in the world that he loves.
Somewhere in-between, I am alone in a room that smells like sex and cheap detergent.
Some days, it pains me. I feel the weight of my memories pressing down on me. To leave, or to stay they pull me back and forward in time. I wish I were weightless. I remember looking at the rain wishing I was water, flowing through roads, car tyres, washing and flowing, and flowing away. That I would evaporate and gather in clouds. I would exist between particles, in air. And then, existing would be enough; my existence would be light and free. I would be as unknowable and forgettable as a rain drop.
When I was five, I was afraid to close my eyes for a second because I was sure if I did, I’d feel a ghost pressing down on me. I had to focus my eyes right on that spot on the ceiling above me. I was scared that my gaze would shift and I would see something in the shadows or a face in my window. My fists clenched in my pyjamas; my arms crossed over my stomach completely protected under the blankets. I would be sweating in my clothes. If I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d scream and run, barging into my parent’s bedroom.
I remember the nights where I stayed up drinking coffee, trying to finish any piece of work. I would have spent the entire afternoon trying to study but I wouldn’t be able to focus—I had too many thoughts about everything and I couldn’t let go of any of them. I was afraid I would miss something out, some realisation of the world, something that made my world-understanding less accurate in a time I was lost and confused. I remember going back to school, my body tired, my hair messy. I’d wear my baggy CCA jacket because I did not like the way my uniform clung to my waist, I did not like how fat my arms looked fat and so, I wore my jacket. That and because it was blue, my favourite colour.
Now I wear my uniform, an extra button down. I take my jacket on and off easily, whenever I feel warm. I smile easily in photographs and I think I am happy. But sometimes, I like to listen to the same song over and over again, to pretend that I am still that little girl. I like to remember how I used to be.
Every day that passes, we lose a part of ourselves until one day, we do not recognise ourselves at all. It is scary to let the past-self you know, that you lived as, die. But death is necessary for life. Christianity always talks about being reborn in Christ. And there’s evolution, population viability etc. I have to let myself (the familiar) die to be someone better and more beautiful. One day, I would tell my children that I used to be insane and strange and angry and sad. But I would hold them to sleep, through their nightmares. I would look into their ugliness and anger tell them that they are beautiful, just like my mother did. And I would tell them ‘this, too shall pass’, just as I will one day and they, and the world, would keep on going without me. But, all that matters is that you are here with me now and I love you. You are the only thing that grounds me. You and you and you and all your beautiful faces and stories, and this beautiful and messy world—I thank you for being here with me right now.
I decided to start this blog mainly for writing. The strange thing about writing is that it is public (it is a way of connecting to the world) but it is also insanely private (honesty to any human experience you have). The main purpose of this blog is to express that private human experience and also to have my writing critiqued, if possible, because I want to improve and I think this structure/ space helps to collate everything. So please, do be honest in whatever you think– if any parts are cringey, melodramatic, unbuyable, cliche etc. Probably comments I want are on language, content, or any response that you have. Thank you so much for taking the time:) ! I’ll readily critique any piece of writing you have if I am able to offer an opinion in that capacity.
Since this is about writing, I should probably talk about what writing means to me/how that has changed over time. Since I was quite young, I felt a very strong sense of voice/my place in this world. I don’t know how it is like for other people. But this initially caused me a deep sense of loneliness because it made me even more aware of the space between people/ the difference between head space and my reality. I tried to express this through my writing. My teenage angst/insecurity made me question whether I was a good enough writer in the first place to attempt writing at all and so I didn’t for quite a while. Now, I feel like I am comfortable with who I am — my private human experience, my private emotions, my personhood–for it not to be Defined by the quality of my writing, or what I DO. So I do, I think, I write BECAUSE it is my human impulse and my way of expression, not because it defines me. (Whoever knows what defines us–we are who we are) So here, in my writing/art, I will try NOT to emotionally masturbate in dark emotions or churn out angst. I want to write things that are genuinely truthful–about the world/people around me, about myself. And I think the act of writing Helps to expand my human experience/understanding as well. Here, I will try to post short stories every month and a poem every week. Obviously, this may fluctuate but I will try my best to push myself to write more and stop crumbling into my overthinking/slothery/distracting and stupid thoughts; I want to make writing a priority in my life because it matters to me at this point of time. Thank you so much for reading this or any of my writing, I am immensely grateful for your time, your thoughts and your honesty:)
I touch myself to sleep,
Elbows, neck, the bend under my thighs. I know exactly how and where I want those hands. So somehow, my hands–small and dimpled
They have become enough for me
Do you know when I was next to you, I kept on looking at the rain
(You do not understand how I look at the rain)
I kept on looking at your face–
your slanting factly clenched against the shaking light, swallowing your moans because they are your own. (you do not understand how I look at you)
Your tongue folded me into a little bird. I had been sitting on your shoulder all this time, but you did not notice.
This has to be enough for me– measuring:
1. The length of your fingers
2. The slant of your face
3. The distance between your eyes
4. The distance between you and me: An infinity, because you were never here/ (Or alternative line:)
This is enough for me: holding myself to sleep, exactly how I want to be held; measuring time with words, measuring words with time.