yapyapxy

Singapore

Senior Peer Reviewer
the world is wide enough

Message from Writer

Former Write the World young writer, now mentoring other WtW young writers through peer reviews! :-)

I still write, here and there and on and off; you can check out my blog at daybreakandtheuniverse.wordpress.com or my photography on Instagram @partemis_

Published Work

Chasing Desire

Endless blue horizons
Beckon me from my shore
And so I've set sail
Not knowing why,
Wanting all the same.

Countless years of
Learning how to yearn
Is not easily unlearned.
There is
No real destination,
My heart will tell me
Where it is
My soul so desperately seeks.

Till then, I will go on
Chasing desire.

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2018

Brilliance

Bright, bright, bright—
I am bright like the sun
I am bright like the night.

Because I can,
I was a prince, I was a princess.
But even royalty feel pain, so
I am in pain today.

Pain is such a pain!
Pain is that annoying presence
I will not give in to.
Not to my body, not to my bones!

Because I can,
today I’m a queen,
today I’m a king.
I will not
bow down to pain!

A Post to Remember

I have enjoyed every moment spent here over the brief past two years. I still remember the first time one of my work was mentioned on their blog during the 2016 Flash Fiction competition. I was incredibly excited -- after all, people want their art to be noticed, their work to be validated. So I kept at it, writing and giving peer reviews. It was through both that I found my way to winning the peer review segment for 2017 Writing for Children competition. I remember Angelina Nguyen's piece distinctly, partially because it reminded me so much of The Little Prince. And I was a shameless huge fan of her work. (Angelina if you're reading this, do you still remember the brief conversation we had? The offer still stands; I can bring you around Singapore if you ever do visit here!)

Not long after, I was featured as a writer. Although my mother had initially been sceptical and hesitant to trust the...

Love in 13 Words

Libraries

Echoes of adventures promising escape; new people to love, infinite stories to create.

Solastalgia

Parallel Lines

An endless horizon where
The wind whispers the stories
Lost over the aeons.
Parallel blue, blue lines
Promise a brighter future
Beyond. Skyscrapers to shards,
Grass plains to dusty ruins.
You'll turn to the sea
That has outlived moons and stars.

At the end of our time
(If you do indeed live to see it)
Nothing will remain
But the sky, the ocean
And the infinite stories they hold 
In the space
Between them.

Solastalgia

Parallel Lines

At the end of our time
(if you do indeed live to see it)
Nothing will remain
But the sky, the ocean
And the infinite stories
They hold 
In the space
Between them.

In Motion

Dissatisfied

Will the winds, swifter!
Rile the rain, louder!
Spur the storms, brighter!

Just the sensation
of breathing and feeling
will never be enough.

Rebel against gravity,
forget what physics
might ordain;
dreams are meant
to be.

They tussle and spill
over into the day,
leaping out of hibernation
to lurk under my words.

They dare me
to construct a reality better
than in my dreams.
Can't you?
Can't you, too,
make it happen?

In Motion

Dissatisfied

Rebelling against gravity,
forgetting what comes
with the ground --
the sky sings to me.

Higher, swifter, further:
I challenge winds, rain, storms,
laughing
when I lose 
because
just the sensation of being alive
fills me
unbearably full.

You fall behind
only when you stop trying 
to use your gift.
And why would you,
when this reality
is better than your dreams?
 

Intentions and Invocations

Choose Better

We choose to become
a "new me" every "new year".
We want to change ourselves,
the whole hundred-eighty degrees 
treatment, and despair when we fail.

They say, that humans are not
built for complete change, such
habitual creatures we are.

But what if it is as easy as choosing?
Aren't habits formed by our choices and actions?
If we choose kindness, love, hope,
second chances, and most of all,
choose courage over cynicism,
mightn't the world be a little brighter?

I believe the outcome
lies in what we do.
May our choices lead
to a better year ahead.

Intersection

You'll Find Me Along City Streets

It's this time of the day again. 
Glass windows are lit
fiery gold, brilliant buttercup —
for even the tallest buildings
cannot suppress the sun's splendour 
as she commences her dramatic exit. 
Trees throw their lanky shadows,
the alternative selves
they may one day become.

Trees will grow:
tall and taller, tall and sturdier;
stretching towards towering buildings,
looking up to lofty skyscrapers. 
Buildings will remain as they are
until they are reduced back
to the dust they arose from.

Skyscrapers will never create
dapples against the dull concrete,
they will never waltz with the wind.
They will forever worry
maintenance teams, cleaners,
architects, and insurance companies.

A tree is just a tree;
I exist
as I am.

You know where to find me. 

Popstar

I love the glittering lights
amidst the sea of stars.

I love the midnight crowd,
their shrill screams of my name,
the rush of cool air,
the shivers when my sweat
evaporates
like the worries
that choke me
strangling
the song 
I yearn to sing.
 
Can you hear
my heart sing?

All at once
I’m soaring
I’m dreaming
I’m alive.

Wrinkles

The folds of time
manifest across aeons, but
they are always recognisable.
Her wrinkles are carved wisdom;
where once was ignorance,
she built upon experience.
Her story is not done, not yet:
she’s made it this far,
she has further still to go.

Talking to “You”

Mama's Hugs

Your hair tickles me
when you smother me in
an embrace so tight
Ithinkyoumightcrushmylungs.
But I let you; I loved 
the scent of your hair then.

Now I stay rigidly still -
do you feel it? -
I'm terrified of taking away
your feather-light breath.

Your hair, once a lion's mane
is now a bird's nest, and then
even less. 
Now it smells like antiseptic,
clean sheets. They've also
lost their sheen.

You'll never know, but I was counting down
the embraces till you were too weak to do so.
Your embrace was a safety blanket
for the storms weathered in life,
but just as we outgrow safety blankets,
I guess it's time to grow up
without my safety blanket.
Without your embrace.


 

Omniscient Lens

Lazy Afternoons

On humid stagnant afternoons, there are many who go wandering off into the world of dreams. This was especially a challenge if you were the person in charge of thirty eleven-year-olds, as was Mr White. The kids up in front were sweaty and fidgety; the kids in the middle were playing with their stationery; he could sense himself losing the kids at the back to alluring daydreams. Many were already staring out of the windows, eager for escape and activity. Mr White held back a sigh. What he wouldn't give to be back in his room with his guitar, coaxing music out of words and melodies out of memories. He noticed more than a few children staring at him through half-lidded, unfocused eyes and he took a deep breath of the warm, stuffy afternoon air. Maybe he would let them off five minutes early...it was a Friday, after all. He forced a smile, chirping brightly, "All right kiddos, let's cover the...

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

Our Second Love

They held hands firmly, because pulsating between their sweaty palms were the shadows that burned behind their minds. Each was terrified should these shadows somehow escape.

No more mistakes made. Too tight was, actually, almost comfortable. 

Everything will work out eventually. So they held on as their souls began to tug in opposite directions. Held on tighter as their hearts began to dull with anxiety. They were desperate, determined, to keep things right. Their love was to be full of light; nothing more, nothing less.

There is no way to explain, each reasoned. How could light and darkness coexist?

(99 words)

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

Our Second Love

They held hands firmly because pulsating between their sweaty palms were the shadows that flitted through their minds. Each was terrified these shadows would escape into the light.

I will not repeat the mistakes made. Too tight was, actually, almost comfortable. 

So they held on when their souls began to tug in opposite directions. Held on tighter as their hearts began to dull with anxiety. They were desperate, determined, to keep things right. Their love was to be full of light; nothing more, nothing less.

There is no way to explain, each reasoned. How could light and darkness coexist?

(99 words)

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

Our Second Love

They held their hands firmly, each terrified should the shadows clamped between their sweaty palms disintegrate in the light. I will not repeat the mistakes of my first love. Too tight was almost comfortable. 

It became the only thing they knew. 

So they held on even when their souls began to tug in opposite directions. Held on tighter as their hearts began to dull with anxiety. Desperate, determined, to keep things the way they are. 

How ever to begin to explain, each wondered half-asleep, half-awake. How could light and darkness co-exist?

(91 words)

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

Our Second Love

They held their hands firmly, each fearful should the darkness clamped between their interlocked fingers escape into the light. After all, their secret shadows might just disintegrate if exposed to the scrutiny of bright light. Too tight was almost comfortable. It was the only thing they knew. So they held on even when their souls began to tug in opposite directions. Held on tighter as their hearts began to dull with anxiety. Desperate, to keep things the way they were as sweat threatened to let slip. How ever to begin to explain, each wondered. How could light and darkness co-exist?

Writing Small

Burnt Out Love

You gifted me a lighted matchstick on our first anniversary. "For the love you ignited within me," you smiled knowingly. When I began to reach for it, you blew it out. "For the love that will be remembered."

(Two months later)

I'm still crying, still hiccuping at the memory.

Joyous, Unsaid Things

I know the words you bury —
forbid they spill and expose your 
rainbow coloured feelings
and rose tinted thoughts!
I know they're safe in you,
they can't escape anytime soon
because you lock them down. 
I know hope and light whisper beneath your nails,
the ones you paint the blackest of black. 
black means death and chasms and holes
but yours are always armoured 
with silvery stars
painting the milky way. 

Modern Angels

An angel would laugh
unselfconsciously; kiss
your cheek with warmest of smiles.
An angel would swoop in, sweep you
into an embrace high off your feet.
That angel would be insofar real.
These angels will not be there
but here, here pulling at your heart
gently, closer to their ear.

Your World in Three Senses

Rehearsals in the Dark

His small figure blocks the narrow rectangle of light. All that is left is the glowing green and white EXIT sign. It is darkness all around. Darkness and unmoving bodies and anticipated breaths.

My fingertips find the cold, thin metal strings quickly. The skin between my thumb and my index finger of my left hand settles comfortably with the long wooden body of my instrument; a too familiar pair. My right arm extends the bow, confident of its length. In the dark, it is only me and my Erhu. I wait for the bars. I enter with a deep breath, knowing that another Erhu player is doing the same beside me.

The melody bursts in, an explosion of action, harmonics and textures. It gives the dark, a friendly, familiar presence. The Chinese Orchestra room holds many experiences. This is but one of mine.

Modern Angels

An angel would laugh
unselfconsciously; kiss
your cheek with warmest of smiles.
An angel would swoop in, sweep you
into an embrace high off your feet.
That angel would be insofar real.
That angel would not be there
but here, here putting your heart
close to their ear.

A Villain is Born

It begins with one of your many lies:
"You shouldn't have lived."
It begins with one of your favourite lines:
"You are a failure and my biggest regret."
It begins in many ways, but it mostly ends with this:
the love you lack and the hatred I feed.
Watch me stir, watch me fester 
I will make you fear
every nightmare, every sleep,
your own demons, your very crimes.
Even pain is universal to the blind;
I've got plans and I will
make you comprehend:
history meant for me.

Living in Music

The Noblest of Writers

There are days I question myself what it means to be a writer. Alexander Hamilton is well-known for being one of the founding fathers of America (and now, for the musical), but I would say that he is who I would aspire to be in another universe.

The piece I choose is "Non-Stop" from Hamilton the musical [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au1gEvV9vxQ]. Hamilton is relentless, idealistic, driven (hence the title) and it is awe-inspiring that he would devote all that tenacity of life towards making others' lives better. In today's day and age where everyone is one man for his own, this is the spirit we need. Even though I am not American, even though Singapore has her own inspiring founding father the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew (and his musical "The LKY Musical"), I eventually chose this because I was drawn to this song for its rhythm, lyrics and emotions. 

*

Burr, as Hamilton's total opposite in character, poses these questions...

Papa's Stormy House

A door is not enough.
 
You against Papa:
a maelstrom
I can only
watch
and wait out
as lightning rages.
 
The screams of
every
single
atom
in the body are
forced apart and
plastered back together
again.
 
Still, the sky is intact
like your boyish smile.
Yet,
behind eyelids
the fissures
always
rip through –
pulsating,
blinding –
soloudsohard
    so much.
 
The thunder hurts, but
I wait. The storm
will come. It is
churning, brewing.
 
It boils
now; I stay
because it’s this weather
I’ve learnt to navigate,
to brave,
to come out
unscathed.

Zoom Out

Prelude

The tips of her fingers skitter over the piano keys, nails chipped and varnished in metallic black. The melody weaves a time-slowing magic around her, around the people listening.

She closed her eyes and let her fingers run up the piano. These keys are lighter to the touch than those at her school and brighter in sound. High quality for people of higher class, she supposed. She let her muscle memory take over, fingertips nimbly running down the scales. A small breeze grazes her bare arms and involuntarily, goosebumps rise. This high-end restaurant with people who only talked in low voices, people with glistening professionally-styled hair and flashes of gold on their apparel would always put her off, no matter how often she played here.

She sighed a tiny sigh as her fingers went through the motion. 

In the meantime, she will be playing here every Friday nights, a lonely soul among lonely souls, false bright tones rising above muted...

If Time was Kind

I do not like the lines
that cut across my heart.
They are big.
They are ugly!
Mummy said scars fade over time --
she lied!
Why must time be so cruel?
Why must time let me remember?

I want prettier, more delicate traces.
I want to choose differently shaped scars
if time was kind.
If time was kind,
if time was kind,
I would choose the lines
and draw them again.

Time, are you listening?

Writing for Children Competition 2017

Queen Maurice

 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mw5enuptid6hlhl/AABJvvupb_92lZCxlzF-V6BSa?dl=0

Queen Maurice was rich and she was lonely. [image 1] She wanted some company. A bird, perhaps, or a dog.

She was tired of counting the diamonds on her tiara, tired of trying on new dresses, and tired of playing her grand piano. She was bored, BORED, bored!

Her loyal butler Daniel had just the solution. He brought in colourful birds. There were pink flamingos, green parrots and even yellow hummingbirds. "They're from all over the country," he winked.

He also brought in all sorts of dogs, from waist-high golden retrievers to tiny chihuahuas. "These dogs are purebreds, Queen Maurice. The best of the best."

The animals seemed like a wonderful addition...at first. She soon found birds too noisy and dogs too lively. [image 2] Purebreds or not, they barked and ran around too much!

She sat alone on her throne and wished for company.

"Your majesty, maybe you can invite guests." Daniel smiled. "I can help."

Guests? Friends!
...

Writing for Children Competition 2017

Queen Maurice

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mw5enuptid6hlhl/AABJvvupb_92lZCxlzF-V6BSa?dl=0
Queen Maurice was rich and she was lonely. She wanted some company. A bird, perhaps, or a dog.

She was tired of admiring the paintings of her or listening to poems written about her. She was bored, bored, bored!

Her loyal butler Daniel brought in colourful birds, "From all over the country," he winked. He also brought in all sorts of dogs, from golden retrievers to labradors. "These dogs are purebreds, Queen Maurice. The best of the best."

The animals seemed like a wonderful addition...at first. She soon found birds too noisy and dogs too lively. Purebreds or not, they barked too much!

She sat alone on her throne and wished for company.

"Your majesty, maybe you can invite guests." Daniel smiled. "I can help."

Guests? Friends!

"Yes please, Daniel. Invite fifty people -- no, hundreds!" She was so excited, she leapt off her throne. At last, she would have friends!

Daniel prepared a long list of people from all...

remembering MOTHER, always

M is for My questions patiently answered, bit by bit
O is for Optimism, a trait she never fails to exhibit
T is for The Arguments that happened more and more frequently
H is for Happiness, which I foolishly thought was meant to be
E is for Enlightened, me after a year
R is for Remembering her, never far, always here.

Writing for Children Competition 2017

Queen Maurice

Queen Maurice was rich and she was lonely. She wanted some company. A bird, perhaps, or a dog.

She found birds too noisy. She found dogs too...lively.

She sat alone on her throne and wished for company.

"Your majesty, maybe you can invite guests." Her loyal butler Daniel smiled. "I can help."

Guests? Friends!

"Yes please, Daniel. Invite fifty people -- no, hundreds!" She was so excited, she leapt onto her throne. At last, she would have friends!

Daniel prepared a long list of people from all over the country. He wrote the names and addresses of noble families, villagers and children. He stayed up late to finish the list. He hoped Queen Maurice would like them.

Queen Maurice signed every royal invitation. Oh, how thrilled she was when the replies came back! She would hold the most royal and festive ball in the kingdom.

On the special evening, she wore her best green gown and her favourite tiara. The guests...

Your Voice: Climate Change

Stardust and Plastic

This is a Public Service Announcement: We’re now made of stardust and plastic.
 
Not so romantic, is it? Yet, think about it: plastic is man-made; it cannot decompose naturally (even if it does, it will take hundreds of years). In other words, plastic which is non-biodegradable will only break into smaller, less traceable pieces. As we consume the many sea creatures which have unwittingly consumed plastic, it only firmly establishes the amount of plastic in the food chain. This is an amount that can only grow day by day as our bodies also take in the chemicals plastic involves: from bisphenol A (BPA) lining the insides of plastic bottles and cans to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) added to furniture and even mattresses for their flame-retardant capabilities.
 
Perhaps it might not matter, if not for the fact that some of these chemicals have been shown to have negative health repercussions on the reproduction and development of animals — much...

you

I make do
because it's you.
I know that smile —​
i love you
and that mirthful glimmer —​
your heart is mine and yours
your subtle perfume and woodsy scent 
drives me crazy (and angry)
because you're not brave enough to say
i like us together, please stay
but I love you,
so I make do.

Mystery Writing Competition 2017

Lurking in the Light

We are all born winged here. Wispy, paper-thin, thick...there are all sorts of wings.

Then there’s the new boy Gilbert, who never shows his wings. Theories abound among us as naturally concerned classmates, but lucky for him, we’ve outgrown flying class. Though we can all fly, only some are strong enough to fly far. Somewhere in our evolution, wings became ornamental (and all the more people liked to display their wings).

People wonder. It’s the question always hanging in the air whatever room he’s in. We’d call him the fallen angel because he doesn’t lurk in the shadows, he lurks in the light. With his clean, fair face and mirthful eyes, he looks like an angel through and through. It's a memorably attractive face, I'll admit.

Imagine my surprise when I see him in class, and my further intrigue when he has seemingly no wings. No one is born without wings here, it’s too strong in our genetic history. However,...

Begin Again

Life has no real beginning,
it's a story with many starts

Friendship is a lifelong
puzzle, family 
a language, love an art

Each leaves footprints
and perhaps a few of them cut

But don’t be afraid, don’t
fear scabs and blood —
here’s to learning again, dearest
patchwork-mended heart

Misgivings

Come in, come in, don’t be shy!
Our deeply blackened souls so bright
welcome friends and strangers just like you.
Here, come, choose your meal!
an unending feast, a sumptuous stream
I promise you, it’s the ultimate dream!
 
Ah, I see you eyeing that pretty little vial
refreshingly addictive, self-pity is
and ridiculously nice, I'll admit,
a favourite flavour all season round!
Oh, are you reaching for that cake? let me
get it – here – for you!
Insecurity is an excellent choice
I’m glad you’re pretty and smart too.
It can be pretty bitter though, do
remember which side to chew!
 
Do you want to see this array?
Sure, sure, go ahead! Dessert’s
right at the end, aren’t the colours
ever so beautiful? Oh yes, let me give you
a friendly tip, friend to friend:
don’t go for sweet, sweet resentment yet!
That perfect dessert will be saved, I promise,
for fabulous customers just like you.

Turned to Stone

Double Take

The parade was hot and stifling in the evening even though it was only just beginning. Making excuses to enter the nearest street toilet I could find to check on my makeup, I promised my boyfriend Caleb I would be right back. He nodded distractedly, looking into the colourful, mesmerising Mardi Gras parade. This get-up and costume took me a month to experiment, conceptualise and make. I was determined to see it preserved well into the night. Appraising my porcelain-white geisha face (triple layered, just in case), I added a touch more gel. Tonight, my boyfriend has promised me something exciting. I left the toilet, ready to delve into the festivities, only to walk into a couple - my boyfriend kissing the cheek of a girl who looked exactly the same as I did.

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2017

I'm (not really) Going Away

How many nautical miles 
do I have to traverse
before I can leave behind 
the aftertaste of my city-state?

The inspiration (or desperation)
steeps in grammes of paper and millilitres of ink.
Still, I persist – creating a universe
of countless people and worlds,
doggedly plodding through words and sighs
burning calories and midnight oils.

Every Changi visit promises a familiar sort of thrill
so I have gladly left home 
in my shortest of sleeves, barely functioning 
on the current of adrenaline.
"Ma, I'll call home, I promise."
The signboard still blinks at the fifth turn of my head.
She unwraps the fraying cashmere scarf
bundled around her gentle neck –
just like how she eats dumplings.
My finger dances lightly 
against a red and gleaming gold passport.

"Bring this with you, be good."
The goosebump-inducing degrees finally quieten
that hammering urge against my heart,
the scent of freedom securely folded away in a single ticket.
The air-conditioning blasts me goodbye –  ...

Beyond Reason

Unrequited

Will flowers miss the bumble bees
two decades on?
Do despondent white ice cliffs collapse
at our fingertips or far away?
Is love familiar sighs,
craving
the adrenaline of
another a passer-by?

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2017

I'm (not really) Going Away

How many nautical miles 
do I have to traverse
before I can leave behind 
the aftertaste of my city-state?

The inspiration (or desperation)
steeps in grammes of paper and millilitres of ink.
Still, I persist – creating a universe
of countless people and worlds,
doggedly plodding through words and sighs
burning calories and midnight oils.

Every Changi visit promises a familiar sort of thrill
so I have gladly left home 
in my shortest of sleeves, barely functioning 
on the current of adrenaline.
"Ma, I'll call home, I promise."
The signboard still blinks at the fifth turn of my head.
She unwraps the fraying cashmere scarf
bundled around her gentle neck –
just like how she eats dumplings.
My finger dances lightly 
against a red and gleaming gold passport.

"Bring this with you, be good."
​The goosebump-inducing degrees finally quieten
that hammering urge against my heart,
the scent of freedom securely folded away in one ticket.
The air-conditioning blasts me goodbye – 
I'm...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition 2017

I'm (not really) Going Away

How many nautical miles 
do I have to traverse
before I can leave behind 
the aftertaste of my city-state?
The inspiration (or desperation)
steeps in grammes of paper and millilitres of ink.
Spent, from creating a universe 
of countless worlds and people, still I persist –
doggedly plodding through words and sighs
burning calories and midnight oils.

The air-conditioning blasts me goodbye.
No matter what goosebump-inducing degrees,
every Changi visit is a familiar sort of thrill
so I have gladly left home 
in my shortest of sleeves, barely functioning 
on the current of adrenaline.
The number of frames per second on my phone
will not be enough, I know, but then again –
how many square metres of heart room 
do I wish to make, and how many do I keep to here?

making money from your hands

Go quickly or slowly; take your time
take the shiniest pair of scissors you can find.
Slice the thin green paper line by line –
you’ll never see money shredded so fine.
 
Turn them into grass blades in the field,
sharper than embroidery needles still.

Maybe people will finally see and understand
the value of laborious money if it draws
from your hand a scar
so deep you will never forget.

Beyond Reason

Unrequited

Will flowers miss the bumble bees
two decades on?
Do despondent white ice cliffs collapse
at our fingertips or far away?
Is love a craving with
familiar sighs
the adrenaline of
another a passer-by?

Begin Again

Life has no real
beginning, a story
holds many starts

Friendship is a lifelong
puzzle, family 
a language, love an art

Each leaves footprints
and perhaps a few of them cut

But don’t be afraid, don’t
fear scabs and blood —
here’s to learning again, dearest
patchwork-mended heart

1 Photo, 100 Words

Darling, it's the small things

"Happy anniversary." He thrusts her a picture: silhouettes and jellyfishes against International Klein Blue.
She pouts, tilting it in her small hands. "A photo? That's your present?" 
"Don't you remember when this was taken?"
"Um..." 
"Our very first high school excursion together! Remember The Aquarium?"
"The Aquarium?" She echoes dubiously.
"It was that moment when I fell in love with you."
"In an aquarium." She states dryly.
"Yes. You cried for these jellyfishes."
She bursts out chortling.
"Is that what you remember? Not you asking me out?"
"Yeah, I remember the small things that remind me why I love you."

Becoming Human

Paper Dreams

Stiff and starched white,
This body commands space.
Skin-hot, marble-cool
compelling fingers to touch, skim, wander.

Pieces or whole,
susurrating all the same.
Leaflets, pamphlets,
brochures, maps, scrolls.

Ageing yet alluring;
patience tempers in
bundles, mounds, stacks
foot-high, metre-tall, towering. 

Missing words gape -
the body shouts itself
hoarse imploring for
pictures, poems, plans, anything!

It likes itself
empty, unassuming
yet desiring
revolutions, ambition, war.

Quietly it folds away
piece by piece, scrap by scrap
paper dreams.
Let loose it sprints, catching winds of
sparks, minds, flames, inferno.

In Future

A young woman gazed blankly, more so than usual, at the powered-down screen of her mobile phone, as she swayed slightly to the magnetic train gliding across tracks. She didn’t turn off her phone that often—for the same reason you might never do so. Today, she needed to breathe, even if it was only seven a.m.

---

I’m home. I feel as though I’m breathing again.

Four months after backpacking in Europe, I’ve seen all sorts of strange technological gizmos. Still, seeing Singaporeans with the trending virtual reality headsets still unsettles me, especially in the MRT. Those protruding black, empty visors staring back are enough to put you on edge.

I look to my right, where a young woman is looking down at her mobile phone in the midst of shutting off. My heart goes out to her. Remembering the hospitality I encountered in several states, I proffer my battered but reliable portable charger.

“Man, that’s unlucky. Do you need...

Begin Again

Life has no real
beginning, a story
with many starts

Friendship is a lifelong
puzzle, family
a language, love an art

Each leaves footprints
and perhaps copious cuts

But don’t be afraid, don’t
fear scabs and blood:
here’s to learning again, dearest
patchwork-mended heart

remembering the First

Maybe he saw, maybe he cared.
Except, you know, he wasn't always there. 
You told me this was it and this was forever, 
Now that it's not, you gave up the endeavour.

Old places chafe with memories
And new ones aren't any better.
You can't sleep but time runs along--
Soon enough, you'll sing your own love song.


 

WILD

The Enduring Orchestra

an orchestra in the wild
offers free tickets: featuring a wind's sigh
through fallen leaves and sister trees,
magnificent tumbling and singing of many a feather
catching eyes, catching light, catching gold
while an envious god paints the evening sky

it's that time of the day, the sun and sky
have their desires simmering and wild.
your soul paints gold
upon the loudest but smallest sigh,
warm, cosy breezes feather
whispers laughter echoing throughout fields of trees

patiently folding time into barks and leaves; the trees
still fall short of the imposing sky
and cartwheeling around them still the feather--
joyously young and rude and wild--
ignores the aged forest's sigh.
chanting. "we are unbreakable, we are gold"

they have not yet met cunning gold,
immortal gold, which even the stories of trees
are not as scandalous as. many a wives tear and sigh,
a ruined family's only witnesses, the walls and sky
are unmoving but dreaming wild
"who is...

how i see you

in a space of breath, the times I see you
(it's eyes-dancing ears-warming tongue-twisting)
if only you knew, as I'd never say
what hides behind every beat of this heart

the face you see is not me, not truly...
you'd perhaps think twice, if behind kindness
are secrets knitted into nervous palms,
countless confessions buried in writing

made from mindless thoughts and drifting first drafts,
they have nowhere to go, awashed on shore
is it perhaps too soon for me? you inch
close as if you knew, closer creeping still.

I know you will do right, I'm not afraid.
I would tell you, but I shouldn't want to.

The Life Police

Arrest me, sleep.
I rip tears, I coax sobs
when they overhear labels I regret.

Catch me, love.
I am public nuisance, I am impossible
when he breaks his stolen heart.

Seize me, laughter.
I need positivity, I need you
when the world rolls without waiting.

Secure me, expectations.
I falter then, I tremble now
when its too much to hold up.

Take me...not you, responsibility.
We can't hide from you,
ever.

Becoming Human

Paper Dreams

Stiff and starched white.
Skin-hot, thrillingly cool.
This body screams
masculine femininity. 

Commanding space 
while lying there, mostly 
bundles, mounds, stacks
foot-high, metre-tall, towering. 

Unapologetic,
in its yellowing spots
patience tempers,
inviting dust to flower still.

Missing words gape -
the body shouts itself
hoarse imploring
pictures, poems, plans, anything!

It likes itself
empty, unassuming
yet desiring
revolutions, ambition, war.

Paper dreams but
withers in solitude,
folded away.
Let loose it sprints, catching winds of
sparks, minds, flames, inferno.

Heart Series

Here lies my heart:
pink, beating, raw.
Gasping at wonders
the skies streak,
marvelling at the beauty
of simplicity.

Here lies my heart:
red, bloody, tender.
Reluctant to feel
and fearful of hope,
it shies away from
made mistakes.

Here lies my heart:
black, throbbing, open.
Torn apart
and hastily mended.
It swore not to sway,
yet fate tempts it again.

Writing Synapses

Design your own writing prompt: a believable character

Describe, in detail, a character's room. Leave no wall, no closet, no colours unexplored. Let the details flow from your mind's eye, suggest character traits with the things that occupy their room, craft a vivid scene.

What music your character listens to, what books they read, what they keep as trinkets or prized possessions, can reveal your character to be as real your neighbour next door. Make readers intrigued by your character, their oddities and quirks.

You can do this for your favourite character, or better yet, help us love a character that has yet to exist. 

What Came Before

Starting something

To begin a beginning is more complicated than you think,
Your heart disobeys you first, face turning red and then turning pink.
Next comes the question: building ego or painting skin?
You must then choose to either let pride or adrenaline win.

The final segments comes, and boy is it a tough part
So all there is to advise, is to be smart.
To stand right beside, to be the first to say "hello",
Pretend you've been at this years ago!
You'll feel judged, but just keep smiling
(and keep smiling to keep the talk going).

Time slows down to stalactites and stalagmites,
Each pause in conversation a stab to your might.
You finally feel the urge to make an excuse and leave--
Except, you've got nothing up your sleeve.
Your natural instincts pressure you on: escape! exit!
It's not too late still, make a mad dash for it!

Yet, you wait. You feel pretty sure,
There's something special brewing...

1 Photo, 100 Words

Darling, it's the small things

"Happy anniversary." He thrusts her a picture: silhouettes and jellyfishes against International Klein Blue.
She pouts, tilting it in her small hands. "Your present is a photo?" 
"Don't you remember when this was?"
"Um..." 
"Our first high school excursion together! It was to the aquarium."
"The aquarium?" She echoes dubiously.
"It was the moment when I fell in love with you."
"In an aquarium." She stated dryly.
"Yes. You cried for the jellyfishes."
She bursts out chortling.
"Is that what you remember? Not you asking me out?"
"Yeah, I remember the small things that reminds me why I love you."

Fall - Haiku #2

Crimson leaves explode,
Unfettered by gravity --
A puff of crisp air.

Cast of Characters

Through a lens

Setting: Los Angeles, 2013

Cast:
Terence Cohen, 23: aspiring fashion photographer with an interest in steampunk, passionate and shy, falls in love with the designer behind the steampunk collection, starts a project to feature her and her process of costume making

Tina Belle, 24: the designer behind the steampunk collection, confident and talented, she doesn't acknowledge Terence's feelings due to her sole focus on her career, they fall out when they clash in working styles

Sheila Leonett, 23: Terence's ex-girlfriend who is a fellow photographer, talented but bitter, tries to sabotage his attempts to woo Tina

Vincent Millicent, 49: famous curator for fashion pieces, artistic, Terence's patron

Self and a Statistic

Tug of War

For no reason, or perhaps out of sheer habit, the mobile phone is the first thing you pick up after you're awake. You turn on the Wi-Fi with a decisive tap, check the news, casually raising your eyebrows at the number of people who liked your social media posts. You feel validated, liked, accepted. 

The messages - more spam than important - come flooding in. You would rather do away with them, but "connections" are a strong persuasive factor. Besides, you don't want to seem like the party pooper who leaves a group chat first. 

It's a weekend, so you spend the morning getting lost in the seemingly exciting lives of prettier friends on Instagram. You wish your posts had that many likes as them. Then again, being popular means agonising over planned pictures and perfect captions. It's a burden you're not willing to uptake.

You turn to the news to take your mind off your issues, only to see...

Loop - Haiku #1

Fishes run, skip, slow 
Caught from boundless loops of your
Wintry memory
 

Signing Off

Till we meet again

Salutations, Doubt.

I think I said "hi" when I recognised you, but you probably just slotted yourself in from wherever else you've been feeding.

See, there's the issue. "I think" is my crutch. Sometimes your effect is so subtle, I can't tell whether it's you, or me. Maybe you're an inherent part of me. 

You've been a frequent visitor this year. More frequent than usual, though it may be alluded to the change present in this year. Nonetheless, you are formidable and unforgiving.

Let me count the times you reared that merciless head. How about the start of the year and the beginning of my Junior College life, where I experienced difficultly acting social and befriending people who already knew me on some level. I still do. I try to move my thoughts away whenever I catch myself cringing at some moldy-old social blunder, whenever I am hyper-conscious of moving about school alone when everyone else is in cliques and...

Speaking to the Living

“Papa, where is Nai Nai[1] now?”
He grunts as he lifts the soon-reaching 20 kg girl Rose, holding her tightly against his rumpled coffee-stained work shirt, letting her toy with his scratched glasses. “Gone.”
She scrunches up her face, so strange-looking that Papa lets out a rumble of a laugh that tickles her as well. “Then where did she go?” She points at the serious, monochrome photo of Nai Nai framed by fresh white flowers. Papa tweaks her forefinger gently, “Not nice to point,” he chides. “She’s everywhere. Her spirit is free now; she will talk to you when she can.”
“How?”
Papa pinches her cheeks playfully. It doesn’t hurt, really, but she wriggles her face away. “How?” she repeats.
“Small messages, every day. All bits and pieces of a letter she’s trying to send you.” He winks conspiratorially, whispering, “Heaven’s reception not that good.”
She giggles, “Has she sent one yet? Will she send me a present?” Papa...

Mixtape

Me, in Lyrics

Some songs, you connect with inexplicably. Here are some of mine:

1. How Far I'll Go -- from Moana, sung my M Auli'i Cravalho (this literally made me cry. It articulated so well what I didn't even know I felt. Thank goodness movie theatres are dark.)
The part about feeling drawn to something for some unknown reason, that part hit me hard.
"Every turn I take/Every trail I track/Every path I make/Every road leads back to the place I know/Where I cannot go/Where I long to be/See the light where the sky meets the sea/It calls me"

2. When We Were Young -- Adele (old souls, anyone?)
It was raw, it was touching.
"It was just like a movie/It was just like a song/My God, this reminds me/Of when we were young"

3. Tomorrow -- from Annie
This kind of reminded me of Anne of Green Gables, one of my favourite childhood books.
"When I'm stuck with a day that's...

The Life Police

Arrest me, sleep.
I rip tears, I coax sobs
when they overhear words I regret.

Catch me, love.
I am public nuisance, I am impossible
when he breaks his stolen heart.

Seize me, laughter.
I need positivity, I need you
when the world rolls without waiting.

Take me...not you, responsibility.
We can't hide from you,
ever.

My December Competition 2016

Thinking, miles away

I was 6,067 kilometres away from home when my December began, and I was loving every minute of it.

That was a hyperbole. I was homesick after being three days abroad. I missed many things, but I missed the local food and the constant Internet connection most of all. The bus trips were far too long (actually, most countries are ginormous in contrast to Singapore) and I had too much time to think.

That spelt bad news for me, the overthinker. I mostly slept the travelling time away, but long periods of an inability to sleep still struck. Those were nightmares, being bored out of your mind, being confined to the same seat for hours on end, and the ride being too bumpy to write a story (or anything) down.

It was, finally, the second-last day on our holiday. The days had mostly ghosted past, occupied by the busy tour schedules and numerous picturesque scenes. We had just finished our...

Unnamed

Soul-searching

This colour, people go out of their way to find. This colour, many shades, depths and emotions embody. This colour, in pieces and swathes it exists; an endless cloth that cannot be cut. 

It is the wavelength that persists to the seafloor, the sky that reflects the ocean. It is the colour people surround themselves in when they're lonely, searching for their misplaced souls who might someday give their existence life. It is the gentle good night, the harsh desert day.

Why I Write

I write...

To put into words what I'm only beginning to understand. To taste the emotions that runs through my body and my mind. To put into permanence what is fleeting. To capture feelings to the best of my ability.

I write to remember, I write to forget. I write to read, I write to express. I write to revisit, I write to explore.

I write because I love to. I write because I love. 

Walking

Walk-talking

She liked to watch M walk. 

M didn't just walk, he talked with his walking. He didn't just stride, he strolled and sauntered and sashayed. His red-orange school bag, that stuck out like a traffic cone, swung and danced with his tempo. 

He conveyed warmth, enthusiasm, and a genuine personality. His feet always seemed light and upbeat, as if today was a great day. As if, "I'm all ready to make new friends."

But she was too shy to say anything.

She kept an eye out for that living, friendly red bag, seemed to indicate his good mood (if so, he seemed to always be in one).

His walk was boyish. It was playful, light, excited. It was as though walking was the most expressive action -- ever. He made walking interesting for her.

She became conscious of how her feet sloshed the floor, as if she was perpetually drunk, or lazy. Her feet seemed to like the floor (a...

Our actions are a fraction of us

Aristotle once said, “We are the sum of our actions, and therefore our habits make all the difference.” What that statement implies is that each action determines who we are.
Today, let’s do something a little different and take the reverse: our actions are the subtractions of us.
For any mathematician (or student) learning about probability – that strange, abstract concept that chance is definite and fate is predictable – the rule is that we sum up mutually exclusive events. If one happens, the other does not happen. Hold onto that thought while we consider another rule in probability: we multiply dependent events.
In our world where reality unfolds in a linear way, events are naturally dependent. For instance: I forget to buy my friend a present, the surprise is ruined, and said friend bears a grudge against me…forever. Now, I was kidding (clearly), but we can henceforth safely conclude that current events unfold based off pastevents – events...

Countdown

Mine

Letting her body melt against his, sighing in something, bliss? She gazes lovingly at the starry darkness, faintly smiling. His heart beats, full, with an unnamed emotion. He has bided enough of his time. Fingers curl along her long hair. She leans back, neck exposed. He looms, a silhouette. He dives in. Ravenous, exultant. Mine.

I’m Down and Lonely But No One Knows

Empty apart empty alone,
this is when you feel when
you are on your own.
 
The judgements will come freely
as they always do
but you will come to be
as you’re always meant to.
 
“That’s only what people say,”
you may scoff, but there’s a grain
of truth because what comes may,
the warmth only comes after the pain and rain.
 
You feel this and you may know,
so listen to your better sense
and let yourself grow.
 

Flash Fiction Competition 2016

Corridor love

Two smiles, two hearts flutter. They meet every week: same time, same two, same old. The transient happiness lasts a day, two days. It's never enough.

Then, he misses a week.

Weeks yawn into months as she wonders, worries, weighs the possibilities. Three months into the enigma, he stoops across, thinner, older, quieter. A blue lady supports his arm, professionally, kindly. 

She meets halfway, shyly, smiling. He smiles in return, barely, listlessly. 

"How have you been?" She reaches out gently. "I'm fine," he rasps, "but I've been better." She lets him hobble away.

Next week, two hearts flutter still.

 

Flash Fiction Competition 2016

Corridor love

Two smiles, two hearts fluttering. 

Weekly, it's the same time, same two, same old. The briefest of happiness lasts a day, two days. A week just replenishes.

Then, he's gone, gone a week, gone a month. She wonders, worries, weighs the possibilities.

Three months later, he stands there, thinner, older. A younger lady holds his arm. She dies a little inside, taking a breath that rattles her ribcage. He smiles, barely.

"How have you been?" She asks, gently. "I'm fine," he rasps, "but I've been better." She lets him hobble away.

Next week, two smiles, two hearts flutter still.

 

Collected Wisdom

5 ways to improve your writing

(This list is what I need to actively keep in mind when I'm writing as well hehe)

1. Re-read out aloud when you're done because it's more effective as a proof-reading technique than simply skimming through what you've written. Sometimes grammar mistakes are more obvious when we listen to sentences aloud.

2. Avoid cliched writing so when you spot a cliched phrase, try to phrase it in another manner! It makes your writing stand out and brings across something unique about your way of expression.

3. Get constructive feedback for your writing, from friends or family members or even members from the Write the World community. ;) Nothing beats a fresh pair of eyes to offer you insight as to how to improve your writing!

4. Write from experience, write about what you love, as that is when you can keep it sincere. People can tell when you're writing from the heart and it really makes a difference in their...

Inventory

From a bag left on a cliff

Owner: Mason Song
Age: 17
Location: Tojinbo cliffs, Fukui, Japan

Items:​

  • A worn envelope containing numerous photos of a girl from different angles
  • Rumpled and seawater-smelling clothes
  • A first-aid kit
  • A water-logged phone
  • Lab goggles
  • A camera suitable for astrophotography

Inventory

From a bag left on a cliff

Owner: Mason Song
Age: 17
Location: Tojinbo cliffs, Fukui, Japan

Items:

  • A diary filled with tiny Korean characters
  • A pouch of various wires
  • Repeatedly mended bagpack
  • A worn envelope containing numerous photos of a girl from different angles
  • A scratched and empty snowglobe keychain
  • Rumpled and seawater-smelling clothes
  • A dirty cap
  • A first-aid kit
  • Spare shoelaces of different colours: black, neon blue, neon yellow, purple, sky blue, white
  • A sleeping bag
  • Toiletries
  • A water-logged phone
  • Earpieces and an earpiece splitter
  • Hooded, dark grey windbreaker 
  • Lab goggles
  • A camera suitable for astrophotography

Open Prompt

Getting over You

In my foreground,
the split second my eyes found you

it was like wind breezes
in flighty spring,
or
light rainfalls
in slow summer
to me.
 
You were something
pretty amazing
 
till I realised
that maybe
the girl at the end of the bus
or
that girl who sits in front of you
or
this girl whom you message on the phone
meant more to me
than I did
to you.

Letter Writing Competition 2016

I've been snapping too many pencils

Dearest cousin Cassie:

It's only because she's finally asleep that I'm writing this by moonlight. How romantic, you must say. Well...

Take a second look at that title, won't you? I now lie among a river of scattered pencil fragments, lead shards, and wooden splints.

I lose control of my emotions sometimes, so I find control in the number of pencils I break. I've been snapping, breaking, tearing at, even, too many to count. I don't mean to cause others to worry, but it's the only way I know how to express myself.
 
I'm so glad that you got together with that boy despite your initial difficulties. Perhaps you could advise me on my own love life, too. Is love as exciting as it feels, is it truly borderless, and is the journey worth it?

Lately, my best friend met a boy. He makes her really, really happy. He simply has to smile at her, and she melts inside....

Letter Writing Competition 2016

I've been snapping too many pencils

Dearest cousin Cassie:

The title says it all.

I lose control of my emotions sometimes, so I find control in the number of pencils I break. I've been snapping, breaking, tearing at, even, too many to count. I don't mean to cause others to worry, but it's the only way I know how to express myself.
 
Lately, my best friend met a boy. He makes her really, really happy. He simply has to smile at her, and she melts inside. She is the sweetest person I know; she is made out of cloud-spun dreams and warm caramel smiles. I truly mean to be happy for her.
 
However, these days he is all she can talk about: his smile, his eyes, their endless messages to each other, does her like her in return? Our talks about clothes, friends, and happy memories have slowly faded, replaced by boys, the girls he talk with, and the possibilities of her social life. ...

Dear Me

Hello (yes you), it's me.

Dear you (who's probably-working, possibly-in-love, likely-stressed),

It's you at seventeen. I hope your past self is none too distant. By now, I hope you've figured out some meaning to your life. Seventeen-year-old you is drifting between writing and practicality, almost always in petty moods, and a tad too righteous in her beliefs. I (or you used to) tell myself I could make my life better, if I really, really, really tried. Did you take measures? I know you're fond of building castles in the sky.

I tend to be quite verbose in letters, I hope you're now more concise. To have control over your words and language is quite the empowering feeling (not to mention beneficial). 

Your swinging moods, especially, do you remember them? I hope you've at least tried to maintain some form of inner peace. Your family has taken quite the brunt of it, especially your sisters. Have you thanked them? Thank them soon. Now, why not? Call...

All Talk

Coming Back, Coming Home

Hello? This is Jeremy. Um. I'm outside home right now, and it's kinda weird calling but...I've missed you. Today more than others.
What the hell? It IS weird. You're calling me now?
I'm sorry, but it was really bad this time. I...need someone to talk to. Can you come?
That's what you say every time I have to save your sorry derriere.
...
Okay, fine. Where are you now?
Um. Outside the pizza place we used to go. I thought I could find you there. You used to go there with Dave every Friday night.
Yeah, but...ah, never mind. Two years, Jeremy. Where have you been?
Around. Had some, um, issues.
Your leaving was really abrupt the last time.
I know. I'm sorry.
Is that all you can tell me?
For now. Please, don't ask. I'm not ready to answer right now.
I think I have a right to know, considering I'm driving three miles in the middle of...

Mysteries Abound

Loving you

We don't know why love exists as it is,
we don't know why we can't help being biased,
we don't know how people find the capacity to love.

Despite all that, we celebrate love, we want to celebrate love, we hope to celebrate love. And that is only possible if we start listening to the hearts of the people who sing with love.

Because...we certainly haven't agreed on why all forms of love cannot exist.

 

Illumination

Restrained Order

He was a Capricorn's mind dressed in simple shirts and flowered shorts. He yearned to express emotions he himself couldn't quite understand, so he found comfort in silence instead, pacing back and forth, back and forth, incessantly.